Grammy award winning blues musician Buddy Guy was honored at the 35th Kennedy Center Honors, which will be televised on Dec. 26, 2012 on CBS Television Network. 35th Kennedy Center Honors televised on CBS
Buddy Guy was honored along with this year’s recipients, including David Letterman, Dustin Hoffman, Natalia Makarova and Led Zeppelin. 35th Kennedy Center Honors recipients announced
President and Mrs. Barack Obama were seated with the honorees in the Presidential Box of the Opera House at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts,
Caroline Kennedy, who hosted the event, introduced Buddy Guy as, “a Louisiana sharecropper’s son who made his way to ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ and became America’s champion of the blues,” according to a Dec. 3, 2012 press release from CBS Television Network.
Academy Award and Golden Globe Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman paid tribute to multiple Grammy Award-winning American blues guitarist and jazz singer Buddy Guy, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005, stating, “I first heard the blues sitting on my grandmother’s porch in Mississippi – we called it “gut bucket music. You mastered the soul of that gutbucket music and used that as your starting point. You found a new music in it that no one had ever seen before. And without the Internet, without YouTube, without even FM radio, you went viral. You went viral, Buddy Guy. And you made a bridge from roots to rock and roll.” Freeman continued, “But there’s Buddy. Sitting up there with the best – a pioneer, a Queen, a King and a President – the best rock and roll band, a pioneer of acting, a queen of dance, king of late night and the President of the United States. So when you hear the blues, you don’t know if it’s white, black, yellow, purple or blue. Buddy Guy, your blues brought us together. Now that’s something to sing about.”
The tribute to Buddy Guy commenced with a performance by the Rob Mathes Band of “Every Day I Have the Blues,” which was quickly followed by a medley of “Things I Used to Do,” “I’m Ready” and “Hoochie Coochie Man,” performed by multiple Grammy Award-winning guitarist and singer Jimmie Vaughan, along with American guitarist Gary Clark, Jr. Next, multiple Grammy Award winner Tracy Chapman took the stage to perform “Hound Dog,” followed by “I’d Rather Go Blind,” performed by multiple Grammy Award winner Jeff Beck and American jazz and blues singer Beth Hart. The tribute concluded with an upbeat medley of “My Time After a While” and “Sweet Home Chicago,” led by multiple Grammy Award-winning musician Bonnie Raitt.
President Barack Obama paid tribute to Buddy Guy at the Kennedy Center Honors reception. Obama’s comments, provided by a press release from the White House, follow:
“Growing up as the son of a sharecropper in Louisiana, Buddy Guy made his first guitar out of wires from a window screen — that worked until his parents started wondering how all the mosquitos were getting in. (Laughter.) But Buddy was hooked, and a few years later, he bought a one-way ticket to Chicago to find his heroes — Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. Pretty soon he was broke, hungry and ready to head home. And then, one night outside a blues club, a man pulled up and handed Buddy a salami sandwich and said, “I’m Mud,” and “you ain’t goin’ nowhere.” And that was the start of something special.”
“Of course, success hasn’t changed the humble country boy who used to milk cows on a farm outside Baton Rouge. Buddy tells a story about his son Greg wanting to learn to play the guitar like Prince. Buddy told him he’d better learn some Jimi Hendrix first. (Laughter.) It was only after watching a TV special on Hendrix that Greg found out Jimi had borrowed some licks from his dad. So Greg said, “I didn’t know you could play like that.” And Buddy said, “You never asked.” (Laughter.)”
“Today, Buddy is still going strong — one of the last guardians of the great American blues. And on a personal note, I will never forget Buddy playing “Sweet Home Chicago” in this very room back in February and him, and a few others, forcing me to sing along — (laughing) — which was just okay. (Laughter.) There aren’t too many people who can get me to sing, but Buddy was one of them. And so we are so glad that we can honor him tonight. Congratulations, Buddy Guy. (Applause.)”
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