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Chapman, McFerrin Lead Grammy Race : Baker, Sting, Michael, Winwood Also Capture Mutliple Nominations

January 13, 1989|DENNIS HUNT | Times Staff Writer

Tracy Chapman won the nominations derby Thursday in the first leg of the record industry's 31st annual Grammy Awards competition.

The folk-minded singer-songwriter's six nominations nosed out jazz singer Bobby McFerrin, who had five, and pop-jazz artist Anita Baker, who picked up four.

Chapman's self-titled debut album, which has sold more than 2 million copies, features the hit single "Fast Car." Her nominations are for best record, album, song, pop vocal, contemporary folk record and new artist.

If the 24-year-old Boston-based artist wins in all categories, it will be the biggest sweep in the history of the recording industry awards. Winners will be announced Feb. 22 during a nationally televised ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium.

McFerrin, who has won five jazz Grammys, was introduced to pop audiences through his hit single "Don't Worry, Be Happy." Besides being nominated for that record, he was also cited for best album ("Simple Pleasures"), pop vocal and song ("Don't Worry, Be Happy"). He was also nominated in the jazz vocal category for a work contained in Rob Wasserman's "Duets" album.

Three-time winner Anita Baker, cited for her hit single "Giving You the Best That I Got," is competing in four categories--best record and song as well as R & B song and R & B vocal.

For best record, Baker's single, Chapman's "Fast Car" and McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy" are up against Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" and Steve Winwood's "Roll With it."

Winwood's single is from his "Roll With it" album, which is also up for album of the year. His competitors are Chapman, McFerrin, Sting (". . . Nothing Like the Sun") and George Michael ("Faith").

Winwood, who became the first artist to be nominated for best record three years in a row, was also nominated this year for best pop vocal. Sting, a four-time winner, is also up for three awards, including pop vocal and song ("Be Still My Beating Heart").

For best song, a songwriters' award, Sting's challengers are Chapman, McFerrin, Baker and the team of Brenda Russell, Jeff Hall and Scott Cutler, who were nominated for "Piano in the Dark."

This year's big surprise was the failure of British pop sensation George Michael to nab more than two nominations. Michael had figured to be among the leaders in nominations because his "Faith" album received generally favorable reviews and sold more than 6 million copies. Besides the "Faith" album nomination, Michael's only other nod was for pop vocal.

In the best new artist category, Chapman is up against Rick Astley, Toni Childs, the group Take 6 and Vanessa Williams, the dethroned Miss America. Williams made the national pop charts last year with a single, "The Right Stuff."

The winners in the 76 pop and classical categories will be determined by a vote of the more than 7,000 members of the National Assn. of Recording Arts and Sciences. Records released in the United States between Oct. 1, 1987, and Sept. 30, 1988, were eligible.

Two new categories were added this year: rap and hard-rock/metal. The rap nominees included L.L. Cool J, D.J. Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, Salt-N-Pepa, J.J. Fad and Kool Moe Dee. In hard-rock/metal, the competitors are Metallica, AC-DC, Iggy Pop, Jethro Tull and Jane's Addiction.

Last year, male and female rock vocal nominees were lumped together because there were too few eligible female entries. Since this was banner year for female rockers, they have their own category again. The rock female finalists are Pat Benatar, Melissa Etheridge, Toni Childs, Sinead O'Connor and Tina Turner. The male rock nominees are Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, Robbie Robertson, Robert Palmer and Joe Cocker.

Vying with Anita Baker for the female R&B vocal award are Pebbles, Taylor Dayne, Karyn White and Vanessa Williams.

The male R & B contenders are Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder, Terence Trent D'Arby, Teddy Pendergrass and Al B. Sure!.

In country, the finalists in the best vocal category are Emmylou Harris, K.T. Oslin, K.D. Lang, Reba McEntire and Tanya Tucker. For the male award, the challengers are Dan Seals, Dwight Yoakam, Rodney Crowell, Randy Travis and Lyle Lovett.

There were few surprises in the classical field. Perennial nominees Vladimir Horowitz, Robert Shaw, Georg Solti and Leonard Bernstein--perhaps a sentimental favorite in his 70th year--filled the best album choices.

Trendy long shots from both early and new music appeared on some of the lists. Period specialists Roger Norrington and the London Classical Players received a best orchestral recording bid for their Beethoven's Ninth, and "Nixon in China" was an inevitable nominee for best opera recording.

Also on the best opera list was "A Quiet Place," by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Wadsworth. Those two new operas headed the best contemporary composition category, which was completed with William Bolcom's Symphony No. 4, Ned Rorem's String Symphony (a best-album pick in the Shaw performance), and "Amour" by Karlheinz Stockhausen.

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