music must be at a new low if winehouse has won 5 awards
Hancock, West, Winehouse Win Big
February 10, 2008
Music's Biggest Night celebrates its 50th anniversary in golden style
The GRAMMY Awards rang in its 50th show with a wide-ranging, celebratory telecast that honored the old, the new and everything in between as The Recording Academy paid tribute to its legacy as well as the exciting list of this year's honorees and performers.
Amy Winehouse won five awards, including Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year for her now-prophetic "Rehab," while Kanye West took home four, including the Best Rap Album award for Graduation, though Album Of The Year eluded him for the third time. That award went to longtime jazz great Herbie Hancock for his tribute to Joni Mitchell, River: The Joni Letters. Other top winners included gospel star Karen Clark-Sheard and Bruce Springsteen with three trophies each.
But the talk of the night was a live satellite performance by Winehouse, whose troubled personal life has been the talk of the music industry. She received a visa to enter the United States too late to perform on the show in Los Angeles, and was beamed in live from a London studio.
Winehouse rose above the stories and speculation with a confident performance. Dressed in a flowing black party dress (accented by tattoos), Winehouse partied seriously on "You Know I'm No Good," and followed it up with the megahit "Rehab." Her presence and panache blew the roof off with her prancing moves, knowing winks and emotive vocals. Perhaps never before has a singer's current circumstances so mirrored her music — one more element in Winehouse's success.
The moment was a highlight in a show packed with surprise performances from the start.
Following a prerecorded video clip of the great Frank Sinatra from the 5th GRAMMY Awards helping introduce the TV audience to the GRAMMY (a needed but now quaint moment as GRAMMY celebrates its 50th show), mighty soul songstress Alicia Keys opened the telecast with a triumphant shout. Singing Ol' Blue Eyes' classic "Learnin' The Blues," Keys united past with present, singing a duet with Sinatra as the master of vocalese joined her via a large screen presentation (thanks to modern digital technology). Keys ushered in the next 50 years with style and soul.
Joined by an incredible backing band that included Kodo-inspired drummers and chain-wearing dancers, Carrie Underwood delivered her GRAMMY-winning hit, "Before He Cheats," with the ferocious delivery that has become her trademark.
Resurrecting a blast from the 1980's past, Prince protégés the Time hit the stage running with hip-hop diva Rihanna joining in the fun. First up, the Time — featuring Morris Day, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis — blasted into their mighty funk workout "Jungle Love," the trio's first performance in 15 years. Rihanna then entered stage left singing her smash hit "Umbrella," taking command like a conquering diva. Walking the catwalk with a bevy of umbrella toting dancers, Rihanna kept the fire hot with "Don't Stop The Music." The Time brought up the rear, reprising "Jungle Love" like they'd never left.
Surreal, dynamic, impressionistic and at times frightening, Cirque du Soleil's incredible interpretative performance of the Beatles' classic "A Day In The Life" was an early highlight of the evening. Introduced by Tom Hanks (who proclaimed, "we honor the power of the Beatles"), the dance troupe performed over the Liverpudlian's original track with a performance that was nothing short of sensational. Equally stunning was "Let It Be," performed by youngsters Timothy T. Mitchum and Carol Woods.
Hip-hop graduate Kanye West and German techno twins Daft Punk offered an ominous slab of anthemic techno-hop with a rousing rendition of "Stronger." As flames blasted skyward like surreal geysers, West and the Punks clamored and paraded. While West retired backstage for a costume change, Daft Punk scratched video screens — all the while providing a lesson in modern DJ production values. West then returned with a tear-jerking version of "Hey Mama," delivered over soaring strings. Singing with emotion and an obvious heavy heart, West left the stage with nary a dry eye in the house.
John Legend is known for his sheer musical talent and, together with the Black Eyed Peas' Fergie, he gave extra dimension to Fergie's epic ballad, "Finally." Fergie proved her talent is just as mighty, singing with power and purpose.
After an introduction by a resplendent Cher, Beyoncé then took control. Name-checking a litany of masterful female singers (Sarah Vaughan, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan…), Beyoncé set the house on fire by introducing none other than Tina Turner. Looking like a million bucks, Turner launched into a masterful "What's Love Got To Do With It." Soon, Beyoncé returned and the pair teamed for the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic, "Proud Mary." From a slow grind groove to a double-barrel steamroller tempo (recalling Turner's days with the legendary Ike And Tina Turner Revue), Beyoncé and Turner commanded the audience with fine figures, fantastic singing, and stunning moves to match.
Loud, proud and powerful, the Foo Fighters joined with the GRAMMY Philharmonic Orchestra — led by Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones — for "The Pretender," played on an outdoor stage. Dave Grohl rallied the troops, who quickly responded to his shouts (and drummer Taylor Hawkins' double-time fury) with hands in the air.
Super country guitar slinger Brad Paisley launched into "Ticks" like a good ol' boy possessed. Armed with patented white hat and custom Fender Telecaster, Paisley made the case for country in presenting his modern hybrid of Hank Williams and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Introduced by Ludacris, who described the upcoming performance as "holy rolling [and] soul sanctifying," a special gospel performance included a mighty cavalcade of spiritual power. Aretha Franklin and BeBe Winans got it started with "Never Gonna Break My Faith," bathed in a light beaming from a glowing cross overhead. The million trombone band Madison Bumble Bees added their brass shouts to the proceedings on "You Brought The Sunshine," followed by the Clark Sisters and Trin-I-Tee 5:7, whose mighty vocal harmonies recalled the glory days of Earth, Wind & Fire. Just when you thought the Holy Ghost had left the building, Israel & New Breed summoned the spiritual forces with the soaring "With Long Life." To bring it all back home, Franklin and the whole gospel cast united to sing "Old Landmark."
Following an archival film clip of big-band singer Keely Smith and the late great Louis Prima, Smith joined with Kid Rock and GRAMMY-nominated Dave Koz to perform "That Old Black Magic." A true meeting of talents, genres and eras, the collaboration proved to have eternal swing currency in these gifted hands.
Following Stevie Wonder's President's Merit Award to Industry Icons presentation to Motown founder Berry Gordy, Alicia Keys performed her impassioned song "No One." Beginning with just a vocal and piano accompaniment, her band would join in freeing Keys to roam the stage, lifting the audience higher as the song's intensity increased. Playing a second keyboard near the stage's edge, Keys continued to raise the temperature before giving way to John Mayer and his frenetic, melodic guitar solo.
After a brief film tribute to jazz innovator Max Roach and classical icon Itzhak Perlman, pianists Lang Lang and Herbie Hancock joined forces for George Gershwin's masterpiece "Rhapsody In Blue." Accompanied by a full orchestra, the pianists took turns stating the song's melodic themes with beguiling flair. The song's majestic middle section included brief solos from various orchestra members before the focus returned to Lang Lang and Hancock, whose declarative and gentle notes set the stage — literally and figuratively — for the fireworks that concluded the performance.
After an In Memoriam segment that paid honor to musicians lost in 2007, Andrea Bocelli appeared on stage. "I'm here to honor the memory of Luciano Pavarotti," he said, and then with Josh Groban performed Bocelli's signature "The Prayer" for "all those who we have lost this year." As Bocelli sang with warmth, Groban followed with steely energy and immense power, lifting the dramatic song to dramatic heights.
To cap the raucous evening, John Fogerty, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard took the stage to form the latest rock supergroup. Beginning with a new Fogerty composition, "Comin' Down The Road," the band stormed the stage like Creedence Clearwater Revival circa 1972. The Icons of Rock performance continued with the spotlight on Lewis, singing his classic boogie-woogie blowout, "Great Balls Of Fire." Then all eyes were on a dazzling Little Richard, who cut into the instantly recognizable falsetto vocals of "Good Golly Miss Molly." The crowd exploded for Richard, who returned the love with high-pitched vocal wails full of glee. Joined again by Fogerty — who belted out an appropriately classic solo — the segment certainly set a new standard for future GRAMMY performances.
It was also an energetic send-off for a remarkable show that somehow fit the drama, tradition and music of 50 years worth of GRAMMYs into a single night. And an entertaining night it was.
probably i've just too high expectations after the michael jackson era. maybe it has all come down to a normal level but for me this is not quality music. i've been grown up with a higher standard which has been in the 80's.the quality of music hasnt gone down
the quality of music that they play on radios and TVs has
I wonder how many of today's artists will be even remembered in 10 years.I wonder how many of today's artists will be invited to sing live at the 2058 Grammy Awards.
Little Richard and Jerry did their best stuff in the fifties, actually. And maybe the reason we get the same old salutes is because there is nobody else left. Oh wait, maybe Fats Domino, I think he survived Katrina.A bit bored with the same oldsters and the same songs from the past. There was more to the music of the past but we got the same old salutes. (No offense to Tina, JLL or Little Richard et al but they weren't the only ones making music in the 60's and 70's.)
I look forward to a live performance of TOXIC by a 68 year old Britney in a silver body suit.I wonder how many of today's artists will be even remembered in 10 years.
the same year Brittney will be the support act for the farewell tour of Rolling StonesI look forward to a live performance of TOXIC by a 68 year old Britney in a silver body suit.