The Grammy Awards allow the Music Industry to behave as ifthere is such a thing. It's a beautiful mesh of art and commerce and shinystatues and speeches and people sitting in rapt attention waiting for thepost-ceremony parties. And somewhere in between they give out awards tomusicians they hope will rope in enough of a television audience to make thewhole thing worth doing next year.
I've always enjoyed the Grammy Awards best by not watchingthem. That way it's always a fresh and new experience when I hear about howwonderful they were. Damn! I missed them again!
But I went searching for ten bizarre moments that just seemwrong somehow. More wrong than usual. More odd than the Rolling Stones notwinning an award until 1994's Voodoo Lounge. It was tough getting itdown to just 10, but I wanted each one to really count!
10) "We Are The World" Winning Anything In 1985.: Whatwas that about there being people dying? We're saving our own lives? Not byforcing radio to play this song at regular intervals we weren't. Put a roomfulof stars in a recording studio each to sing a line of a tune and then market itas a charity record and wouldn't it really be better if we all just "gave atthe office" instead?Herbie Hancock Winning Album Of The Year In 2007 For River: The Joni Letters.: I know themusic industry is in a bad way these days and Herbie Hancock is certainly adeserving musician for all he's done. But somehow this album doesn't seem likeit would be the best album of any year. I'm sure it has its fans, but doesanyone feel that strongly about it? I'd think it'd get a solid "OK" from Jonifans and a "pretty good" from Herbie's people. You mean to tell me U2 didn'tmake an album this year? No Sting? No wonder.
8) Bruce Springsteen Winning Best Rock InstrumentalPerformance In 2007 For "Once Upon A Time In The West": I'd missed thisSpringsteen work. He never won anything for Born To Run, but he's won for this, which upon researching is describedthusly:
"Longtime Ennio Morricone fan Bruce Springsteencontributed his own instrumental version of 'Once Upon A Time In The West' forthe tribute album We All Love Ennio Morricone. The track featuresSpringsteen playing electric guitar over Morricone's original score recording."
OK, sounds great!Sting Winning A 1983 Grammy For Best Instrumental For"Brimstone And Treacle.": "Every Breath You Take" is a surefire winner. Andthe Police won pretty early on, so the Academy were always aware of Sting. Andsince entering their Rolodex, he gets called upon quite often to win and acceptthese awards. Considering the Who have never won an award, you gotta feel alittle weird about these things. Sure seems to me like there should've been a Jazzinstrumental that could've beaten out Sting for this one.
6) 1976 Record Of The Year going To "This Masquerade" ByGeorge Benson, Beating Out "Afternoon Delight" (Though The Starland Vocal BandDid Win Best New Artist): You kinda expect the wrong song to win the "Record of the Year" Award. It's part of the tradition. "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap"never won an award and neither did "My Old Man's A Fatso" by the Angry Samoans.So obviously they were robbed. But nothing seems more wrong than GeorgeBenson defeating the Starland Vocal Band's "Afternoon Delight." Sure, SVB wonthe Best New Artist award and went on to many years of sterling success, butthis kind of misevaluation of talent makes you wonder if there should really beanything called democracy!The Swingle Singers Winning Best New Artist In 1963: In1964, the Beatles would win this award. But 1963 belonged to the SwingleSingers! Ward Swingle was one proud man. But, sadly, those angry, bitterEnglishmen with their "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" propaganda would quickly lay to wastethe future success of the stunning and deserving Swingle Singers.
4) Awarding No Best New Artist In 1966.: Fromeverything I've ever read, 1966 was considered a pretty good year for music andyet it's the one year there was no Best New Artist? Why don't we do this moreoften? I'd say 2008 could be a good year to start a new tradition of ignoringall young people everywhere! Let them riot in the streets if they want to beheard.Milli Vanilli Having Their 1990 Grammy Revoked For NotPerforming Their Own Vocals On Their Debut Album.: A big OOPS! But reallyshouldn't the award have been given to the men who really did perform the song?Wasn't the music just as good regardless of who performed it? Or do we allpretend to like music that has the right name on it? Would Lamb of God fans notlike Lamb of God's music if it was suddenly called The Jonas Brothers? Andwould Jonas Brothers fans not like their boys if they went by the name LucyPietro-Andelseki and Her Swinging Nuns?
2) 1980, The Year Of Christopher Cross For Record Of TheYear, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best New Artist, Best ArrangementAccompanying Vocalist(s) For "Sailing" And His Self-titled Debut Album.: ChristopherCross' self-titled debut album beat out Pink Floyd's The Wall and BillyJoel's Glass Houses among the competition. Cross went on to beat outjust about everyone that year proving that he had a lasting career to bring us,much as Starland Vocal Band before him and Lauryn Hill after would prove. Whenit comes to predicting longevity, the Grammys have it!Jethro Tull Winning Best Hard Rock/Metal PerformanceVocal Or Instrumental In 1988 For Crest Of A Knave.: Just askMetallica. Who was more deserving of this Hard Rock / Metal Performance morethan those Heavy Metal Gods themselves, the Jethro Tulls? Ok, maybe itshould've gone to the Moody Blues, but they didn't have a record that year didthey? I would've just assumed U2 would win by default, or maybe BruceSpringsteen. You say these aren't heavy metal bands? Yes, I agree. But whatdoes that have to do with anything?