The Meters, New Orleans' legendary founding fathers of funk, will be honored by the Recording Academy, the organization that presents the Grammy Awards, with a Lifetime Achievement Award, the Academy announced Tuesday.
The Meters, with members Art Neville, George Porter Jr., Leo Nocentelli, Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste and Cyril Neville, will be honored with the award at a special ceremony and concert in the summer.
The Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates performers who have made outstanding contributions of artistic significance to the field of recording. Other recipients this year include singers Neil Diamond, Tina Turner, Queen, Emmylou Harris and drummer Hal Blaine. A posthumous award will be presented to singer, songwriter and bandleader Louis Jordan.
"(The Meters') trademark sound of syncopated layered percussion intertwined with gritty grooves on guitar, bass, and organ, blends funk, blues, and dance grooves with a New Orleans vibe that is regarded as one of the most influential in music history," said The Recording Academy in a statement. "The Meters' unique place as a touchstone for countless artists across many genres and as one of the most sampled groups in all of hip-hop and pop music, have kept them relevant to contemporary audiences in a way that few groups can claim."
Other New Orleans artists to receive the award over the years include Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino, Mahalia Jackson and Jelly Roll Morton. Legendary songwriter/producer Allen Toussaint and recording engineer Cosimo Matassa earned special Grammy Trustees Awards as well.
The Meters were formed in 1965 and have influenced countless other artists in the decades since. The original group featured Neville on keyboards and vocals, Nocentelli on guitar, Porter on bass and Modeliste on drums. Art’s brother Cyril Nevllle later joined on percussion and vocals.
In 1969 the Meters released "Sophisticated Cissy" and "Cissy Strut", both major R&B chart hits. "Look-Ka Py Py" and "Chicken Strut" were their hits the following year.
As the house band for Allen Toussaint’s recording studio, the group performed on countless local and national hits, including Patti Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade.” They also worked with Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Dr. John, Robert Palmer, Earl King, Lee Dorsey and others.
By 1980, the band had broken up and members found fame with other groups and as solo acts. But some of the founders reunited and joined with other musicians in the 1990s and performed as The Meters and The Funky Meters.
In 2017, The Meters were nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They were nominated several times before, but have never made the cut. They also picked up nominations in 1997, 2013 and 2014.
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