Cruz – who perhaps has one of the most recognizable versions of “Guantanamera”– got her start in the 1940s with La Sonora Matancera in a pre-Castro Cuba. She had 23 gold albums, brought salsa to the masses, and reigned as its Queen for decades, which means that coming in 13 years after her death, the Recording Academy is slipping. In comparison, her frequent collaborator Tito Puente was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003 – three years after his death.
Still, it’s nice to see her acknowledged by the mainstream Grammys. This year, other inductees include Earth, Wind & Fire, Run DMC, and Airplane, and they will be honored with a ceremony and concert this spring.
“Each year, The Academy has the distinct privilege of honoring those who have greatly contributed to our industry and cultural heritage, and this year we have a gifted and brilliant group of honorees,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. “Their exceptional accomplishments, contributions, and artistry will continue to influence and inspire generations to come.”