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Grammy for Mr. Gramophone

Emile Berliner receives a Grammy

While Daft Punk, Lorde, Bruno Mars and well-known artists grabbed the limelight at the Grammy Awards, a few others received their just rewards in a less spectacular setting.

Those are usually referred to as “Special Merit” awards. Those recipients are less pretty, less known and, in some cases, dead.

Emile Berliner died 85 years ago, yet he snagged his second Grammy. Berliner should be better-known as Mr. Grammy, since it is his “gramophone” which got the whole business going. Oh, and his work on creating playable discs should not be forgotten either. He also labored in developing a device that would evolve into the modern microphone. Not a bad résumé.

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences recognized that the other night in bestowing on Berliner his Technical Grammy.

Berliner’s grandson Oliver Berliner, a Maryland music publisher, said, “This is Emile’s second Grammy, which is pretty good for a guy who’s been dead nearly 85 years … At last grandpa gets the recognition he’s due and which had been erroneously attributed to others.”

As if those contributions were not enough, Berliner also worked on acoustic tiles, looms and early helicopters. The latter particularly fascinated him and consumed much of his later life.

Bonus Berliner treat — here is an article on how the Grammy became the Grammy.