Grammy Preview: Special Honor For Levon Helm

Paul Grein
Stop The Presses!

Many music luminaries died last year, from disco queen Donna Summer to Andy Williams, who hosted the first seven Grammy live telecasts. Many of them will be featured in the annual In Memoriam segment on Sunday night’s Grammy telecast. But Levon Helm is being singled out for special recognition. Elton John, Mavis Staples, Mumford & Sons, Zac Brown and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes will join together in a special salute to Helm, a founding member of The Band. Helm died on April 19 at age 71.

Helm won three Grammys. Dirt Farmer was voted Best Traditional Folk Album of 2007. Electric Dirt and Ramble At The Ryman were voted Best Americana Album of 2009 and 2011, respectively.

The Band never won a Grammy in competition, but was recognized with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. (The Grammys were grappling with rock when The Band was in its heyday in the late ’60s and early ’70s).

T Bone Burnett will serve as musical director for the tribute to Helm. Burnett has won 12 Grammys for his work with such artists as Robert Plant & Alison Krauss and B.B. King and on such movie soundtracks as O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Crazy Heart.

In addition, Miguel and Wiz Khalifa will perform together on the show. They’ll probably perform Miguel’s “Adorn,” which is a Song of the Year nominee.

Miguel & Wiz Khalifa are the fifth pairing of performers to be announced for this year’s show, following Alicia Keys & Maroon 5, Elton John & Ed Sheeran, Dierks Bentley & Miranda Lambert, and Bruno Mars, Sting & Rihanna.

Previously announced performers on the show are Justin Timberlake, Frank Ocean, fun., the Lumineers, Carrie Underwood, Jack White, the Black Keys, Mumford & Sons and Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson.

Newly named presenters include Dave Grohl, Ne-Yo and Ryan Seacrest.