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The Recording Academy

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On Friday (Jan. 5), The Recording Academy announced their 2024 Special Merit Award honorees, including the six musical acts who will receive the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award.

This year’s Lifetime Achievement honorees include Donna Summer, Gladys Knight, N.W.A., Laurie Anderson, Tammy Wynette, and The Clark Sisters.


“The Academy is honored to pay tribute to this year’s Special Merit Award recipients — a remarkable group of creators and industry professionals whose impact resonates with generations worldwide,” Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, said in a statement to Billboard.

“Their contributions to music span genres, backgrounds and crafts, reflecting the rich diversity that fuels our creative community. We look forward to honoring these music industry trailblazers next month as part of our week-long celebration leading up to Music’s Biggest Night.”

The honorees will be recognized at a special ceremony on February 3, one day before the live broadcast of the 66th GRAMMYs.

Scroll down for a special look at the 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees!

Recording Academy Announces 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award Honorees  was originally published on

1. Donna Summer

Known as the undisputed “Queen of Disco,” Summer was the first female artist to win Grammy Awards in four different genres: R&B (for “Last Dance”), Rock (for “Hot Stuff”), Inspirational (for “He’s a Rebel” and “Forgive Me”) and Dance (for “Carry On”). She is also the first artist to win GRAMMYs for “Best Female Rock Vocal Performance” and “Best Dance Recording.”

2. Gladys Knight

The “Empress of Soul” made Grammy history in 1974, as Gladys Knight & The Pips became the first R&B act to open the Grammy telecast with their iconic hit, “Midnight Train to Georgia.” The group was also the first act to win GRAMMYs in both pop and R&B categories in the same night. Knight has won 2 awards each in pop, R&B and gospel, as well as one in traditional R&B.

3. Laurie Anderson

With a career spanning the worlds of art, theater, experimental music and technology, Anderson has worked with the likes of Peter Gabriel, Philip Glass, Jean-Michel Jarre and others. In 2002, Anderson became the first artist-in-residence of NASA, which culminated in her performance of “The End of The Moon” in 2004. Anderson won one GRAMMY, for “Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance” in 2019. She’s also nominated this year for “Best Historical Album.”

4. N.W.A.

N.W.A. is the fifth rap group to receive the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award (following Run-DMC, Public Enemy, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five and Salt-N-Pepa). Despite never winning a GRAMMY during their short tenure, the group helped catapult gangsta rap into the pop culture lexicon, becoming the most popular subgenre of Hip-Hop during the early to mid-1990s. 

5. Tammy Wynette

Hitting the music scene in the late 1960’s, Wynette’s sophisticated records such as the iconic “Stand By Your Man” helped bring country music into more modern times. Because of that, by the time she won her second award in 1970 (two years after her first), the GRAMMYs dropped the dated “country & western” term for the more modern “country.” 

6. The Clark Sisters

As the top-selling female gospel group of all time, The Clark Sisters are pioneers of contemporary gospel. Their blend of gospel, pop, and R&B have paid off through hits like “Livin’,” “Victory,” and their signature “You Brought The Sunshine.” The group won two GRAMMYs in 2008 for “Best Traditional Gospel Album” and “Best Gospel Performance,” with a third award for Karen Clark-Sheard as a songwriter. Karen is up for a solo GRAMMY this year for “Best Gospel Performance/Song.”