The Official Website of Gene Autry, America's Favorite Singing Cowboy

News Archive: 2009

The Grammy Special Merit Awards
By Karla Buhlman, President Gene Autry Entertainment
Updated May 22, 2009

On February 7, 2009 Gene Autry was honored with the Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy's Special Merit Awards Ceremony.

I was privileged to attend this event and wanted to share my experience with Gene's fans.

This is how the evening's program describes the Special Merit Awards:

In addition to the Grammy Awards, the Recording Academy presents other notable honors. These awards recognize contributions of significance to the recording field that fall outside the framework of the Grammy Awards categories, and include the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Trustees Award, the Technical Grammy Award, the Grammy Legend Award, and the Grammy Hall of Fame Award.

Grammy Awards before the
Special Merit Ceremony

Mrs. Gene Autry and Stan Schneider

During the two-hour ceremony at the beautiful Wilshire Ebell Theatre each award recipient was individually honored with an eloquently spoken introduction by a Recording Academy executive and a short yet detailed video presentation followed by the award winner or family member receiving the award. While the Grammy Awards show on Sunday, February 8th, only features five or six seconds on each of these musical folks, the Special Merit Awards Ceremony truly honored their talents and contributions to the music industry.

Mrs. Gene Autry and Gene Autry
Entertainment President Karla Buhlman

Gene Autry Biographer Holly
George-Warren and Karla Buhlman

Here is what I remember best about each award winner that evening:

Technical Grammy Awards
Presented by vote of the Recording Academy's National Trustees, the Technical Grammy Award recognizes individuals and companies that have made contributions of outstanding technical significance to the field of recording. The Technical Grammy was first awarded in 1994.

Trustees Awards
This Special Merit Award is presented by vote of the Recording Academy's National Trustees to individuals who, during their careers in music, have made significant contributions, other than performance, to the field of recording. The Trustee Award was established in 1967.

Lifetime Achievement Award
The Lifetime Achievement Award, established in 1962, is presented by vote of the Recording Academy's national Trustees to performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording.

It was a moving evening that made me reflect on the collection of diverse American musicians and music industry talent who created so many musical treasures. Indeed, each and every one was worthy of recognition for their outstanding contributions to music!

I've recommended to the curator of the Grammy Museum that they use the video presentations as part of their Lifetime Achievement Awards display case so that visitors can better understand the importance of these honors. Gene Autry will soon be added to the museum's Lifetime Achievement case and we'll be sure to let you know about that when it happens.

If you like to read more about the past recipients of these awards, visit the Grammy website here.

Gene Autry's Lifetime Achievement Award Grammy and items from his recording career are now on display at the Autry National Center for everyone to see and enjoy. View a photo album of the case installation here.

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