My favorite memory of Ted Kennedy...
In September 2007, The Recording Academy's GRAMMYs on the Hill event honored the senator for his support of arts funding and his work facilitating universities' transition to legal music services. By 10:30 p.m. the evening was officially running long, mainly the result of fellow honoree, Quincy Jones, using his (intended) three-minute acceptance speech to take the attendees on a trip down memory lane that lasted more than a half-hour. As you can imagine, the audience of 300 Washington movers and shakers were delighted. But by the time singer/songwriter John Rich (then of Big & Rich) came to the stage for the closing performance, it was getting late.
In advance of the event, John and I had worked out a plan for the finale. John would sing Quincy's "We Are The World" and invite Sen. Kennedy to come on stage to sing. Song sheets were prepared and the other VIPs (Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R.-Tenn.), songwriter Brett James, musician Ray Benson, and Jimmy Jam) were ready to join in. But as the night ran later and later, we weren't sure the 75-year-old legislator would come to the stage, and frankly no one would have blamed him if he didn't. However, as always, Ted Kennedy rose to the occasion. Watch here.
We lost one of the great ones. All of us at The Recording Academy feel privileged to have had the opportunity to thank him as a music community for his service to the arts and to the country. He will be missed.