Wednesday, February 15, 2012

THE 54TH ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS


The shocking death of Whitney Houston the day before this year's Grammy Awards cast a somber shadow over the ceremony but host, LL Cool J addressed it from the start with a prayer for the singer. It has been seven years since there had been an actual host for the program and he had a difficult job but LL did great by returning the focus on to the music and keeping the show moving in the right direction.

The show kicked off with Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band performing a rousing rendition of their latest single, "We Take Care Of Our Own"  from his forthcoming album. Although this was supposed to be a celebration of the music of the previous year but some artists took this as an opportunity to present recent material such as Katy Perry, Paul McCartney and most notably, Nicki Minaj who seemed to be desperately courting controversy while performing her latest song, "Roman Holiday" with a bizarre set that involved demonic possession, a priest, and an exorcism.

There were many highlights which included a great duet by Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt that paid tribute to the late Etta James with her classic, "A Sunday Kind Of Love" before presenting the first award of the evening, Bruno Mars and his band in matching gold tuxes, channeling a James Brown vibe with his energetic tune, "Runaway Baby", The Foo Fighters rocking out to an appreciative crowd outside of the Staples Center, the terrific two minutes of a song by country act, The Civil Wars before they introduced Taylor Swift who actually impressed me with her song, "Mean" (and I'm not really much of a fan) and a very moving performance by Jennifer Hudson of "I Will Always Love You" to honor Ms Houston.

There were other musical tributes: one for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Beach Boys that featured Maroon 5 and Foster The People and the other for Glen Campbell which lined up country stars, The Band Perry and Blake Sheldon. None of these acts could even come close to the originals and that became more apparent when a reunited Beach Boys and Mr Campbell (who is on his final tour due to being recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's) took the stage.

Rihanna performed a high-energy version of "We Found Love" with an army of sexy dancers and Coldplay did a great version of "Paradise" but when the two acts came together to do an acoustic version of "Princess Of China", a song off of Coldplay's album, it was underwhelming to say the least.

Dance music was finally acknowledged on the program that featured David Guetta (with Chris Brown and Lil' Wayne), Deadmau5 and, for some unclear reason, The Foo Fighters who are not the first band to come to mind when it comes to this music.

The only low point was the performance of Chris Brown of his new single, "Turn Up The Music". I am not a fan at all, most especially after the whole Rihanna incident but I have to admit I like the song and he put on a good show although it was more about his dance moves than about actually singing. I am very surprised he won the Grammy for Best R&B Album. Now, I guess it's about the work and not the person's behavior yet you still have to wonder what message it's saying to people.


The most anticipated moment of the evening was from the ultimate big winner, Adele who won all six of the Grammys she was nominated for. Newly blond and looking quite glamorous, Adele sang "Rolling In The Deep" for the first time since undergoing vocal surgery last year. While she sounded slightly tentative at times and didn't push her voice too much but it was still a dazzling moment with her receiving a long, standing ovation.

Overall, it was a very emotional but highly entertaining evening filled with some amazing performances, although the awards themselves seem to become more of an afterthought every year.

This a partial list of  the 2011 Grammy Awards winners:

Album Of The Year:
"21"  — Adele

Record Of The Year:
"Rolling In The Deep" — Adele

Best New Artist:
Bon Iver

Song Of The Year:
"Rolling In The Deep" — Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth, songwriters (Adele)

Best Pop Solo Performance:
"Someone Like You" — Adele

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance:
"Body And Soul"  — Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse

Best Dance Recording:
"Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites" — Skrillex

Best Dance/Electronica Album:
"Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites"  — Skrillex

Best Rock Performance:
"Walk"  — Foo Fighters

Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance::
"White Limo"  — Foo Fighters

Best Rock Album:
"Wasting Light"  — Foo Fighters

Best Alternative Music Album:
"Bon Iver"  — Bon Iver

Best Traditional R&B Performance:
"Fool For You"  — Cee Lo Green & Melanie Fiona

Best R&B Album:
"F.A.M.E." — Chris Brown

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration:
"All Of The Lights"  — Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi & Fergie

Best Rap Performance:
"Otis"  — Jay-Z & Kanye West

Best Rap Album:
"My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy"  — Kanye West

Best Country Solo Performance:
"Mean"  — Taylor Swift

Best Country Song:
"Mean"  — Taylor Swift, songwriter (Taylor Swift)

Best Americana Album:
"Ramble At The Ryman"  — Levon Helm

Best Blues Album:
"Revelator"  — Tedeschi Trucks Band

Best Folk Album:
"Barton Hollow"  — The Civil Wars

Best Country Album:
"Own the Night"  — Lady Antebellum

For complete list of the winners, please go to:
Grammy.com

TAKE TWO: TEDDY PENDERGRASS

Back in the '70's, if you wanted to create a sexy mood, all you had to do was turn down the lights, pop open a bottle of wine and...