Mitchell, 77, emerged from the Canadian coffee shop circuit to become one of the standard-bearers for multiple generations of singer-songwriters. In 2020, Rolling Stone magazine declared her 1971 album “Blue” to be the third-best album of all time. In a brief statement, Mitchell, said, “I wish my mother and father were alive to see this. It’s a long way from Saskatoon.”
The December 5 ceremony will be the centerpiece of the Kennedy Center’s 50th anniversary of cultural programing. The center opened in 1971 and a young Diaz, now 81, actually performed at the grand opening of the opera house.
“It’s a very special thing,” said Diaz, a bass-baritone from San Juan, Puerto Rico. “It’s such a great privilege to be able to say I shared this space with all these geniuses.”
Gordy, 91, founded Motown Records — the Detroit-based hit factory that spawned what became known as the Motown Sound and launched the careers of a huge list of artists, including Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Ritchie, Marvin Gaye and Martha and the Vandellas.