48th Annual Grammy Awards


Are the Grammy Awards still relevant? The answer is both "yes" and "no." On the one hand, both winners and nominees receive significant boosts in sales during the weeks leading up to and immediately following the program. On the other hand, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) canít seem to look past the major labelsí marketing departments to find a better representation of the yearís best music. American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson picked up a pair of awards (Best Pop Vocal Performance and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance), and if the music business is being celebrated for hitching its wagon to a talent show, there are more pervasive problems facing the industry than teens swapping their favorite songs online.

In the weeks preceding the 48th Annual Grammy Awards Ceremony, NARAS issued a daily onslaught of press releases that were designed to develop interest in the 3 Ĺ-hour-long spectacle, and even CBS stooped to a hilarious low by running promotional spots that promised that not only would the event would be unpredictable, but also that the first few minutes were not to be missed. After last yearís show began with a well-intentioned train wreck and quickly became an interminable bore, itís hard to blame anyone from being nervous about the following morningís Nielsen scan. Nevertheless, there wasnít a single thing that was shocking about the fully scripted affair, and instead, the producers of the program opted to play it remarkably safe. Then again, with the Rolling Stones finding itself censored at the Superbowl for a song that has been a staple of classic rock radio for several decades, there really isnít much room left for rock ínĎ roll to maneuver, provoke, or titillate.

Perhaps, the biggest opportunity that NARAS had for surprising viewers was with its high-profile pairings of disparate artists, but by broadcasting its intentions well before the start of the program, it essentially neutered any thrills that the show might have produced. Even worse, while the concept was a good one, its execution was rather poor. Madonna and the animated outfit Gorillaz opened the show with a segment that dragged on for an eternity; an all-star cast managed to turn Sly Stoneís stellar canon into a lifeless slice of product placement that even the Mohawk-sporting legend himself couldnít save; Paul McCartney uncomfortably joined Linkin Park and Jay-Z for a perfunctory run through Yesterday; and Mary J. Blige did little to lift U2ís One.

The more straightforward performances also suffered considerably. U2 delivered an abbreviated and surprisingly tempered rendition of Vertigo that failed to salvage the song from being permanently relegated its use as advertising slogan, while Coldplay continued to be U2ís lesser twin. Paul McCartney tackled Fine Line in uninspired fashion before delving into a diluted, arena-friendly incarnation of Helter Skelter that made him look more like he was posing than exploring the shockwaves of his once mighty song. John Legend and Mariah Carey were just downright boring.

Fortunately, unlike last year, it wasnít all bad. Before concluding, Herbie Hancock and Christina Aguilera developed genuine rapport; Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder turned Higher Ground into a touching, a cappella tribute to Coretta Scott King; a showstopping tribute to New Orleans that featured Allen Toussaint, Elvis Costello, U2ís Edge, Dr. John, Irma Thomas, Yolanda Adams, and Bonnie Raitt was positively moving, though as Bruce Springsteen and Sam Moore joined the cast to pay tribute to Wilson Pickett, the performance inexplicably was cut short for commercial considerations; and Springsteen also lent some much needed substance to the early part of the show by conjuring his inner Bob Dylan to deliver a hauntingly mesmerizing rendition of Devils & Dust.

Once again, music in categories such as jazz, blues, classical, bluegrass, and anything else outside the purview of the mainstream virtually was ignored during the prime time program, and the Presidentís Merit, Trustees, and Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented as mere afterthoughts. Strangely, scant few of the 108 main prizes actually were given away during the broadcast, meaning it was surprising to learn after the fact that U2 had walked away with five Grammys for an album that was released in 2004. What follows is the complete list of winners:

Record of the Year: Boulevard of Broken Dreams (Green Day)

Album of the Year: How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (U2)

Song of the Year: Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own (U2)

Best New Artist: John Legend

Best Female Pop Vocal Performance: Since You Been Gone (Kelly Clarkson)

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance: From the Bottom of My Heart (Stevie Wonder)

Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: This Love (Maroon 5)

Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals: Feel Good Inc. (Gorillaz & De La Soul)

Best Pop Instrumental Performance: Caravan (Les Paul)

Best Pop Instrumental Album: At This Time (Burt Bacharach)

Best Pop Vocal Album: Breakaway (Kelly Clarkson)

Best Dance Recording: Galvanize (The Chemical Brothers, featuring Q-Tip)

Best Electronic/Dance Album: Push the Button (The Chemical Brothers)

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: The Art of Romance (Tony Bennett)

Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance: Devils & Dust (Bruce Springsteen)

Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own (U2)

Best Hard Rock Performance: B.Y.O.B. (System of a Down)

Best Metal Performance: Before I Forget (Slipknot)

Best Rock Instrumental Performance: 69 Freedom Special (Les Paul & Friends)

Best Rock Song: City of Blinding Lights (U2)

Best Rock Album: How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (U2)

Best Alternative Music Album: Get Behind Me Satan (The White Stripes)

Best Female R&B Vocal Performance: We Belong Together (Mariah Carey)

Best Male R&B Vocal Performance: Ordinary People (John Legend)

Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: So Amazing (Beyonce & Stevie Wonder)

Best Traditional R&B Performance: A House Is Not a Home (Aretha Franklin)

Best Urban/Alternative Performance: Welcome to Jamrock (Damian Marley)

Best R&B Song: We Belong Together (Mariah Carey)

Best R&B Album: Get Lifted (John Legend)

Best Contemporary R&B Album: The Emancipation of Mimi (Mariah Carey)

Best Rap Solo Performance: Gold Digger (Kanye West)

Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group: Don't Phunk with My Heart (The Black-Eyed Peas)

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: Numb/Encore (Jay-Z Featuring Linkin Park)

Best Rap Song: Diamonds from Sierra Leone (Kanye West)

Best Rap Album: Late Registration (Kanye West)

Best Female Country Vocal Performance: The Connection (Emmylou Harris)

Best Male Country Vocal Performance: You'll Think of Me (Keith Urban)

Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: Restless (Alison Krauss & Union Station)

Best Country Collaboration with Vocals: Like We Never Loved at All (Faith Hill & Tim McGraw)

Best Country Instrumental Performance: Unionhouse Branch (Alison Krauss & Union Station)

Best Country Song: Bless the Broken Road (Rascal Flatts)

Best Country Album: Lonely Runs Both Ways (Alison Krauss & Union Station)

Best Bluegrass Album: The Company We Keep (Del McCoury Band)

Best New Age Album: Silver Solstice (Paul Winter Consort)

Best Contemporary Jazz Album: The Way Up (Pat Metheny Group)

Best Jazz Vocal Album: Good Night and Good Luck (Dianne Reeves)

Best Jazz Instrumental Solo: Why Was I Born? - Sonny Rollins, soloist (The 9/11 Concert)

Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group: Beyond the Sound Barrier (Wayne Shorter Quartet)

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: Overtime (Dave Holland Big Band)

Best Latin Jazz Album: Listen Here! (Eddie Palmieri)

Best Gospel Performance: Pray (CeCe Winans)

Best Gospel Song: Be Blessed (Yolanda Adams)

Best Rock Gospel Album: Until My Heart Caves In (Audio Adrenaline)

Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album: Lifesong (Casting Crowns)

Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album: Rock of Ages...Hymns & Faith (Amy Grant)

Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album: Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs (Donnie McClurkin)

Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album: Purified (CeCe Winans)

Best Gospel Choir or Chorus Album: One Voice (Gladys Knight)

Best Latin Pop Album: Escucha (Laura Pausini)

Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album: Fijacion Oral Vol. 1 (Shakira)

Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album: Bebo De Cuba (Bebo Valdes)

Best Salsa/Merengue Album: Son Del Alma (Willy Chirino)

Best Mexican/Mexican-American Album: Mexico En La Piel (Luis Miguel)

Best Tejano Album: Chicanisimo (Little Joe Y La Familia)

Best Traditional Blues Album: 80 (B. B. King & Friends)

Best Contemporary Blues Album: Cost of Living (Delbert McClinton)

Best Traditional Folk Album: Fiddler's Green (Tim O'Brien)

Best Contemporary Folk Album: Fair & Square (John Prine)

Best Native American Music Album: Sacred Ground - A Tribute to Mother Earth (Various Artists)

Best Hawaiian Music Album: Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar, Volume 1 (Various Artists)

Best Reggae Album: Welcome to Jamrock (Damian Marley)

Best Traditional World Music Album: In the Heart of the Moon (Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate)

Best Contemporary World Music Album: Eletracustico (Gilberto Gil)

Best Polka Album: Shake, Rattle and Polka! (Jimmy Sturr and His Orchestra)

Best Musical Album for Children: Songs from the Neighborhood - The Music of Mister Rogers (Various Artists)

Best Spoken Word Album for Children: Marlo Thomas & Friends: Thanks & Giving All Year Long (Various Artists)

Best Spoken Word Album: Dreams from My Father (Barack Obama)

Best Comedy Album: Never Scared (Chris Rock)

Best Musical Show Album: Monty Python's Spamalot (Broadway Cast Recording)

Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion picture, Television or Other Visual Media: Ray (Ray Charles)

Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television, or Other Visual Media: Ray (Craig Armstrong)

Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television, or Other Visual Media: Believe (Josh Groban)

Best Instrumental Composition: Into the Light (Billy Childs Ensemble)

Best Instrumental Arrangement: The Incredits (Various Artists)

Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist: What Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life? (Chris Botti & Sting)

Best Recording Package: The Forgotten Arm (Aimee Mann & Gail Marowitz for Aimee Mann)

Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package: The Legend (Ian Cuttler for Johnny Cash)

Best Album Notes: The Complete Library of Congress Recordings by Alan Lomax (John Szwed for Jelly Roll Morton)

Best Historical Album: The Complete Library of Congress Recordings by Alan Lomax (Jeffrey Greenberg, Anna Lomax Wood, Adam Ayan, & Steve Rosenthal for Jelly Roll Morton)

Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical: Back Home (Alan Douglas & Mick Guzauski for Eric Clapton)

Producer of the Year: Steve Lillywhite albums by U2 and Jason Mraz

Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical: Superfly (Louie Vega EOL Mix) (Louie Vega, Remixer - Curtis Mayfield)

Best Surround Sound Album: Brothers in Arms (Chuck Ainlay, Bob Ludwig, & Mark Knopfler for Dire Straits)

Best Engineered Album, Classical: Mendelssohn: The Complete String Quartets (Da-Hong Seetoo for Emerson String Quartet)

Producer of the Year, Classical: Tim Handley

Best Classical Album: Bolcom: Songs of Innocence and of Experience (Leonard Slatkin conducting the University of Michigan School of Music Symphony Orchestra)

Best Orchestral Performance: Shostakovich, Sym. No. 13 (Mariss Jansons conducting Symphonieorchester Des Bayerischen Rundfunks)

Best Opera Recording: Vardi: Falstaff (Sir Colin Davis conducting the London Symphony Orchestra)

Best Choral Performance: Bolcom: Songs of Innocence and of Experience (Leonard Slatkin conducting the University of Michigan School of Music Symphony Orchestra)

Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra): Beethoven: Piano Cons. Nos. 2 & 3 (Claudio Abbado conducting Mahler Chamber Orchestra)

Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without Orchestra): Scriabin, Medtner, Stravinsky (Evgeny Kissin)

Best Chamber Music Performance: Mendelssohn: The Complete String Quartets (Emerson String Quartet)

Best Small Ensemble Performance (with or without Conductor): Boulez: Le Marteau Sans Maitre, Derive 1 & 2 (Pierre Boulez conducting Ensemble Intercontemporain)

Best Classical Vocal Performance: Bach: Cantatas (Rainer Kussmaul, Members of the RIAS Chamber Choir, Berlin Baroque Soloists)

Best Classical Contemporary Cmoposition: Bolcom: Songs of Innocence and of Experience (Leonard Slatkin)

Best Classical Crossover Album: 4 + Four (Turtle Island String Quartet & Ying Quartet)

Best Short Form Music Video: Los Control (Missy Elliott featuring Ciara & Fat Man Scoop)

Best Long Form Music Video: No Direction Home (Martin Scorsese Directing for Bob Dylan)


Of Further Interest...

47th Annual Grammy Awards: Commentary and Winners (2005)

49th Annual Grammy Awards: Commentary, Nominees, and Winners (2007)

51st Annual Grammy Awards: Commentary, Nominees, and Winners (2009)

52nd Annual Grammy Awards: Commentary, Nominees, and Winners (2010)

53rd Annual Grammy Awards: Commentary, Nominees, and Winners (2011)


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