Martin won back-to-back Grammys for Best Comedy Album in the late '70s with Let's Get Small (1977) and A Wild And Crazy Guy (1978).Colbie Caillat and her father, record producer Ken Caillat, may soon have matching Album of the Year awards. This is due to the Recording Academy's overly generous policy in which artists who are featured on an album receive nominations and awards for Album of the Year, just as if they are the principal artist. Colbie and Taylor Swift teamed for a duet, "Breathe," on Swift's Fearless album. If Fearless is voted Album of the Year, which is likely, Colbie gets a Grammy too. Her father won for co-producing Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, voted Album of the Year for 1977. Ravi Shankar won as a participant on George Harrison & Friends' The Concert For Bangla Desh, which was the 1972 champ. His daughter, Norah Jones, has won the award twice, first for her 2002 debut, Come Away With Me, and again as a featured artist on Herbie Hancock's River: The Joni Letters, the 2007 winner.
(Incidentally, the same rule that made Colbie Caillat an Album of the Year finalist also made nominees of three featured artists on Lady Gaga's album. Flo Rida, Colby O'Donis and Space Cowboy will all win for Album of the Year in the unlikely event that The Fame takes the honor.)Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, Dave Matthews Band and Taylor Swift) are first-time nominees in that category. This is the first time this has happened in 10 years. All five nominees for Album of the Year for 1999 (Backstreet Boys, Dixie Chicks, Diana Krall, Santana and TLC) were first-timers in the category.
Those four "featured artists" who are coat-tailing to Album of the Year nominations this year are also first-time category finalists. (Let's hope the academy has the good sense to amend its rules starting next year and give featured artists a plaque and a pat on the back-and not an actual Grammy.)Daryl Hall & John Oates' 1976 smash "Sara Smile" (from Live At The Troubadour) is nominated for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. OK, you probably knew that. But I'll bet you didn't know that Hall & Oates were passed over for a nomination in this category 33 years ago, when the blue-eyed soul ballad was first a hit.
The finalists in this category for 1976 were Queen's classic "Bohemian Rhapsody," Elton John & Kiki Dee's irresistible "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," England Dan & John Ford Coley's heartfelt "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight," Chicago's pretty "If You Leave Me Now" and Starland Vocal Band's kitschy "Afternoon Delight," the one clearly undeserving nominee.Carrie Underwood and Randy Travis is nominated for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals. Travis' original 1988 version failed to get a nomination in the country male vocal category.
Occasionally, new recordings of classic hits go on to win Grammys (even if the new recordings are somewhat obscure). James Taylor won for a 2001 version of his 1972 hit "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight," taken from Michael Brecker's album Nearness Of You: The Ballad Book. Roy Orbison was the 1990 winner for a new version of his 1964 smash "Oh, Pretty Woman," from the all-star album, A Black And White Night Live. (Orbison's entry was boosted by the success that year of the Julia Roberts movie Pretty Woman.)Seal's "If You Don't Know Me By Now" is nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. This is the third time that a version of this R&B classic has been nominated for a Grammy. Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' 1972 original (featuring a lead vocal by the great Teddy Pendergrass) was nominated for Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group or Chorus. Simply Red's chart-topping 1989 cover version was nominated in the equivalent pop category.
The Kenny Gamble-Leon Huff song wasn't even nominated as Best Rhythm & Blues Song of 1972, but it won in that category for 1989, on the heels of the Simply Red hit.Tony Bennett, who has a perfect record in the category of Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album (10 nominations, 10 wins) is seeking to extend his winning streak with A Swingin' Christmas. He is squaring off against Harry Connick Jr. and Michael Buble, who are past winners in the category, and also Willie Nelson and Liza Minnelli.
Will Bennett keep his streak alive? A holiday album has never won in this category, which may be a bad sign for his chances. Then again, there has never been a holiday album in the category by Tony Bennett.The Ting Tings, from England, are the only act from outside the U.S. to receive a Best New Artist nomination this year. This is the worst showing for international acts in four years. Keane, also from England, was the only non-American act nominated as Best New Artist of 2005.
If you want to catch up on more basic information about the nominations, here's a link to a story I filed the night the nominations were announced.
Paul Grein, who writes the weekly Chart Watch blog every Wednesday, has been covering the Grammys since 1977. That was the year Stevie Wonder swept with his landmark Songs In The Key Of Life.
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