Grammy turning 50 with style

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The Recording Academy on Tuesday unveiled plans for its yearlong celebration of the Grammy Awards' 50th anniversary next year.

Special events and commemorative will include the 30,000-square-foot Grammy Museum, housed in AEG's new L.A. Live venue and slated to open in September 2008; a retrospective coffee table book to be sold at Borders starting in October; and Grammy Brand lifestyle clothing under the tagline, "Music makes me ... ." A portion of the proceeds from the fashion line, available at select retailers in the fall, will benefit the Grammy Foundation and MusiCares.

Recording Academy president Neil Portnow, producer Quincy Jones and singer Joss Stone made the announcements at a news conference at Staples Center in Los Angeles against a backdrop of Grammy memorabilia, ranging from statuettes and original membership applications -- including those of Frank Sinatra and Beyonce -- to clothing from the Grammy fashion line.

The 50th Grammy Awards ceremony is set for Feb. 10 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, airing on CBS. The nominations news conference is slated for Dec. 6.

In events leading up to the telecast, Jones -- also named as the Recording Academy's official 50th anniversary ambassador -- will receive the Grammy Foundation Leadership Award at the organization's Starry Night benefit concert July 28, and Aretha Franklin will be honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year on Feb. 8.

Also unveiled Tuesday were the 50th anniversary Grammy logo and official artwork for the 2008 awards program book and poster of a handcrafted mosaic by artist Roy Feinson, consisting of hundreds of images from Grammy telecasts.

Portnow said in an interview that he began thinking about this celebration four years ago after becoming the academy's president. "It's been a long process getting to this, and it's definitely a milestone," he said. "But we're just getting started."

Gail Mitchell is a senior correspondent for Billboard.
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