Freddie Matthews writes from London: With the first ever show held on May 4th 1959, last Sunday saw the 55th coming together of the USA’s version of The BRIT Awards, the Grammys. It’s all about honouring accomplishments within the previous year, in the music industry, as the multi-millionaire star studded event was held at the Staples Center, in L.A.
So what do you get by winning the Grammy? For starters, there’s a gold plated trophy depicting a gilded gramophone, which is not bad as a gift. Naturally, there’s also the industry accolade, increased publicity and sales and an introduction to a whole new audience on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
The problem with the Grammys is that the people who choose the winners are not the same people who bought and enjoyed the music. Instead there’s some mighty long-winded kerfuffle to do with the so-called National Academy of Recording Arts and Scientists members. It’s a hugely convoluted process including many levels of judging, held over many months behind closed doors and members are urged to vote in a manner that preserves the integrity of the academy. Seriously? All too often the issue with the Grammys has been that it’s industry based, and many of the winners’ speeches over the years have reflected this.
Like Robbie Williams’ past successes as the leading winner of BRITs with a total of 17, the highest Grammy Awards winners include: the orchestral and operatic conductor Sir Georg Solti with 31, Alison Krauss the leading female Grammy winner with 27 awards and Dublin’s U2 with a total of 22 Grammys.
OK, so who were the winners at last Sunday’s Grammys? The British contingent did pretty well, for starters, as Adele won the first award of the night for Best Pop Solo Performance for her live version of Set Fire To The Rain. Mumford & Sons won twice, including one of the key awards for Album of The Year with Babel, which during 2012 had the highest amount of first week sales of any album both in the UK and US. And added to their Grammy success, Mumford & Sons also have 3 nominations at next week’s Brit Awards.
It was no surprise when the 10 million selling plus Gotye took Record Of The Year for Somebody That I Used To Know featuring Kimbra.
The biggest winner of the night was Dan Auerbach, of The Black Keys, with a total of 4 Grammys, of which one was even for Producer Of The Year.
Fun won Best New Artist, as well as Song Of The Year for We Are Young featuring Janelle Monae.
In total there were 81 awards and I hadn’t even heard of many of the winners – as this ceremony isn’t just for popular music but includes the classics also.
Some of the more interesting winners included:
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album went to Sir Paul McCartney for Kisses On The Bottom, enough said about that title I think.
Best Rock Album – El Camino by The Black Keys. If only they were as successful in the UK.
Best Rap Album – Take Care by Drake: very well deserved, in my opinion.
Best Country Album – Uncaged by Zac Brown Band. I’d like to comment but I know absolutely nothing about them.
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album – Dear Diz (Every Day I Think Of You) by Arturo Sandoval. Time to forget about any comments from me from now on I think!
Best Gospel Song – Gravity by Lecrae.
The list goes on and on and on and on …. and, yes you’ve guessed it, on and on and on. If ever there was a case of not knowing that much about the US record industry scene, the annual Grammy Awards ceremony is there to give us a helpful yet annoying reminder and kick up the arse.
And finally, the female stars may have been flashing as much skin and boob as can be gotten away with but the biggest ‘boob’ of the show went to Chris Brown. He may have escaped a jail sentence back in 2009, for beating up his then girlfriend Rihanna, but that sentence is being carried out by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Scientists members itself, as the only gold he got hold of was his credit card to pay for the drinks.
Despite all the talk, last Sunday’s Grammys’ show still attracted a staggering 26.6 million viewers.