MusiCares Polishes A Diamond

Neil Diamond will receive 2009 MusiCares Person of the Year honors at its annual gala dinner and concert Feb. 6, president/CEO Neil Portnow and the Recording Academy announced Oct. 21.

Diamond, a Grammy-winning legend whose career began as a songwriter at the Brill Building and spans five decades, was named in honor of his artistic achievements and philanthropic efforts.

He is donating 100 percent of his merchandise sales from his October concerts in Houston, Dallas and Oklahoma City to those hit hard by Hurricane Ike.

“As we enter the next 50 years for The Recording Academy and the Grammy Awards, and approach the 20th anniversary of our MusiCares foundation, it is fitting that we honor a most enduring artist and songwriter whose musical influence is truly unmatched – the extraordinary Neil Diamond,” Portnow said in a statement.

“Neil’s exceptionally versatile and rich body of work, combined with his magnetic performances, are a hallmark of his artistic career,” added MusiCares board chair John Branca.

The MusiCares Person of the Year dinner and concert is an annual highlight of Grammy Awards week, and in recent years has honored such luminaries as Brian Wilson and Don Henley.

The honor is the latest milestone for Diamond, who is touring in support of his first career No. 1 album debut, Home Before Dark.

MusiCares was established in 1989 by The Recording Academy to provide a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need, including services and resources covering a wide range of financial, medical and personal emergencies.