The 23rd Grammy Awards

The 23rd Grammy Awards were held on February 25th at Radio City Hall, New York.

Christopher Cross was a big winner, getting Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist. All of this for his “Christopher Cross” album (released in 1979), and the song “Sailing”. He was the first artists to win all four of these awards in one Grammy show.

Click on the image to hear the song

Best Comedy Recording went to Rodney Dangerfield for his No Respect.

Best Instrumental Composition and Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special both went to John Williams for The Empire Strikes Back. Totally deserved.

Best Country Vocal Performance, Female went to Anne Murray for her song “Could I Have This Dance?”, again totally deserved.

Anne released her final album in 2007, and her last tour was in 2008. She is 73 now, and seems to be taking life easy.

“On the Road Again” won Best Country Song, a given really. Willie released an album last year called “My Way”…

He is still touring, even at the age of 85. If he was to come to Japan I would certainly go see him.

Moody’s Mood” snagged George Benson the award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Male. George has won ten awards in all in the Grammy Awards. George also won Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male for “Give Me The Night”, an excellent choice there. I must buy a George album on vinyl.

Best Album Package was for the Against the Wind performed by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band.

Click on the image to listen

Kenny Loggins won Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male for his song “This Is It”. Kenny is now 71, and released his last album back in 2009. He seems to be doing charity work these days.

Pat Benetar won Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female for her album “Crimes of Passion”. Here is perhaps her most well known song from the album…

Her last album was in 2003, but she is still touring.

Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male went to Billy Joel for his “Glass Houses” album. The album sold 7.1 million copies. His last album was in 2001, but he is still touring.

I wouldn’t say it was a stellar year for the Grammy Awards, but there were some decent winners there.

If you click here you will see the top albums for 1980 in which the only Grammy winner to appear was Billy Joel. Clicking here will show you a list of number one albums in New Zealand in 1980 (and beyond), and here for England just for comparison.

Here are the top singles for 1980, many classic tracks there, but my pick of the lot would have to be “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc.

That song would turn out to be their one and only major hit, and they disbanded in 1985. It was a huge hit though, with the single going platinum in the same year it was released.

Some other albums from 1980 included “Remain In Light” by Talking Heads, “End of the Century” by The Ramones, “Pretenders” by The Pretenders, “Black Sea” by XTC, “Songs the Lord Taught Us ” by The Cramps, and “Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables” by the Dead Kennedys.

The 1974 Academy Awards

The 1974 Academy Awards was a good year for handing out film awards, and there were plenty of stars accepting them or handing them out.

The Awards were held at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles on April 2nd, and were presided over by Burt Reynolds, Diana Ross, John Huston, and David Niven…quite a lineup.

The award ceremony is most remembered for a streaking incident: from Wikipedia:

The 46th Academy Awards ceremony is perhaps best remembered as the ceremony in which a streaker named Robert Opel ran across the stage naked while flashing a peace sign with his hand. In response, host David Niven jokingly quipped, “The only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings.” In 2001, this incident was voted as the most memorable Oscar moment in history, coming in first over Marlon Brando’s 1972 boycott of the 45th Academy Awards, in which he nominated Sacheen Littlefeather to explain why he would not be coming to collect his Oscar for The Godfather.

Read the Wikipedia page about Robert Opel, it is interesting and unfortunately his life came to a tragic end only five years later.

There were plenty of big names handing out various awards, but the most interesting pair was Linda Blair and Billy Dee Williams as the presenters of the Short Subjects Awards. Other big names included Alfred Hitchcock, Marcel Marceau, Yul Brynner, good ol’ Ernest Borgnine, The Bronson, and The Heston. See them all here.

There were plenty of performers too, including Henry Mancini, Liza Minnelli, and Jodie Foster. The one I would have most liked to have seen was Telly Savalas singing “You’re So Nice To Be Around” from Cinderella Liberty. I can’t find it on YouTube, but I did find this gem. I have seen that film, good one.

Here are a few of the notable awards given…

Best picture – The Sting
Lizzy fluffed her lines but recovered magnificently. Click here for a video clip.

Best actress – Glenda Jackson for “A Touch of Class” (presented by Susan Hayward and The Heston)
Glenda is mostly doing theatre work these days.

Best actor – Jack Lemmon for “Save The Tiger” Presented by Liza Minnelli and Gregory Peck)
Jack beat Marlon Brando for “Last Tango In Paris”, Jack Nicholson for “The Last Detail”, Al Pacino for “Serpico”, and Robert Redford for “The Sting”…some pretty stiff competition there, but I am sure Jack deserved it.

Actress in a supporting role – Tatum O’Neal (presented by The Bronson and Jill Ireland)
She was ten at the time and to this day remains the youngest winner of an Academy Award.

Costume design – Edith Head (presented by Peter Falk and Twiggy)
Edith was nominated 35 times for best costume design, and won eight times, with this film being her last award. She did costume design for Roman Holiday, and won for that too.

Honorary Academy Award – Groucho Marx
Jack Lemmon gave a good introductory speech. Groucho was 82 at the time.

It was a fine year for the Academy Awards. The Exorcist was the only other major film to win an award, and films that lost out included American Graffiti, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and The Day of the Dolphin. The biggest winner by far was The Sting with seven awards, with The Exorcist getting only two (Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, and Sound).

To see all of the awards, click here.

As far as I can ascertain Kirk Douglas was not at the awards.

And here is a funny photo taken outside the awards…

1958 Oscars and Grammys

This is a new segment to look at past Oscar and Grammy winners. I am starting with 1958 because it is the first year of the Grammys (the first Academy Award was in 1929), and it is the 60th anniversary of the Grammys this year. I will just note the major categories and those of special interest.

Held at the Pantages Theatre, Hollywood

The Kirkster, The Burtster, and choreographer Jack Cole in a dance rehearsal for a number named “It’s Great Not To Be Nominated”, which did not go down well with some nominees that year.

Best pictureThe Bridge on the River Kwai
Best foreign filmNights of Cabiria

Giulietta Masina in Nights of Cabiria

Best director – David Lean, The Bridge on the River Kwai
Supporting actress – Miyoshi Umeki for Sayonara (note Ricardo Montalbán’s role)
Actor in a Supporting Role – Russ Tamblyn (Dr. Lawrence Jacoby in Twin Peaks), Peyton Place

Russ Tamblyn, centre, in Oscar rehearsals.

From Wikipedia: The show’s producer, Jerry Wald, started cutting numbers from the show to make sure it ran on time. He cut too much material and the ceremony ended 20 minutes early, leaving Jerry Lewis to attempt to fill in the time. Eventually, NBC cut to a re-run of a sports show.

Held at the Beverly Hilton, Beverly Hills.

Frankie lucked out except for best album cover

Record of the YearNel Blu Dipinto di Blu (Volare), Domenico Modugno
Album of the YearThe Music From Peter Gunn, Henry Mancini

Best Album CoverOnly The Lonely, Frankie

Best Vocal Performance, FemaleElla Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Song Book, Ella Fitzgerald

Best Rhythm and Blues Performance – “Tequila”, The Champs

Best Comedy Performance“The Chipmunk Song”, David Seville

Best Performance, Documentary or Spoken WordThe Best of the Stan Freberg Shows, Stan Freburg

Ella Fitzerald won the most awards that year with three in all.
Note there is no rock ‘n’ roll at all in the awards. The first award for rock came in 1961 for Chubby Checker in the “Best Rock & Roll Recording” category.