By Annie Reuter
Neil Young was awarded the President’s Merit Award from the Producers & Engineers Wing last night (Jan. 21) as part of the 56th GRAMMY Awards. Young was the main focus of the Producers and Engineers Wing’s seventh annual GRAMMY Party, which had hundreds in attendance and included an acoustic performance by Dave Matthews.
According to Rolling Stone, Young’s 15-minute acceptance speech was “part musical manifesto, stand-up comedy and personal history.” Throughout his speech, Young talked about the importance of recording, the story behind “Like a Hurricane,” and how he tries “to get magic” every time he records a song.
“So all I’m trying to say is I’m one of you. You honor me, you’re honoring yourself. It’s not me: it’s you. It’s what we do,” he said. Read the transcription below.
So this is a cool night because we’re all here together. I know almost everybody here. If I don’t know you, I thought I did when I saw you. It really is great. A lot of us, you know, producers and engineers –I’m kind of a producer, partially, an engineer, I’m not really good at either one. It’s hurt my records in the past. We’re performance-oriented: technical things don’t matter that much.
That’s only one way of making records. A lot of you out here are craftsmen: just beautiful records, and take great care with every note. And I know I’m not one of them. I like to capture the moment. I like to record the moment. I like to get the first time that I sung the song. I like to get the first time the band plays the song. So there’s a lot of compromises you make to get that feeling, but in the long run, that’s where the pictures are when I hear my words and when I see the pictures while I’m listening. So that’s what we try to record.