Each year there are several award shows that recognize the most popular and best-selling recording artists and stars of television and film. Every award show also recognizes one person for their lifetime achievements. The lifetime achievement honorees are always my favorite segment of award shows.
In 1964 a National Cultural Center was built on the Potomac River in Washington D.C.
It was named the “Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts” as a memorial to our 35th President John F. Kennedy who was assassinated on November 22, 1963.
In 1978 the Kennedy Center began to honor and celebrate the lifetime achievements of artists for their excellence in dance, music, opera, theater, film, and television. There are usually five honorees per year. The show is not televised live, but an edited 2-hour version always airs sometime before the end of each year.
This year the Kennedy Center Honors will air on CBS on
December 22, 2021 (TODAY).
When the list of 2021 honorees were announced I put this show on my calendar. Every year I have interest in a few of the honorees but this year I am extremely excited about four out of the five artists. I just do not know much about one of the honorees, but this show will introduce this outstanding performer to me. The Kennedy Center Honors will be the highlight of my award show viewing for 2021.
The 2021 Kennedy Center honorees are:
Loren Michaels is the brilliant mind, best known for creating and producing the long-running comedy sketch show “Saturday Night Live.”
This year marked the 46th year of the enormously popular television show. SNL became the launch pad for the careers of many of our most beloved and popular stars of comedy. I cannot think of another show that gave birth to so many outstanding careers.
Here are some of the biggest stars that got their start on Saturday Night Live….Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin, Billy Crystal, Bill Murray, Adam Sandler, Molly Shannon, Chris Rock, Chris Farley, Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Ben Stiller, Seth Myers, Norm McDonald, Jason Sudeikis, Chevy Chase, Robert Downey Jr, Dennis Miller, Mike Myers, Tracy Morgan, Amy Poehler, Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Kristen Wig, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, David Spade, Bill Hader, Kate McKinnon, Kenan Thompson, Pete Davidson and counting!
Since 1975, Saturday Night Live has had 880 episodes and I believe I have seen most if not all of them. If you were to binge every episode it would take you 55 days around the clock, 24/7 to watch them all.
CONGRATS to LOREN MICHAELS and THANKS for all the laughs!
Berry Gordy is best known for the legendary record label that he established in 1959.
He is also a songwriter and a record, film, and television producer. His first label was Tamla Records and during its first year he also created the Motown label. He started his record and music empire with just $800. Headquarters was known as “Hitsville,” and it was in Berry Gordy’s hometown of Detroit, Michigan.
Motown and Tamla records became the home of rhythm and blues. Soon the music coming out of Berry Gordy’s label was known as “The Motown Sound.” At the time Detroit was known for its successful car industry. Berry had a dream of putting together a record company and recording studio that would be a factory of the best studio musicians, songwriters, and artists that he could find. He put together a house band that became legendary in the business. They were called the “Funk Brothers.” They would go on to become the “behind-the-scenes secret-weapon” of ALL the Motown Hits. Eventually the Funk Brothers were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. All the Motown artists would come into the studio to record every new song. All songs were backed by the multi-racial Funk Brothers band. Each singer would record the same song and then Berry would choose who performed it best. It was all about the BEST performance and not the star power of the artist. First, the song meant EVERYTHING to Berry and then a perfect performance came next.
Berry Gordy did not set out to produce music for only black America. He wanted to make music for all races, world-wide. His dreams and vision were to bring a white audience to his “Motown Sound.” The Beatles were huge fans of the Motown Sound and they credited Motown for songs on their first albums. At one point, Mary Wells of Motown left the label to go on tour with The Beatles.
Motown Records had 191 hits that made it to No. 1 on the charts. In the sixties Motown was releasing back-to-back hits.
Motown became the most successful and popular label in the business.
On March 25, 1983, Motown recorded a TV special before a live audience. On May 16, 1983, when it aired Michael Jackson’s fame shot into the stratosphere…
…when he moon-walked across the stage during his iconic performance of Billie Jean.
In 2019 for their 60th anniversary, Motown released an 11 CD Box Set that included ALL their No. 1 hits. It is housed in a replica of the original “Hitsville” Motown building. The box set also includes classic and rare photos from the Motown vaults.
You can own this magnificent piece of MUSIC & MOTOWN history “Motown: The Complete No. 1’s (60th Anniversary Edition) by clicking here
You can also find the vast catalog of all the stars of Motown at DeepDiscount.com here.
If you love the Motown Sound you may want to pick up every Motown song and album from Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Diana Ross & The Supremes, The Jackson 5, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, The Commodores, Lionel Richie, Rick James, Teena Marie, Boyz II Men and many more.
CONGRATS to BERRY GORDY and THANKS for over 60 years of ICONIC AMERICAN MUSIC!
Joni Mitchell is my favorite artist of all-time. I have previously included Joni in my blog, and I will include her every time that she is in the news.
I am extremely excited about seeing Joni and the tribute to her on the Kennedy Center Honors show this week. I especially love when Brandi Carlile pays homage to Joni by performing songs from Joni’s vast catalog of music.
Joni Mitchell is a songwriter, musician, performer, and a painter.
Joni is Canadian…she is in the ROCK & ROLL HALL of FAME…Joni is the WINNER of 9 Grammy Awards…
Rolling Stone Magazine called her “One of the greatest songwriters ever”
It has been said that “Joni Mitchell may stand as the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century”.
Joni Mitchell is an artist that other artists admire, respect and LOVE.
Joni Mitchell songs have been covered by other artists 6,967 times. “Both Sides Now” has been covered 1,470 times (and counting)
Joni is a folk artist that incorporates elements of jazz, classical, pop and rock.
I adore Joni and I have written about her impact on my life in a previous blog feature under “Women In Rock.” If you want to hear more of my personal stories about Joni please read more there.
I love all of Joni’s 19 albums but here are a few of my favorites.
- Blue (1971) This entire album is a masterpiece, and it is often listed as one of the “The Greatest Albums of All-time”. The album contains my favorite Joni Mitchell song, “A Case of You.” This is also the song that Prince covered on the “Tribute to Joni Mitchell Album.”
- Court and Spark (1974) This was Joni’s most successful album. The song “Help Me” received a lot of radio airplay. The album has sold millions of copies.
- Ladies of the Canyon (1970) This album was written about Joni’s life while living in Laurel Canyon in the 60’s. Laurel Canyon was the epicenter of folk and immerging rock artists in the 60’s and early 70’s. The album contains 4 of my favorite Joni songs, “Big Yellow Taxi”, “The Circle Game” “Rainy Night House” and “Woodstock”.
- Don Juans Reckless Daughter (1977) This is a double album, and it is experimental and quite different from Joni’s other work. The album features some prominent jazz legends as well as Chaka Khan, Glen Frey, and J.D. Souther. My favorite track is “Dreamland.”
- Clouds (1969) This is in my top 5 Joni Mitchell albums for all the songs on “Clouds”. But it does contain two of Joni’s most beloved songs, “Chelsea Morning” and “Both Sides Now” are both found on “Clouds.” A large majority of people thinks that Judy Collins wrote “Both Sides Now” but it was written by Joni and first released by Judy Collins. Joni’s song was a hit for Judy Collins, and it established Joni as an important new songwriter.
This year I added a new collectible Joni Mitchell release to my massive Joni collection. I highly recommend this release to ALL serious Joni fans. It will also make the perfect gift for the Joni Mitchell fans in your life.
The 5 CD collectors box set features over 5 hours of unreleased Joni Mitchell recordings. The live, home and radio recordings were all recorded before her debut album “Songs to a Seagull” in 1968. This collection contains 119 songs. There are 29 original Joni songs that were never released with her vocals, but you can own these treasured recordings just by buying this incredible piece of Joni Mitchell history. Many of these songs were unheard before this limited release. You will even hear Joni doing a few covers of other songs like “The House of the Rising Sun.” It also contains a rare 1967 cover of Neil Young’s “Sugar Mountain”. The collection features a 40-page booklet that includes unseen photos from Joni’s personal collection. The liner notes feature a conversation between famed music journalist, writer and filmmaker Cameron Crowe and Joni herself. This is the first release from this series, Cameron Crowe has hinted that there will be other volumes of this JONI MITCHELL collectors box set. Joni tells stories before songs; you will also hear her unique guitar tuning. This is a historic, rare release that is modestly priced for what you are getting.
“Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963-1967)” has become my most cherished Joni purchase. I cannot wait to get my hands on additional volumes.
Use these links to add Joni Mitchell titles to your collection.
If you are more of a casual Joni fan, she has a few GREATEST HITS collections that I also recommend….
2 other AMAZING recordings is the film and music for “JONI AT 75”. I also urge you to check out the “Joni Mitchell Tribute Album” featuring the Prince cover of “A Case of You”
I will close by sharing one of my most treasured personal photos. This was taken at an intimate Joni performance and exhibit of her art at the Gene Autry Museum in California on January 26, 1995.
CONGRATS to Joni Mitchell and THANKS for providing the soundtrack to my life.
Bette Midler (aka “The Divine Ms. M”) is a beloved American singer, songwriter, comedian, and award-winning actor.
Bette began her illustrious career in off-Broadway plays. From 1966-1969 she made her mark on Broadway as Tzeitel in “Fiddler on the Roof” In the seventies New York started buzzing about this performer that was singing in a local gay bathhouse called the Continental Baths. She became known as “Bathhouse Betty” and men flocked to the bathes to see her accompanied by the house pianist Barry Manilow. Every night Bette and Barry rocked the stage to a full house. It was here that she unveiled her persona “The Divine Ms. M.”
In 1972 Bette signed her first record deal with Atlantic Records and since then she has released 14 solo studio albums, soundtracks, singles, live albums, and several music videos.
Belle Midler has garnered Gold, Platinum and Multiplatinum awards for her albums and singles. She is a Grammy award winner and in 1979 she made her film debut as the lead in “The Rose”.
Because I was a fan of Bette Midler, I was invited to be an extra in “The Rose.” We were told to dress like hippies attending a concert. That was no problem for me since that was my basic attire back in the day. They slapped a backstage pass on my clothing and placed me on the end of the front row in a concert scene. We recorded this scene at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
Bette won the Golden Globe for Best Actress for “The Rose.” She was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. Since then, she has starred in several hit films.
In 2017 Bette returned to the stage in “Hello Dolly” where she was awarded a Tony Award for “Best Actress in a Musical” for her outstanding first leading performance in a Broadway musical.
You can find an extensive selection of Bette Midler music and movies at www.deepdiscount.com here.
CONGRATS to BETTE MIDLER and THANKS for all the fun music and GREAT films throughout the years
And…..last but not least…honoree #5
Justino Diaz will also receive a 2021 Kennedy Center Honoree.
He is a Puerto Rican operatic bass-baritone, but I am unfamiliar with his body of work, so I am extremely interested in seeing his history during the awards ceremony this week.
Every year as I watch the Kennedy Center Honors I learn new things about our most celebrated and beloved performers.
I will be front and center in my living room to watch the 44th Annual Kennedy Center Honors on Wednesday December 22 at 9/8c. (on CBS)
WILL YOU BE WATCHING?