At the German Echo Music Awards in Berlin on Thursday, Klaus Voormann received the lifetime achievement award.
For the eighth consecutive year, the most prestigious award of the evening went to a Universal Music artist: bass player, producer and graphic designer Klaus Voormann, who received the lifetime achievement award. The two-time GRAMMY winner and so called “fifth” Beatle shaped the course of rock and pop music at various moments in time. Voormann played with Manfred Mann, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, John Lennon (e.g. on “Imagine”), and Eric Clapton. He was a founding member of John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band and designed artworks for an array of artists, including The Beatles (Grammy for “Revolver”) and the Bee Gees. He was a part of George Harrison’s “Concert for Bangladesh” and produced records for acts such as Trio (“Da Da Da”) and Marius Müller-Westernhagen.
“The contribution [Voorman] has made to so many seminal projects worldwide and in so many different ways over the past decades is absolutely outstanding,” said Frank Briegmann, President & CEO Central Europe Universal Music and Deutsche Grammophon.
NOTE: Echo prize winners return awards amid controversy
The controversy over the awarding of an Echo, the German music industry’s most important prize, to a rap duo singing anti-Semitic lyrics has continued to grow, with musicians returning their own honors in protest.
Still, the controversy has not cooled as musicians continue to return their own awards in protest.
Klaus Voorman, renowned internationally for the artwork he designed for legendary bands such as the Beatles and the Bee Gees, had received an award for his life’s work at the ceremony. “What had felt like a gift to me on the occasion of my 80th birthday has revealed itself to be a big disappointment,” said the artist who will be turning 80 by the end of April.
“Provocation is allowed and sometimes even necessary in order to provide food for thought.” But, Voormann added in his statement on Monday, the line has to be drawn when it comes to violent, racist, anti-Semitic and sexist declarations.
Following Voormann’s statement, Christian Höppner, President of Germany’s Culture Commission resigned from the music prizes’ seven-member board. In his resignation, he said, that the format of the Echo prizes was “no longer tolerable in our society.” Referring to the music by Kollegah and Farid Bang, he said it was “not for him. I find the text repugnant.” He likewise said he had noticed an escalation in hate, racism and violence in music over the years.