This Sunday sees the annual Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. The following day will see music fans (and possibly snubbed nominees) moaning and whining about how old-fashioned and out-of-touch the awards are. This is the accepted cycle for many music awards shows, but none inspire wrath and bemusement quite as effectively as the Grammys – probably because, despite everything, winning one is still seen as the pinnacle of an artist’s career.
I remember I used to really root for any British acts nominated for a Grammy, especially in the 90s, when UK music had an even tougher time breaking the US than it does now. Nowadays I attach very little importance to any awards, but especially not the Grammys.
You just have to look at some of the nominations for this year’s awards to get some idea of how bizarrely wrong-headed the whole deal is.
Feist is up for Best New Artist – for her third solo album. And when you think of 2007′s Best Male Pop artist, who springs to mind? No offence to the Sir – but for me, it ain’t Paul McCartney. How about Album Of The Year?
Would you place offerings from Herbie Hancock and Vince Gill amongst the contenders? What do you mean you haven’t heard (of) them?! Even the unstoppable Kanye West’s eight nominations look a bit odd – Graduation is his weakest album to date, no?
To be fair the Alternative and Dance categories have some decent acts – Lily Allen, The Shins, White Stripes, Bjork, Justice, Chemical Brothers and LCD Soundsystem are as close as you’ll get to cutting edge at this year’s Grammys.
Anyway, to get you in the mood for Sunday’s 2008 wrongfest, let’s have a little run-through some of the most bewildering decisions made at the Grammys over the years. Click through for ten reasons to lower your expectations…
2007: Justin Timberlake is beaten to Best Pop Vocal Album by crashing AOR bore John Mayer. John Mayer proceeds to not bring any kind of sexy back.
2004: “Toxic” by Britney Spears – a great pop song but not exactly a club banger – takes the award for Best Dance Recording. Chemical Brothers and Basement Jaxx consider hiring Cathy Dennis for their next albums.
2001: Ancient jazz-twangers Steely Dan’s album Two Against Nature is deemed to be better than Eminem’s scary yet thrilling The Marshall Mathers LP. Jazz-fusion battles do not entrance the youth of Detroit as a result.
1993: As grunge “delights” mopey teenagers the world over, Nirvana and Pearl Jam face off for Best Rock Song with “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Jeremy” respectively. Turns out they just needed to do an acoustic cover of one of their own songs to win. Eric Clapton’s victory, with an Unplugged cut of “Layla”, leaves Gen X feeling even more sorry for itself.
1992: George Michael, Seal and Bryan Adams are locked into a three-way beigefest for Best Pop Vocal Performance, little reckoning that Michael Bolton’s “When A Man Loves A Woman” will dash all their hopes to hell. But it does.
1991: The creator of that horrible “Walking In Memphis” song, Mark Cohn, wins Best New Artist at the expense of – among others – Seal. Shut Up And Dance’s “Raving I’m Raving”, which samples the piano motif and applies it masterfully to hardcore rave, is released the following year. It receives nothing. NOTHING.
1990: Milli Vanilli take the Best New Artist award, beating Neneh Cherry, Soul II Soul, Tone-Loc and Indigo Girls. When they’re subsequently busted and stripped of their trophy for lip-syncing, the award is erased from the records with Stalinist ruthlessness. Did they chuck the trophy in the bin? Melt it down? Why not just give it to Neneh?
1989: The Grammys folk finally face up to the fact that this Hard Rock / Metal stuff isn’t going away, and create an award for it. Then, in its inaugural year, they overlook Metallica, Jane’s Addiction and Iggy Pop and give it to weirdy-beardy folkies Jethro Tull. Oopsy!
1981: Christopher Cross – of “Arthur’s Theme” fame – wins five awards including Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best New Artist and Record Of The Year. Nobody else has ever matched this combo at the Grammys. It could be said that by effectively disappearing for the next 27 years, Cross failed to live up to his early promise.
1976:The Best Pop Vocal Group nominees for this year include Queen for “Bohemian Rhapsody” – one of the most daring and innovative songs in the history of popular music, which will in subsequent years be voted best song ever in numerous polls. However, it is no match for Chicago’s marshmallow heartmelter “If You Leave Me Now”.
Do you think the Grammy Awards are relevant in 2008? Vote on our poll at Polls Boutique.