|Bono performing with U2 at the Grammys|
February 21, 2001, Photo © 2001 Grammys
Is it ever about talent? Rarely. Is it ever about money? Always. Next question.
About this time of year, there's more dignity in being a truck-stop stripper or criminal defense lawyer than in being in the music industry. Welcome to the 43rd annual Grammy Awards. Let the gore begin!
The pre-show was an indication of just how ridiculous the actual awards would be. Tony Danza is my generation's Dick Clark because he hasn't aged since his "Who's the Boss" days. Hey, look at me, I'm from Brooklyn, I've got a black leather blazer, I'm a meat-head, ba-da-bing! Then we had Danza's coconspirator, Leah Rimini, telling Faith Hill and Tim McGraw "You are, like, the perfect couple!" Like, go home Leah. But my absolute favorite pre-show moment was when Lucy Pearl was being interviewed (more like harassed) by two dimwit model-types whose names I didn't bother to learn. Lucy Pearl is telling Dimwit One how she hopes Jill Scott wins an award, but Dimwit One is talking over her saying "You've got better braids than Christina [Aguilera]." Ah, yes.
The Grammys opened with a Madonna video montage and the Lady herself getting down to "Music." Buffer than ever, she removed her jacket to reveal a black tank top with the words "Material Girl" printed on it. Say what you will, Madonna kicks total booty, and her performance was one of the evening's best. Quick necessary flash to husband Guy Ritchie sitting in the audience. We care, really.
And so we come to our host, Jon Stewart, decked out in a horrible blue-gray suit circa 1992 from Sears. His jokes sucked, which is sad because "The Daily Show" is a laugh riot. But the man has balls to make multiple jokes about Puffy Combs' arrest and trial and go so far as to say the newest addition to Puff's fashion line are all-orange jumpsuits. Check yoself befo you wreck yoself.
Best Female Pop Vocal went to Macy Gray for "I Try." Okay, score one for the home team. We're happy with that.
N*Sync performed next, with Justin "Moncheechee" Timberlake sporting a new buzz cut because perms are, like, so totally out. N*Sync takes the award for worst dressed band of the night, though Elton John did in fact raid their dressing rooms once their song was over. For those of you that watched the entire performance, please tell me the significance of having an elderly couple sitting on a park bench onstage. Anybody? Didn't think so.
| ||Eminem accepting an award|
with Toni Braxton, February 21, 2001
Photo © 2001 Grammys
Best Pop Vocal Album went to Steely Dan for Two Against Nature, their first all-new album since 1979. Disappear for a few decades, come back with a decent album that outshines pop cheese, win the Grammy. That was hard. Steely Dan also picked up the awards for Album of the Year and Worst Attitude at an Awards Show. Really, could Walter Becker look more bored and unimpressed? Sit down, asshole, just because you beat out Britney Spears in this category doesn't make you cool.
It came as no surprise that Destiny's Child won for best R&B Duo or Group. "Say My Name" is rumored to be what George W. left on Al Gore's answering machine the morning after the presidency was made final. Destiny's Child looked genuinely grateful and astounded when they hit the podium. Walter Becker, take notes from these divas-to-be. Elsewhere, in the More Sexy Bitches department, D'Angelo's ''Voodoo'' won best R&B album and his song, ''Untitled (How Does It Feel)'' won best male R&B vocal performance.
The night's saddest, most embarrassing performance was, hands down, Paul Simon. He looked like someone dumped him out of his wheelchair and put a guitar in his hands. Simon waved his arms around, sputtered out the lyrics to "You're the One," and wore a happy look on his face like he was lost in the land of Oz. Please God, don't lead Paul Simon down the Liz Taylor/Frank Sinatra road.
Since Jennifer Lopez was not in attendance, Toni Braxton gladly took the reins for the Most Nude with Clothes On award. A drape hung in front of her not-so-private areas (front and back) and was held in place by a very large piece of Scotch tape wrapped around her hips. And everybody prayed for a gust of wind to blow open the door to the fun house.
Best Rap Album went to Mr. Controversy himself, Marshall Mathers, a.k.a. Slim Shady, a.k.a. Eminem, a.k.a. "Hate fags? Answer's yes!" Eminem was accompanied by his group D-12, just in case y'all wanted to start somethin'. Em thanked people for looking past the controversy and seeing the Marshall Mathers LP for what it was and wasn't.
The Band of Bands, U2, cleaned house with "Beautiful Day," performing the song with no fancy screens or pyrotechnics. U2 won for Best Rock Duo or Group in a category that included Foo Fighters, Bon Jovi, Creed and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. "Beautiful Day" also won for Song of the Year and Record of the Year (the difference?), and in their acceptance speech,
Bono mentioned that he didn't feel quite comfortable thanking God for the award because the song wasn't really very good. The Edge said the words "female orgasmatron." I forget the context. Like that really matters.
But my personal favorite performance was Jill Scott, Moby and Blue Man Group doing Moby's "Natural Blues." The performance encompassed the power and expanse of "music" however you define it and made music something you feel and partake in, not something you simply observe.
Best New Artist and Most Disheveled Appearance went to Shelby Lynne. It took her 13 years and six albums, but damnit, she's still the new kid on the block. The outfit was a shiny baby-blue two piece thing with a plummeted neckline that introduced the world to her tanned, glistening breast bone. Last year's winner, Christina Aguilera, jumped up and shouted, "Wet Seal, $29.95! You're not foolin' nobody, girl!"
|Christina Aguilera arriving at the|
Grammys, February 21, 2001
Photo © 2001 Grammys
News flash! Eryka Badu showed up sans giant head wrap and sans hair!
Let's get back to that Christina gal, shall we? Worst Hair of the Evening, hands down. Her braids looked like those hemp necklaces that hippies make and sell at Phish concerts. Nominated in the Latin Pop Contemporary category (along with Oscar de la Hoya), Christina also performed her song in Spanish while shaking her bon-bons under what appeared to be a giant doily.
In between the pop awards, we were informed of awards won earlier in the evening. Because rock and roll is not the moneymaker that pop is, all rock awards were given the back seat. Rage Against the Machine won Best Hard Rock performance for "Guerrilla Radio." Oh, if that ain't a giant kick in the pants of irony! Best Metal performance went to the Deftones for "Elite." Whee!
Now it's time for what we've all been waiting for. Elton John and Eminem teaming up on the latter's "Stan." But first, a public service announcement from the president of the Recording Academy, Michael Greene. Honestly, if you, the educated listener, really wanted to be insulted, you should have paid attention. Greene more or less stood up on stage for three minutes justifying Eminem's involvement in the Grammys. Mr. Greene, you stood up there like the Good Samaritan, backing up Eminem, when all you were really doing was covering your own ass to stay on good terms with civil rights groups and music fans who hate Eminem.
"Of late, the controversy over extreme lyrics has been a heat-seeking missle and it is important to remember that the Academy is not here to defend or vilify, commercialize or censor art," said Greene. Can you hear me laughing so hard I vomited in my lap?! Extreme lyrics "of late," as in, we never paid shit attention to rap until it started making us bazillions of dollars and now we have to justify rap in order to make more bazillions of dollars. But, if not to "defend or vilify, commercialize or censor art" what exactly is the Academy's reason for existing? "We are not here to recognize those recordings that are notable, noticeable and oft times, controversial," but I'll continue talking about why I'm a smart man and why the Academy is hip and open-minded.
"It takes tolerance to teach tolerance," said Greene. Now there's an ingenious phrase for a bumpersticker. While I wholeheartedly, 100-percent agree with that phrase, I wish the reason he felt compelled to say it wasn't because of one rapper's lyrics.
To the performance. Elton John showed up in one of the gayest outfits I've ever seen, a pink and yellow polka-dot suit. The contrast between him and Eminem was not only visually unsettling, but musically as well. It sucked. Elton John killed Dido's angelic chorus with his barking. Eminem rapped flawlessly, but every time Elton came in, it was like throwing a wrench in the gears. Big surprise. I would like to commend the profanity editor, however, for missing all of the 4-letter words in the performance and muting the word that came directly after. You're a total shit (mute).
In case you thought awards for quality music was all but lost, fear not. Best Dance number went to the Baha Men for "Who Let the Dogs Out?" Sweet dreams.
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Last Year's Awards Coverage:
- February 21, 2001 - Madonna, Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Randy Newman on Eminem
- February 2001 - Interview with Eminem
- February 19, 2001 - Teens on Eminem
- February 17, 2001 - Pat Boone on Eminem
- January 31, 2001 - Eminem's Violent Hate Lyrics Energize Diverse Opposition; GLAAD to Rally at Grammys
- January 3, 2001 - GLAAD, Eminem and the Grammy Nominations
- August 23, 2000 - Eminem's Wife Sues Him for $10 Million
- August 23, 2000 - Eminem Wins Two Awards at Source Hip-Hop Awards
- August 17, 2000 - Eminem Files for Divorce
- June 29, 2000 - Eminem Speaks Out
- April 17, 2000 - Eminem, Kid Rock, Stevie Wonder, and CeCe Winans Among the Winners at the 2000 Detroit Music Awards
- April 14, 2000 - Eminem and Dr. Dre Take Three Awards Each at the Annual Online Hip-Hop Awards in New York City
2001 Grammy Award Winners:
- Album of the Year: "Two Against Nature," Steely Dan.
- Latin Pop Album: "Shakira - MTV Unplugged," Shakira.
- Native American Music Album: "Gathering of Nations Pow Wow," Tom Bee and Douglas Spotted Eagle Producers.
- Country Album: "Breathe," Faith Hill.
- Jazz Vocal Album: "In the Moment - Live in Concert," Dianne Reeves.
- Record of the Year: "Beautiful Day," U2.
- Song of the Year: "Beautiful Day," U2.
- New Artist: Shelby Lynne.
- R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: "Say My Name," Destiny's Child.
- Rap Album: "The Marshall Mathers LP," Eminem
- Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: "Beautiful Day," U2.
- Female Pop Vocal Performance: "I Try," Macy Gray.
- Pop Vocal Album: "Two Against Nature," Steely Dan.
- Engineered Album, Non-Classical: "Two Against Nature," Steely Dan.
- Producer of the Year, Non-Classical: Dr. Dre, "B. ... Please II" (Eminem featuring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit & Nate Dogg).
- Remixer of the Year, Non-Classical: Hex Hector, "Feelin' So Good" (Jennifer Lopez).
- Musical Show Album: "Elton John And Tim Rice's Aida," original Broadway cast, lyricist Tim Rice, composer Elton John.
- Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or other Visual Media: "Almost Famous," various artists.
- Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or other Visual Media: "American Beauty," composer Thomas Newman.
- Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: "When She Loved Me," (Sarah McLachlan from "Toy Story 2"), songwriter Randy Newman.
- Short-Form Music Video: "Learn To Fly," Foo Fighters.
- Album Notes: "The Complete Columbia Recordings 1955-1961," (Miles Davis and John Coltrane).
- Historical Album: "The Complete Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings," (Louis Armstrong).
- Instrumental Composition: "Theme from Angela's Ashes," John Williams (John Williams).
- Instrumental Arrangement: "Spain for Sextet & Orchestra," Chick Corea.
- Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s): "Both Sides Now," Vince Mendoza (Joni Mitchell).
- Recording Package: "Music," (Madonna).
- Boxed Recording Package: "The Complete Columbia Recordings 1955-1961," (Miles Davis & John Coltrane).
- Female R&B Vocal Performance: "He Wasn't Man Enough," Toni Braxton.
- Male R&B Vocal Performance: "Untitled (How Does It Feel)," D'Angelo. R&B Song: "Say My Name," LaShawn Daniels, Fred Jerkins III, Rodney Jerkins, Beyonce Knowles, LeToya Luckett, LaTavia Roberson and Kelendria Rowland (Destiny's Child).
- R&B Album: "Voodoo," D'Angelo.
- Traditional R&B Vocal Album: "Ear-Resistible," The Temptations.
- Male Pop Vocal Performance: "She Walks This Earth (Soberana Rosa)," Sting.
- Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: "Cousin Dupree," Steely Dan.
- Pop Collaboration with Vocals: "Is You Is, Or Is You Ain't (My Baby)," B.B. King and Dr. John.
- Pop Instrumental Performance: "Caravan," The Brian Setzer Orchestra.
- Dance Recording: "Who Let the Dogs Out," Baha Men.
- Pop Instrumental Album: "Symphony No. 1," Joe Jackson.
- Traditional Pop Vocal Album: "Both Sides Now," Joni Mitchell.
- Female Rock Vocal Performance: "There Goes the Neighborhood," Sheryl Crow.
- Male Rock Vocal Performance: "Again," Lenny Kravitz.
- Hard Rock Performance: "Guerrilla Radio," Rage Against the Machine.
- Female Country Vocal Performance: "Breathe," Faith Hill.
- Male Country Vocal Performance: "Solitary Man," Johnny Cash.
- Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: "Cherokee Maiden," Asleep At The Wheel.
- Country Collaboration with Vocals: "Let's Make Love," Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.
- Country Instrumental Performance: "Leaving Cottondale," Alison Brown with Bela Fleck.
- Country Song: "I Hope You Dance," Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sillers (Lee Ann Womack).
- Bluegrass Album: "The Grass Is Blue," Dolly Parton.
- New Age Album: "Thinking of You," Kitaro.
- Contemporary Jazz Album: "Outbound," Bela Fleck and The Flecktones.
- Jazz Instrumental Solo: "(Go) Get It," Pat Metheny.
- Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group: "Contemporary Jazz," Branford Marsalis.
- Large Jazz Ensemble Album: "52nd Street Themes," Joe Lovano.
- Latin Jazz Album: "Live at the Village Vanguard," Chucho Valdes.
- Latin Rock/Alternative Album: "Uno," La Ley.
- Traditional Tropical Latin Album: "Alma Caribena," Gloria Estefan.
- Salsa Album: "Masterpiece/Obra Maestra," Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri.
- Merengue Album: "Olga Viva, Viva Olga," Olga Tanon.
- Mexican/Mexican-American Album: "Por una Mujer Bonita," Pepe Aguilar.
- Tejano Album: "Que Es Musica Tejana?" The Legends.
- Musical Album for Children: "Woody's Roundup Featuring Riders in the Sky," Riders in the Sky.
- Spoken Word Album for Children: "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," (J. K. Rowling) Jim Dale.
- Spoken Word Album: "The Measure of a Man,"Sidney Poitier.
- Spoken Comedy Album: "Braindroppings," George Carlin.
- Long-Form Music Video: "Gimme Some Truth - The Making of John Lennon's Imagine Album," John Lennon.
- Metal Performance: "Elite," Deftones.
- Rock Instrumental Performance: "The Call of Ktulu," Metallica with Michael Kamen conducting the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.
- Rock Song: "With Arms Wide Open," Scott Stapp and Mark Tremonti (Creed).
- Rock Album: "There Is Nothing Left to Lose," Foo Fighters.
- Alternative Music Album: "Kid A," Radiohead.
- Rap Solo Performance: "The Real Slim Shady," Eminem.
- Rap Performance by a Duo or Group: "Forgot About Dre," Dr. Dre featuring Eminem.
- Rock Gospel Album: "Double Take," Petra.
- Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album: "If I Left the Zoo," Jars of Clay.
- Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album: "Soldier of the Cross," Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder.
- Traditional Soul Gospel Album: "You Can Make It," Shirley Caesar.
- Contemporary Soul Gospel Album: "Thankful," Mary Mary.
- Gospel Choir or Chorus Album: "Live - God Is Working," Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, Carol Cymbala, choir director.
- Traditional Blues Album: "Riding with the King," B.B. King and Eric Clapton.
- Contemporary Blues Album: "Shoutin' in Key," Taj Mahal and the Phantom Blues Band.
- Traditional Folk Album: "Public Domain - Songs From the Wild Land," Dave Alvin.
- Contemporary Folk Album: "Red Dirt Girl," Emmylou Harris.
- Reggae Album: "Art and Life," Beenie Man.
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