The Total Irrelevance of the Grammy’s

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I don’t pretend to be someone who pays attention to every little buzz in the music business these days. I’m not up on every new artist, but I do know that for years now, the Grammy’s has been out of touch with the world of music and I’m wondering how it is that they keep going as is.

At least with the Academy Awards, they began to adjust to the changes in the business by nominating more indie films, etc. The Golden Globes and SAG Awards are still more interesting, but, whatever.

But, with the Grammy’s, it is like they have been playing perpetual catchup with the industry’s changes. For so long, they basically did not acknowledge rock music. Then, when they did, they essentially rewarded past performance with current awards.

Dylan not getting nominated for great records like Blood on the Tracks or Highway 61 Revisited but then winning just a few years ago is an example. The most glaring example was probably the first ever hard rock/metal award going to Jethro Tull, a progressive rock band LONG past its prime that didn’t even go to the awards assuming they would lose to the obvious favorite, Metallica.

Santana won a bunch of awards for Supernatural and was, in truth, deserving. But, it was as much of a payback for snubs when he released groundbreaking records like Abraxus as it was for his work on Supernatural.

Rap and hip hop, much like hard rock and metal, had virtually no outlet on the Grammy’s. Like the Golden Globe Awards that have stayed ahead of the curve, the American Music Awards have done a much better job of promoting music that is en vogue now.

And, nevermind country music, which essentially has to have its own awards show just to get noticed by anyone.

This year, we get a lifetime achievement award for Led Zeppelin, one of the most influential and important rock bands in the history of the genre. Well done. However, it would’ve been better if they hadn’t been snubbed for so many years and were not getting this award as a seeming make up.

The Grammy’s got it right a lot in the 70’s with albums like Carol King’s Tapestry and Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Waters wining album of the year. But, they lost their sense along the way giving album of the year to George Michael for Faith and trying to fix another snub of Steely Dan by awarding them the best album for Two Against Nature in 2001.

Then there are the comical winners of awards like Record of the Year to Kim Carnes for Betty Davis Eyes or the many winners of the tragic Best New Artist category including Paula Cole, Milli Vanilli, Men at Work, Debbie Boone and the Starland Vocal Band – Afternoon Delight, indeed.

I just wish they would refine the nominating process so fossils whose only interest in the awards is in classical and jazz music wouldn’t be allowed to cast ballots in categories where they end up voting for people whose names they recognize from when they were defending Paul Anka for his unique impact on the industry.

Just my $.02.

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