It is sad that the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, an "Academy" purporting to give awards for musical excellence and quality as judged by musical peers, puts on such a patently commercial display year after year ("Singing the Grammy Blues," by Leonard Feather, March 3).
The press is, by and large, equally guilty of pure commercialism in its coverage of the Grammys. Thank God for the Leonard Feathers.
The producer should be given credit and take full responsibility for the worst Grammy show in its history.
It was unreal--like a nightmare. A lot of strange-looking people making stranger sounds for which they were honored and rewarded.
Poor Lenny (Bernstein), he seemed so out of place. But at least he was televised. Many of the awards had already been given out and simply announced.
Where were Joe, Ella, Johann (Bach), Sarah, Peggy, Ole Blue Eyes, Tony, Sammy or even Barry, to break up the monotony?
I agree wholeheartedly with Feather. Supposed to be for music, aren't they? I didn't hear anyone who could sing, play an instrument or write music. Screech, mumble and bang was all I heard.
Why does the motion picture academy manage to award trophies to fine low-budget movies from time to time ("Rocky," "Chariots of Fire") while NARAS consistently equates "best-selling" with "best"?
Some kind of widespread industry stroke is going on, and I for one think it's contemptible.
Am I glad that I was there the year the Grammy show came of age. I'm sure happy that I saw a show so alive, so exciting and so representative of what's going on in music today.
Sure it had its faults, but it would be hard to think of any other entertainment lasting three hours-plus that didn't have some valleys along with the peaks.
At least this one had those peaks. I loved the gospel medley, Cyndi Lauper, Huey Lewis' a-cappella opening and even the opera singer (not sure who she was).
Feather neglected to mention the most remarkable contradiction of all.
For the first time in its history, NARAS has a jazz musician, the pianist Mike Melvoin, as National President. In his unctuous, gushing speech, Melvoin plugged his daughter's membership in Prince's band and the fact that 140 million people worldwide were being shown "our gift of the heart" and "our feelings and love and concern" for all this supposedly great music.
What he neglected to mention was that 140 million people were being denied a rare opportunity to see and hear Joe Williams or Art Blakey or Pat Metheny or any of the other jazz artists who won (or were nominated) in this year's voting.
EEECkk!!!! John Denver, again? Come on guys, it's bad enough we have to watch this guy on the "Tonight Show" when Johnny's sick. But on the Grammys? Enough is enough!
I have the perfect solution; next year why don't I just host the Grammy Awards? Besides being witty, obnoxious, crass and conceited (the perfect ingredients for any big-time host), my voice doesn't even crack.