page nominee listing confirmed my suspicions. It's hard to get too jacked up about this year's Grammys because when you go looking for content, there's not much there.
Take a look: You've got the packaged kiddie groups like the Backstreet Boys, 'N Sync, Christina Aguilera, and Britney Spears. And then there's the older crowd, like Santana and Cher, both in their fifties, and both listed in the Record of the Year category. And the Latin contingent of Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, Santana again, Christina again. Does anything stand out, or is music doomed?
Take, for example, the opening act: Will Smith. Dressed in a long black leather coat, he's looking his bad self and all, singing that Wild West song. And I'm thinking, maybe I should just sing some words over an old song and package it, like maybe rap over "Stairway to Heaven" and sell a couple million copies. His blatant sampling (the Clash in his latest, though for this number, Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder) doesn't make too much of a case for talent. And, you know, I might get slammed on this, but I don't care. What's another word for stealing? Sampling. Sure, he's probably got the rights and all, but it does cast an interesting light on the show opening a show dedicated to awarding originality in music with a song that's made up of other songs, but it's not a medley. Shaky ground indeed.
Then there's Rosie. Watching closely when she was delivering her monologue (I'd like to say "jokes," but can't bring myself to do it), I noticed she was nervous, wringing her hands like she was making sausage. For the most part, I can't see what she adds to the show, although, I must admit, she did make one pertinent remark that foreshadowed the evening to come, that she had "bumped into God backstage," and, addressing the crowd, added, "He said you're all welcome."
|David Duchovny and Jennifer Lopez
The presentations began with David Duchovny and Jennifer Lopez, and ladies and gentlemen, you owe it to yourselves to get a look at what young Lopez was wearing, a sarong-like swatch of blue and green fabric that barely covered anything. The only thing I couldn't see was the label. And I was looking. Hard.
The award for Best R&B Album went to TLC, three scantily clad lasses, who, as they approached the stage, were still making adjustments to their, er, well, tube skirts? And their first comment on receiving the award? "We bumped into God backstage too and he said don't forget to thank Me." Take that Rosie, and all you pagans! And that's basically the show. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.
That brings us to one of the first theories of award shows. Usually, when a nominee performs their hit song, and they're up for the award immediately following, they win. Hands down, no fooling, you can call it from the bathroom, you could call it from the 6 train. It's an award-show given. Case in point: The Dixie Chicks. The three are up there, singing their Dixie hearts out, and minutes later, Bang! They've got the Grammy for Best Country Album.
Then the Hispanic wave began. Jimmy Smits, paired with Christina Aguilera, announced that due to overwhelming demand, this September, CBS would be presenting the Latin Grammys. Funny, I thought that's what I was watching. Soon we're seeing Marc Anthony, then it's Reuben Blades announcing Ibrahim Ferrer, and then Andy Garcia introducing Ricky Martin.
So there's a big flurry of Latino influence, and suddenly it's award time for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Who's it going to be? Marc Anthony? Lou Bega? Andrea Bocelli? (Hint: Remember theory number one...) Blimey, no, it's Sting for "Brand New Day." He's looking a bit tired, but delivers a beautifully succinct speech, thanking his parents, who, being up in heaven, will thank God for him. And suddenly, this big momentum that was certainly orchestrated to promote the Latin Grammys, is deflated like a German Blimp in New Jersey.
The finale, cementing what I suspect might be some sort of Latin conspiracy (just a theory) had Santana winning for Album of the Year (which is, of course, different from Record of the Year. Really. Go to the Grammy site if you don't believe me). He yanked record exec Clive Davis up with him for the speech. "They don't know how long a career can last," Davis said of Santana, without adding that he's been playing the same lead for twenty something years.
On a minor note, the beer commercials (I'd say Heineken, but they don't pay me), had groups like Booker T. and the MG's, Queen, and Al Green as background music. And that really put this awards show in perspective, as in today's music sucks. Ah, but I'm being hasty. It's just what's being packaged and fed to us in the form of an awards show. Besides, "The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland" won a Grammy. Maybe there is hope for the future.
Grammy moment you wished you might have missed:
Eryka Badu clutching a cell phone and a child as she trods up to the stage with The Roots for Best Rap Album.
Grammy moments you should have seen:
Kid Rock injecting life into his performance.
A group of teenagers playing jazzy blues, taking turns soloing, then segueing into a classical piece for the violin solo. "This is what it's all about folks," said Michael Greene, the president of the recording academy.
Five people were awarded the Lifetime Achievement award: Harry Belafonte, Woody Guthrie, John Lee Hooker, Mitch Miller, and Willie Nelson. See if you can pick the one who's dead.
Phil Spector and Clive Davis received Trustee awards.
And Billy Joel introduced the Legend Award to Elton John. What was Elton's song of choice, you ask? "Philadelphia Freedom." With the Backstreet Boys hanging on the piano (and what I wouldn't have given to have them dressed like the Village People) and Elton cracking out like an aging diva, it looked like some horrible cabaret accident. Who picked that song? And either Elton's vision is going, or he has a blind barber, because his do/rug was a mess. Hmmm. I wonder which of the Backstreet Boys is his favorite.
Some of the Grammy 2000 Winners:
Album of the Year: "Supernatural," Santana.
New Artist: Christina Aguilera.
Rap Performance by Duo or Group: "You Got Me," The Roots and Erykah Baduh.
Record of the Year: "Smooth," Santana.
Song of the Year: "Smooth," Itaal Shur and Rob Thomas (Santana featuring Rob Thomas).
Female Country Vocal Performance: "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" Shania Twain.
Female R&B Vocal Performance: "It's Not Right But It's Okay," Whitney Houston.
Male Pop Vocal Performance: "Brand New Day," Sting.
Country Album: "Fly," Dixie Chicks.
R&B Album: "Fanmail," TLC.
Female Pop Vocal Performance: "I Will Remember You," Sarah McLachlan.
Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: "Maria Maria," Santana.
Pop Collaboration with Vocals: "Smooth," Santana featuring Rob Thomas.
Pop Instrumental Performance: "El Farol," Santana.
Dance Recording: "Believe," Cher.
Pop Album: "Brand New Day," Sting.
Traditional Pop Vocal Performance: "Bennett Sings Ellington - Hot and Cool," Tony Bennett.
Female Rock Vocal Performance: "Sweet Child o' Mine," Sheryl Crow.
Male Rock Vocal Performance: "American Woman," Lenny Kravitz.
Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: "Put Your Lights On," Santana featuring Everlast.
Hard Rock Performance: "Whiskey in the Jar," Metallica.
Metal Performance: "Iron Man," Black Sabbath.
Rock Instrumental Performance: "The Calling," Santana featuring Eric Clapton.
Rock Song: "Scar Tissue," Flea, John Frusciante, Anthony Kiedis and Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers).
Rock Album: "Supernatural," Santana.
Alternative Music Performance: "Mutations," Beck.
Male R&B Vocal Performance: "Staying Power," Barry White.
R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: "No Scrubs," TLC.
R&B Song: "No Scrubs," Kevin "Shekspere" Briggs, Kandi Burrus and Tameka Cottle, (TLC).
Traditional R&B Vocal Performance: "Staying Power," Barry White.
Rap Solo Performance: "My Name Is," Eminem.
Rap Album: "The Slim Shady LP," Eminem.
Male Country Vocal Performance: "Choices," George Jones.
Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: "Ready to Run," Dixie Chicks.
Country Collaboration with Vocals: "After the Gold Rush," Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton.
Country Instrumental Performance: "Bob's Breakdowns," Asleep at the Wheel featuring Tommy Allsup, Floyd Domino, Larry Franklin, Vince Gill and Steve Wariner.
Country Song: "Come On Over," Robert John "Mutt" Lange and Shania Twain (Shania Twain).
Traditional Blues Album: "Blues on the Bayou," B.B. King.
Contemporary Blues Album: "Take Your Shoes Off," Robert Cray Band.
Traditional Folk Album: "Press On," June Carter Cash.
Contemporary Folk Album: "Mule Variations," Tom Waits.
Reggae Album: "Calling Rastafari," Burning Spear.
Musical Album for Children: "The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland" Various Artists.
Spoken Word Album for Children: "Listen to the Storyteller," Wynton Marsalis, Graham Greene and Kate Winslet.
Spoken Word Album: "The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.," LeVar Burton.
Spoken Comedy Album: "Bigger and Blacker," Chris Rock.
Musical Show Album: "Annie Get Your Gun," Stephen Ferrera and John McDaniel, producers.
Soundtrack Album: "Tarzan," Phil Collins.
Instrumental Composition Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: "A Bug's Life" Randy Newman, composer.
Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: "Beautiful Stranger" (from "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me"), Madonna and William Orbit.
Short Form Music Video: "Freak on a Leash," Korn.
Long Form Music Video: "Bands of Gypsys - Live at Fillmore East," Jimi Hendrix.
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