Every year for more than a decade, The National GUITAR Museum has given their “Lifetime Achievement Award” to a living guitarist who has contributed to the legacy of the guitar. The guidelines are straightforward: the person must have been a performing or recording artist whose talents had an effect on guitar playing—and whose career inspired and influenced other guitar players.
This year, the year of the pandemic, has given them reason to make an exception to their annual presentation.
For 2020, they are recognizing Eddie Van Halen as the recipient of their Lifetime Achievement Award. It is being awarded, for the first time, in memoriam.
2010: David Honeyboy Edwards. Pioneering blues guitarist.
2011: Roger McGuinn. Founder of The Byrds and early player of the electric 12-string.
2012: B.B. King. Perhaps the most famous blues player of all time.
2013: Vic Flick. Popular session guitarist (including for The Beatles), who played the original James Bond theme.
2014: Buddy Guy. Influential electric bluesman who influenced the course of rock.
2015: Tony Iommi. Founder of Black Sabbath, and the acknowledged architect of heavy metal.
2016: Glen Campbell. Session player and singer who appeared on thousands of popular songs.
2017: Bonnie Raitt. Pioneering blues rock and slide player.
2018: Jose Feliciano. Internationally renowned guitarist across many genres.
2019: Liona Boyd. The first female classical guitarist of note.