Berklee to honor King, Nelson & Lennox

, Staff

Berklee College of Music will present Carole King, Willie Nelson and Annie Lennox with honorary doctor of music degrees at the college’s commencement ceremony, which will take place on Saturday, May 11 at the Agganis Arena at Boston University. Lennox will serve as commencement speaker and address more than 900 Berklee graduates, their parents, and invited guests at the ceremony.

This year’s honorary doctorate recipients, according to a press release, are being recognized for their “achievements and influence in music, and for their enduring contributions to American and international culture.”

King, a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is the most successful female songwriter in pop music history. Her 1971 album Tapestry won three key Grammy Awards (Record, Song and Album of the Year), a first for a female artist. It sold more than 25 million copies, and remained the best-selling album by a female artist for 25 years. More than 400 of King’s compositions have been recorded, by over 1,000 artists, resulting in 100 hit singles. Last year, she released her memoir, A Natural Woman.

Nelson has earned every conceivable award as a musician in his six-decade, 200-plus album career. The iconic Texan country singer-songwriter will turn 80 at the end of April and will celebrate with a new album, Let’s Face The Music And Dance. It is comprised of pop, rock, jazz and country classics drawn from the 1930’s to 1950’s. Last year, he released a new memoir, Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings From the Road.

Lennox, a singer-songwriter, is best known as one of half of the Eurythmics. The British duo sold over 75 million albums, with over 20 international hits. In 1990, Lennox’s solo debut, Diva, entered the UK charts at #1, selling 6 million copies worldwide. Her accolades include 8 BRIT Awards, 10 Grammy nominations and 4 Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, an Academy Award, the American Music Awards Lifetime Achievement, Billboard’s Century Award, the Nobel Peace Laureates “Woman of Peace” Award, and a Lifetime Achievement from the Inspiration Awards for women. In 2011 she was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in recognition of her humanitarian work.

Past honorary doctorate recipients at Berklee include Duke Ellington (the first, in 1971), Patti LaBelle, Steven Tyler, Aretha Franklin, Tito Puente, Nancy Wilson, David Bowie, U2’s The Edge, Loretta Lynn, Quincy Jones, Bonnie Raitt and Smokey Robinson. Last year’s recipients included the Eagles, Alison Krauss and Mulatu Astatke.

On commencement eve, as is Berklee’s tradition, students will pay tribute to the honorees by performing music associated with their careers at the Agganis Arena. The concert and ceremony are not open to the public

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