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Iggy Pop, John Prine, Public Enemy, Sister Rosetta Tharpe are among this year's Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award honorees

American singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe performing on stage with her guitar, November 1957.
American singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe performing on stage with her guitar, November 1957.Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Getty Images

by Luke Taylor

December 19, 2019

The Recording Academy — the people behind the Grammy Awards — announced the 2020 Special Merit Awards recipients, and the Lifetime Achievement Award honorees this year are Chicago, Roberta Flack, Isaac Hayes, Iggy Pop, John Prine, Public Enemy and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. The Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates performers who have made outstanding contributions of artistic significance to the field of recording. These artists will be celebrated at a special award presentation ceremony and concert on April 18, 2020, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in California.

Here's a bit about each recipient:

Since 1969, the band Chicago have released five No. 1 albums and have enjoyed nearly three dozen Top 40 hits.

Roberta Flack is probably best known for her songs, "Where Is The Love" and "Killing Me Softly with His Song."

Isaac Hayes was a soul-music pioneer who was an in-house songwriter and producer at Stax Records, and he was also the composer and performer of "The Theme From Shaft" from 1971. A bit more recently, Hayes was the voice of the iconic Chef character on South Park, a role he ultimately resigned after he had a conscientious conflict with what that character represented.

Iggy Pop began his career with the Stooges and became a godfather of American punk rock. He's released more than 15 albums as a solo artist, including his well-known songs "Lust For Life" and "The Passenger." Most recently, Iggy Pop has collaborated with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age.

John Prine has enjoyed a long career as a singer/songwriter, and he's recently experienced a career renaissance with his most recent album, The Tree of Forgiveness. He's influenced a ton of artists, notably his friends Bonnie Raitt, Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires.

Public Enemy — fronted by Chuck D and Flavor Flav — are hip-hop pioneers who have released a baker's dozen albums in their long career, including the landmark It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back. Their song, "Fight the Power," was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2018.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe is a founder of rock and roll. An innovator with vocals and electric guitar, Tharpe's sound would influence artists like Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Bob Dylan — and therefore everyone they've influenced. In 1945, Tharpe released a song called "Strange Things Happening Every Day," and it made the jump from gospel to R&B, striking the template for what we know as rock and roll.

Grammy Awards - official site