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Grammy Museum in L.A. to Open Permanent Grammy Hall of Fame Interactive Exhibit in Early 2025

By Michael May 20, 2024

When the Recording Academy put the Grammy Hall of Fame on hiatus for one year, they said they were rethinking the entire process. They weren’t kidding. The first fruits of the retooling will be seen on Tuesday (May 21) when the inaugural Grammy Hall of Fame Induction Gala is held at the Novo Theater at L.A. Live in Los Angeles.

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Michael Sticka, president/CEO of the Grammy Museum, says his hope for the induction event is to “build it to ultimately be the Museum’s version of MusiCares’ Person of the Year, to raise money for our programming.”

There are also plans to “build a permanent interactive exhibit to celebrate the Hall of Fame and educate our visitors. That will open early next year.”

The first five inductions into the Grammy Hall of Fame were announced on the Grammy telecast in March 1974, and the Grammy Museum opened in December 2008, but this is the first time the Museum has partnered with the Recording Academy in a major way to celebrate the Hall of Fame.

“The Hall of Fame and the Museum pretty much go hand-in-hand,” Sticka says. “When we first started talking about what this thing really could be, we talked about how the Hall of Fame should live in the Museum. It makes perfect sense.”

These changes are the result of Sticka’s meeting with Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. and Ruby Marchand, the Academy’s chief awards and industry officer, to brainstorm ways to build the Grammy Hall of Fame into a higher-profile entity. “The whole idea was ‘let’s get away from simply doing a press release,’” Sticka says of the upcoming gala.

They also made several major changes in the way the Grammy HOF operates. In recent decades, 25 or more inductees have been inducted each year. Starting this year, there will be just 10. “We wanted to whittle it down to a manageable number. If we had 25-30 recordings, it’s really hard to properly recognize each of them during an event.”

This year’s 10 new inductees bring the total number of recordings in the Grammy Hall of Fame to 1,162.

There will be live performances to honor six of this year’s honorees at Tuesday’s event, and interstitial video presentations for the other four. R&B singer William Bell will perform his own inducted recording, “You Don’t Miss Your Water.” Andra Day will perform a song from Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, The War and Treaty will sing Charley Pride’s “Kiss an Angel Good Morning,” Elle King will perform Wanda Jackson’s “Let’s Have a Party” and Hanson will take on the Doobie Brothers’ “What a Fool Believes.”

“We really focused on the tribute performance [format], but William wanted to do [his own song] and we weren’t going to say no to that opportunity,” Sticka says.

This year’s Induction Gala will be produced by Ken Ehrlich, who has amassed nine Primetime Emmy nominations across four decades, along with Chantel Sausedo and Ron Basile. Greg Phillinganes will serve as musical director.

This year’s gala will be filmed but not televised. The plan is to cut together this first induction gala and send it to the Academy’s partners, CBS, which has aired the Grammy telecast every year since 1973, and PBS, which aired the Academy’s Special Merit Awards under the title Grammy Salute to Music Legends for about five years under its Great Performances banner.

“It’s tough to pull off a first-time event,” Sticka says. “There’s no proof-of-concept. [We’re] filming it so we can show what it’s going to look like and show what’s possible and hopefully somebody picks it up in the future to televise.”

Clips from the show will be housed on COLLECTION:live, the Grammy Museum’s streaming site.

A second change in the Grammy Hall of Fame process is that the Academy no longer sets aside a certain number of spots for pre-1950 recordings. The one pre-1950 recording being inducted this year, Kid Ory’s Creole Orchestra’s “Ory’s Creole Trombone” (1922) impressively made the cut without a spot being set aside for very old recordings. Now, the only requirement is that all recordings must be at least 25 years old.

The choices were made by a special member committee of about 20 people who had several Zoom meetings. Sticka says he sat in with the committee but didn’t vote. “There was a lot of conversation around a lot of the recordings,” he reports.

A third change is that the Grammy Hall of Fame will honor a record company each year. Atlantic Records, which was celebrating its 75th anniversary when these discussions got underway, is the first label to be honored. (The label was founded in October 1947 and released its first recordings in January 1948.) Even though the 75th anniversary has passed, it will be honored. 76th anniversary just doesn’t have same ring.

Atlantic doesn’t have any recordings being inducted this year, but it has 38 past Hall of Fame inductions.

As part of the salute to Atlantic, two current Atlantic artists are performing Grammy Hall of Fame classics by legendary Atlantic artists. Shinedown is performing Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” Ravyn Lenae is singing Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly With His Song.” Atlantic had a great deal of input into their segment. “They know themselves best, so we left it up to them,” Sticka says. “We had a lot of conversations with them.”

Starting this year, all artist(s), producer(s), songwriter(s) and engineer(s) who work on a Grammy Hall of Fame inductee will receive a certificate, provided they worked on 51% or more of the recording and had primary participation in those capacities. No statuettes, though. You have to win a Grammy in competition to get one of those.

By Michael

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