Songwriting legend, Americana forefather, and (possibly) future Country Music Hall of Famer John Prine will be one of the 2020 recipients of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. It will be the biggest trophy John Prine will have received in his illustrious career, right behind the jukebox Steve Goodman bought for him in exchange for his writing credits on the David Allan Coe hit “You Never Even Called Me By My Name.”
The Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates performers who have made outstanding contributions of artistic significance to the field of recording, and is voted on by the Recording Academy’s National Board of Trustees. John Prine has won two Grammy Awards previously in 1992 and 2006 for Best Contemporary Folk Album, and has been nominated for eight more Grammys, including Best New Artist in 1972. His self-titled debut from 1971 was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2015.
The Grammy Awards chose John Prine for their distinct Lifetime Achievement Award for his witty approach to storytelling that has made him one of the most revered country & folk singer/songwriters since his emergence in the ’70s.
“Our industry is one that prides itself on influence and paying it forward, and each year the Recording Academy has the privilege of honoring a select group of visionaries whose creative contributions have rippled throughout our culture,” says Deborah Dugan, President/CEO of the Recording Academy. “Our Special Merit Awards recipients have molded their musical passion into pieces of history that will continue to influence and inspire generations of music creators and music lovers to come.”
John Prine set historic numbers for the release of his 2018 album The Tree of Forgiveness—his first album of original material in 13 years. He also won the Americana Artist of the Year for the second year in a row in 2018, won both the Americana Song of the Year and Album of the Year in 2019, and has been enjoying a resurgence in popularity as younger artists embrace him as a songwriting pioneer and legend. Prine was also nominated for consideration by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, speaking to the 72-year-old songwriter’s wide influence. John Prine is a survivor of squamous cell cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 1998.
The other 2020 Lifetime Achievement Awards winners will be rock band Chicago, jazz and soul singer Roberta Flack, soul pioneer Isaac Hayes, punk rocker Iggy Pop, hip-hop group Public Enemy, and gospel and blues legend Sister Rosetta Tharpe.