Monday, February 1, 2010

King of grudges.

For those of you who enjoyed the Grammy Awards this year, congratulations. I haven't watched the show since 1973. As Glen Macnow would say, "It's a sham of a fraud."
What happened in 1973? Roberta Flack's version of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" (written in 1957 and appeared on Flack's "First Take" album in 1969) won both Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the 15th annual awards show. What song did it beat out? A little something called "American Pie" by Don McLean. That's right. Since then, I haven't had time for an awards show that doesn't seem interested in awarding the best music. I can hold a grudge like Khomeini.
I still remember McLean singing "Vincent" at the awards show with the look of a guy who just got punched in the stomach. I'm sure he had a nice acceptance speech written.
I figured that if it was really deserving of a Best Song award, it would have won either in 1957 or 1969. Why was it winning now? Roberta Flack is a pretty good singer, but DAMN - over "American Pie"? It's the landmark song of its time. I figured that the media was pissed at Don McLean because he would never tell people what all the references meant, and they were giving him the shaft by not giving him the award.
Among others:
The Beatles' "Abbey Road" lost best album of 1970 to "Blood, Sweat and Tears." Simon and Garfunkel's "Bookends" and The Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour" lost best album to Glen Campbell's "By the Time I Get to Phoenix." I could go on.
Generally, the Grammy's are the politically correct version of music awards. Nothing I listened to in the 1960s and 70s won any awards, and most all of it wasn't even nominated. They should just call the show what it is: The Popular Music Awards. These are the same people who thought Jethro Tull was "Heavy Metal" and created a category called "Alternative Music", and didn't put any alternative music artists in it. If they're popular enough to be nominated for a Grammy, they aren't alternative.
I came of age during the so-called "progressive rock" era of the early 1970s, and my favorite musicians were bands like Gentle Giant, Focus, Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, King Crimson and Manfred Mann's Earth Band. They were acquired tastes, and the music was challenging to listen to, but to me, that made it so much better. Look up their Grammy Awards. Never mind.
It is harder to find music now that challenges the listener. Instead, we are given TV show pop. Contest winners that, in my opinion, are pre-determined in order to better sell CDs - by the same marketing machine that produces the TV shows. Music isn't about challenge anymore. Now, it's about marketing and who has the best face to put on the music. Ian Anderson's face couldn't sell 10 CDs now, and he'd probably be kicked off of American Idol because he plays the flute.
So, the music industry patted itself on the back once again on Sunday night, and the buzz was over Lady Gaga, Pink, Beyoncé and a lot of artists that look good in tights. Meanwhile, Kings of Leon won an award and Dan DeLuca of the Inquirer called them a "surprise winner." Why? Because maybe four brothers from Nashville wouldn't stand a chance on a TV talent show, with Caleb Followill's strange singing style.
It's different - and Grammy doesn't always like different.

1 comment:

Kcoz said...

I had the privilege of seeing Don McLean about ten years ago at a small festival in Southern Illinois...Great performance!

I hate all the "blow smoke up my ass" award shows out there every darn week....another reason I rarely watch TV.

WTF is up with CNN and their Hollywood tabloid segments they have on ten times a day now....not like the are other problems they should be covering.