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The Recording Academy Honors 2007

Hyatt Regency Hotel - Chicago, IL, United States - October 11, 2007

by Dan Locke, story editing by Anita Maree Lande

Rick NielsenHello There! The Recording Academy Honors hit-makers from the Chicago area.

The Chicago Chapter of NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences) held The Recording Academy Honors event at the Hyatt Regency (Crystal Ballroom) in Chicago, IL. The Recording Academy Honors acknowledges outstanding achievements and contributions that have significantly enriched the music community in the Chicagoland area. Formerly known as the Heroes Awards, The Recording Academy Honors was created to help the Chicago chapter's ongoing advocacy, education and professional development programs.

This year's honoraries included Cheap Trick, Kanye West, Metro club owner Joe Shanahan, and a special Legacy presentation to Robin McBride. Some of the past honoraries have included KoKo Taylor and Common.

The red carpet event was held with all of the honoraries and their guests including Plain White T's (who performed at the event with guitarist/singer Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick), Kanye West's mother, and local media. A three-course dinner with the honoraries was one part of the event worth noting for its excellence. The first course was Bouquet of Boston Bibb, Radiechic, and Frisee lettuces with apricot, blueberries and cream cheese rolled in herbs with a red wine vinaigrette. The second course included short ribs of beef with a Shallot Merlots Reduction, accompanied by chicken roulade stuffed with apple, fennel, and caramelized onions with a rosemary demi glaze. Idaho and sweet potato tartlette, jumbo asparagus and baby carrots accented with a red tinkerbelle pepper. The third course included ginger crème brulee in a chocolate tuille cup, accented with fresh whipped cream, raspberries and crystallized ginger set on a plate with raspberry and mango coulis.

The awards ceremony was especially tasteful and elegant. The program started out with Neil Portnow, current president of NARAS, discussing how Chicago has been a leader in the music industry for many years. He also told the guests that the Grammy's would be celebrating their 50 years of service. He announced that CBS will be airing the best clips from the Grammy's in November and viewers can vote on their favorite moments during the show making it an interactive viewing party. Neil then started the honors for the 2007 winners.

Robin McBride, who produced and managed the popular Chicago punk band Bohemia, was the first award winner of the night. Robin also served as Vice President of A&R at Mercury Records between 1968 to 1978. During this time he re-activated their Limelight label. The performers he either signed or produced for the company included top name performers and bands like David Bowie, Rod Stewart, Jerry Butler, Charles Earland and Uriah Heep. In 1970 one of the first records he produced was Buddy Miles' progressively funky Them Changes.

The second award winner was Joe Shanahan, the owner of the trendy and cutting-edge Metro. Located on Clark Street (near Wrigley Field), the Metro could easily be a rock-n-roll Chicago landmark, as it has always opened its doors to local and national musicians. In fact, if you ask any musician in Chicago what club they want their band to perform at, the answer is normally the Metro due to the history of who has performed on the stage and the electrifying energy. In 1982 when the club opened, a little unknown band called R.E.M. performed at the Metro at a cost of $5.00 a ticket. During that first year the Metro also hosted the likes of Depeche Mode, Billy Idol, MOD, and New Order.

Over the years Joe booked popular Chicago based bands like Tami Show, Holland, Enuff Znuff, Kill Hannah, and The Smashing Pumpkins. The Metro also has rocked the house with international artists like Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, James Brown, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Pearl Jam, Bob Dylan and Good Charlotte.

With the success of the Metro, Joe also opened up another rock club called Double Door in Chicago. He is a co-founder of the North Clark Street Business Owners Association, which seeks to improve relations between businesses, residents and the City of Chicago. Joe also serves on the boards of several charities, including Rock for Kids and serves on the Arts Council for Sacred Heart School.

The third honor and award was given to the rock band Cheap Trick. With their explosion in the 1970's, this Rockford, IL based band turned into international superstars and they can still sell-out venues. They have constantly remained on the road releasing CDs and DVDs. The band has timeless classic hits like I Want You To Want Me, Dream Police, Surrender, and The Flame. Drummer Bun E. Carlos and guitarist Rick Nielsen were in attendance and accepted the honor proudly.

Plain White Ts and Rick NielsenThe last honor of the night went to Grammy award winning rap artist, producer, the always controversial Kanye West. He was over-the-top thrilled by the recognition he received during the ceremony and said that this was an award he didn't have to worry about losing. This comment was made due to what happened a few weeks earlier at the MTV Video Music Awards. Kanye lost in all five categories he was nominated. To add to his misery, MTV booted him from opening the show in which inviting Britney Spears which turned into a disaster.

The Recording Academy Honors simply proves that Chicagoland has tremendous talent in the entertainment areas. The above winners have proven that if you keep believing in your dreams, you will receive the recognition you deserve down the road. All the winners have all at one time I Want You To Want Me, and we all heard and helped them achieve their dreams. Congrats to the 2007 winners!