Celebrating Black Music Month With The ASCAP 25th Annual Rhythm & Soul Music Awards

Wed., Jun. 27, 2012 8:15 PM EST
by Terry Shropshire

When Quincy Jones is bestowed the Founders Award during the ASCAP 25th Annual Rhythm & Soul Music Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., they should check to see if his hands actually glow in the dark.

What “Q” has done with the 10 digits on his hands over the past six decades — whether it’s with a trumpet, or penning film scores and soundtracks and composing music for television shows, or producing songs for the legends of today and yesteryear — defies logic and comprehension. His impact on American society has been astounding.

So when the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) wrote that each recipient of the Founders Award “is a musical innovator who possesses a unique style of creative genius that will enrich generations to come,” Jones is arguably the greatest and most complete embodiment of that statement who has ever lived. All you have to do is hear the opening notes of “Sanford & Son” to recognize the song nearly 40 years after it debuted. And the music that Q helped pull out of Michael Jackson is still getting heavy rotation on most urban music stations, and certainly nightclubs across the globe, three decades after it was completed. He not only discovered MJ as a painfully shy 19-year-old trying to figure out his way in the world, Q also took one look at Oprah when her show was just a local Chicago phenomenon and cast her in the movie, The Color Purple, which raised her profile exponentially. Q is also the man who saved Will Smith from imminent bankruptcy, and who noticed the Fresh Prince’s brilliant combination of rap skills and comedic timing and cast him in the “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” Today, Smith has broken records with nine consecutive movies that have reached the $100 million mark.

While it’s more than appropriate to pay the ultimate homage to a living legend, it is also right to reward prodigies ascending the all-time composers and producers list, which is why Pharrell of The Neptunes is the recipient of the Golden Note Award. The Golden Note is given to songwriters, composers and artists who have achieved extraordinary career milestones. Appropriately enough, the previous honorees include Sean “Diddy” Combs, Jermaine Dupri, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Lionel Richie and, yes, Quincy Jones.

“Quincy Jones’ contributions to the history of American music are immeasurable. With over 50 years experience working with the biggest names in music and in nearly every genre, he is easily one of the most influential figures in music history,” said Paul Williams, ASCAP’s president and chairman. “He has had — and continues to have — a significant and long-lasting effect on the music community. As a pioneering composer and someone who has shaped the sound of American music, he is a clear and obvious choice for the ASCAP Founders Award.”

The three-time Grammy-winning Pharell, who with his partner, Chad Hugo, created one of the most successful production duos in American history, helped produce 24 top 10 hits for the likes of Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, *NSYNC, TLC, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Busta Rhymes, Babyface, Justin Timberlake and No Doubt. In 2004, he took home the Producer of the Year Grammy and claimed Billboard’s Producer of the Decade Award in 2009.

“It is an honor to receive the Golden Note Award. ASCAP has celebrated some of the greatest musicians of our time with this distinction, and I am humbled to be in their ranks,” said Pharrell. “The work ASCAP has done — and continues to do — to protect and serve music creators, is truly remarkable and it is a thrill to be recognized by such a respected institution.”
“From the pioneering work of The Neptunes, to the success of both N*E*R*D and his own solo projects, Pharrell has proven his versatility time and again,” said ASCAP’s Paul Williams. “Pharrell continues to push boundaries and uphold his status as a music trailblazer. I can’t think of a better artist to receive this year’s Golden Note Award.”

Sources: Marketwire and ASCAP.com

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