LOS ANGELES Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, Brian Wilson, Moby and Macy Gray showed Paul Simon that "he's the one" at a charity dinner in Los Angeles on Monday night, honoring the folk-pop great as the 2001 MusiCares Person of the Year.
Simon, whose latest album, You're the One, is up for the Album of the Year Grammy, received the honor for his musical achievements and generosity throughout his more than 40 years in music.
The ceremony, held at the Century Plaza Hotel, raised money for MusiCares, established by the Recording Academy in 1989 to offer emergency financial assistance and addiction recovery programs to musicians. The event is one of the highlights of Grammy week, leading up to the Grammy Awards on Wednesday night.
"I'm honored to be able to be of help," Simon said during a press conference before the dinner. "My daughter, who is in kindergarten, is in the same class with a boy whose father is a musician, and [the father] said to me that he wanted to thank MusiCares, because it had paid for his rehab program, and he felt it was a miracle and it saved his life. ... I'm sure that that applies to hundreds, if not thousands of other musicians."
Clad in a cherry red, retro-style pantsuit, Gray opened the show with a rendition of Simon's "You Can Call Me Al," from Graceland, his landmark, 1986 Grammy winner for Album of the Year. Among the other performers were Wonder and the Dixie Hummingbirds, who sang "Loves Me Like a Rock," which the Dixie Hummingbirds sang with Simon on 1973's There Goes Rhymin' Simon. Joan Osborne sang "Homeward Bound," from 1966's Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson sang the Simon and Garfunkel classic "The Sounds of Silence," which first appeared on the duo's debut album, 1964's Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.
"It is a good cause, but I came for selfish reasons I want to see Paul Simon, and I want to see other people I love sing Paul Simon songs," Matchbox Twenty singer Rob Thomas said.
In a career that has spanned five decades, Simon has received 34 Grammy nominations and won 16 Grammy Awards as a singer, composer and producer. You're the One will compete for Album of the Year with Beck's Midnite Vultures, Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP, Radiohead's Kid A and Steely Dan's Two Against Nature.
"As a songwriter, Paul Simon sets the standard," Kenny Loggins said. "He was the guy I went to school on when I was first learning to be a songwriter and still am, from the early Simon and Garfunkel material to 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' to 'Darling Lorraine' on the new album. He's always breaking the rules and making up new ones and is one of the most brilliant lyricists out there. I'm in total admiration of him."
The evening included a silent auction of music memorabilia, but the amount of money the event raised was unavailable at press time.
The Academy announced Monday that Simon joins the list of Grammy performers, which also includes Elton John and Eminem, Madonna, U2, 'NSYNC, Christina Aguilera and Destiny's Child.
The Grammy Awards will air on CBS on Wednesday at 8 p.m. (live ET, delayed PT).