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“As we enter the next 50 years for The Recording Academy and the Grammy Awards, and approach the 20th anniversary of our MusiCares Foundation, it is fitting that we honor a most enduring artist and songwriter whose musical influence is truly unmatched.”
——Neil Portnow

MUSICARES GETS BROTHER LOVE’S TRAVELING SALVATION SHOW

Neil Diamond Will Be the Star Attraction at the Traditional Grammy Week Gala
Neil Diamond has been selected as the 2009 MusiCares Person of the Year. The announcement was made Tuesday by Recording Academy chief Neil Portnow, who doubles as President/CEO of the MusiCares Foundation, and legal eagle John Branca, the foundation’s Board Chair.

The gala dinner and concert honoring Diamond is scheduled for next Feb. 6, two days prior to the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, with the proceeds providing essential support for MusiCares, which ensures that music people have a place to turn to in times of financial, medical and personal need.

The legendary singer, songwriter and performer is being honored in recognition of his exceptional artistic achievements as well as his philanthropic work, which has included many generous charitable donations over the years. Most recently, Diamond has been donating 100% of merchandise sales from his October concerts in Houston, Dallas and Oklahoma City to the hurricane relief efforts in Texas for areas ravaged by Hurricane Ike.

Said Portnow: "As we enter the next 50 years for The Recording Academy and the Grammy Awards, and approach the 20th anniversary of our MusiCares Foundation, it is fitting that we honor a most enduring artist and songwriter whose musical influence is truly unmatched—the extraordinary Neil Diamond. And despite the rumors, I wasn’t hurt when he refused my request to sit in on bass.”

Added Branca: "Neil's exceptionally versatile and rich body of work, combined with his magnetic performances, are a hallmark of his artistic career. And we look forward to paying tribute to him during Grammy Week—especially singing along with ‘I Am, I Said.’ My karaoke version kills, by the way.”

The 2009 MusiCares Person of the Year gala will begin with a special reception and silent auction that will offer an exclusive and unparalleled selection of luxury items, VIP experiences and one-of-a-kind celebrity memorabilia for bidding guests. The reception will also feature a special online auction presented by Julien's Auctions and will broadcast live worldwide on Auction Network with real-time interactive bidding technology. The auction will be followed by a gala dinner, an award presentation and a star-studded tribute concert.

The ceremony is chaired by Irving Azoff and Marshall Gelfand.

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