The Kennedy Center Honors – 2038

2013 Kennedy Center Honors were presented to music legends Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana and Billy Joel last night in Washington, D.C.   The Awards are in their 36th year and have done a pretty good job of honoring artists of truly monumental lifetime achievements.  In the Awards’ early years the Kennedy Center recognized Ella, Sinatra, and Count Basie and in more recent years Dylan, Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Brubeck, McCartney, Brian Wilson, and James Brown.

So, who might they be honoring 25 years from now?  What musical artists are on a trajectory to possibly stand in that company?  Looking at this year’s awardees who range in age from their mid-60’s to mid-70’s and who made their first musical marks 40 to 50 years ago, we need to think of artists currently between their mid-30’s and mid-40’s who have already been at it for 15 years or more.  Being a bit parochial and limiting the possibilities to musicians featured on this blog, here are our predictions for the 2038 Kennedy Center Honors.

Alison Krauss should definitely be there.  She’ll be 67 by then, and we hope will still have her pure, angelic voice.  She might not need to make one more recording to be viewed as one of the best and most influential artists of her time. She’s already won 27 Grammy Awards and countless country music awards. Here’s a cover of a pop tune from the Queen of Bluegrass.

Dave Grohl will be 69, bringing a legacy that already includes Nirvana, the Foo Fighters, drummer of choice for pretty much everyone, and documentary filmmaker. Here’s Dave practicing for 2038 by making nice at the White House. Things start to rock at about 3:00.

Jack White will be a 63-year old in 2038.  In addition to his recent solo work, he’s led The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, and The Dead Weather, but his greatest musical legacy may be the work he’s doing at his Third Man Records – preserving American roots music and developing new artists.  White has produced albums for country icon Loretta Lynn, rockabilly pioneer Wanda Jackson, and rock and roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis. Here’s another side of Jack, performing a duet with Alicia Keys of the theme song he wrote for the 2008 Bond movie “Quantum of Solace”.

In case you want to hang around for a few more minutes and sample the early works of the honorees of 2013, here are the first songs that made Herbie, Carlos and Billy famous. And, oh yeah, please feel free to comment with your picks for the 2038 Kennedy Center Honors.

Phil Ramone – Pioneering Record Producer

Record producers and engineers are rarely well known.  Phil Ramone may not be top of mind when you think of important music personalities of the last 50 years, but his influence is revealed in his obituaries that ran today – he passed away on March 30th at age 79.  The range of musicians he contributed his talents to is amazing – spend a few minutes reading through his discography here (Phil Ramone Discography) and rummage around his website to learn more.

Among his recent efforts was producing Amy Winehouse’s last recording, “Body and Soul”, sung with Tony Bennett for his “Duets II” album (the song won a Grammy for Best Pop Duo or Group Performance).  Among his first efforts was the record that started the Bossa Nova jazz craze in America, “Getz/Gilberto”, featuring the iconic “The Girl From Ipanema” (the album won multiple Grammys including Album of the Year in 1965).

In 1978 Ramone produced Billy Joel’s “52nd Street”. Another Album of the Year, this one in 1980, it was the first album commercially released on CD. Remember the CD?

Here’s a video of “Honesty” from “52nd Street”

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