The 23rd Annual Grammy Awards, televised last nigh on CBC, turned into a personal triumph for an newcomer to the record industry, singer-songwriter Christopher Cross, who started off the evening winning the Grammy for Best New Artist. By the show's end, the 29-year-old Texan had pulled the biggest series of upsets in the Grammy's two decades of celebrating its own creative energies. Cross also carted off the other three major awards: Record, Album and Song of the Year. In doing so he defeated such heavy favorites as Barbara Streisand, Bette Midler, Frank Sinatra and Billy Joel. Cross also won an award for vocal arrangements.
The first time up, Cross simply thanded his colleagues -- producer Michael Omartrian, his band and his family. When he won the next major prize, he jokingly said, "It's nice to be back," but it's doubtful he could have guessed just how many times he would troop up to the stage of New York's Radio City Music Hall.
Cross' low-key acceptance speeches were in keeping with the mood of the evening. Other than his awards, there were few surprises, fewer witty ad libs and even less excitement. The biggest drawback to the program was host Paul Simon's monotone, and stiff, awkward delivery. Simon seemed scared to death, not an unusual situation for a performer who is notoriously shy, but made worse by his seeming apprehension that he was about to get the hook. His one bright moment came in an impromptu homage to the late John Lennon at the end of the show when he suggested how much the music world would miss Lennon's "music, his humor and his common sense."
Overall, the Grammys did little to inspire public confidence in the state of contemporary music. Once more, middle-of-the-road pop acts dominated the awards. George Benson walked off with three Grammy (best male rhythm and blues performance, best instrumental rhythm and blues and best jazz vocal), while Anne Murray, Streisand and Barry Gibb, and Billy Joel won pop and rock vocal awards. The only rock represented in the evening was Pat Benatar, who won the Rock Female Vocal award for her "Crimes of Passion" album.
The other major multi-award winner was violinist Itzhak Perlman, who won three in the classical field. John Williams won a pair for his score to "The Empire Strikes Back," while the late jazz pianist Bill Evans also won two awards. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences also gave special Trustee Awards to classical composer Aaron Copland and band leader Count Basie.
The highlights of the evening were few and far between. Country singer George Jones continued on the comeback trail by winning the Male Country Vocal Grammy for "He Stopped LovingHer Today." Jones provided a curiously affecting glimpse of the kind of traditional country music he's been doing forever while those around him have moved into pop country. Obviously not expecting to win, he was already backstage with his tie off when the award was announced. "I just don't know what to do," he grinned. "I'm just an old country boy. It's been the greatest year of my life."
The showcase performances interspersed in the televised proceedings were generally flat: Though no fault of his own, Kenny Loggins took almost a minute to get some sound out of his guitar and microphone. The only inspiring bits came from Broadway star Patti Lupone, who sang a breath-taking version of "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina" from the musical "Evita" (Best Cast Show Album) and from songwriters John Kander and Fren Ebb, who gave an energetic reading to their "New York, New York." However, not only did they take it a few more rounds than they were supposed to, they also had to contend with some off-rhythm claping from the audience -- members of the music community, too.
This 23rd Grammy Awards will be remembered most fondly by Cross, but it was not a high moment for either television or the music industry. GENERAL CATEGORIES Record of the Year: "Sailing," by Christopher Cross Album of the Year: "Christopher Cross" Song of the Year: "Sailing," by Christopher Cross Best New Artist: Christopher Cross POP FIELD Pop Vocal, Male: Kenny Loggins for "This Is It" Pop Vocal, Female: Bette Midler for "The Rose" Pop Vocal, Duo or Group: "Guilty" by Barbara Streisand and Barry Gibb ROCK FIELD Rock Vocal, Male: Billy Joel for the album "Glass Houses" Rock Vocal, Female: Pat Benatar for the album "Crimes of Passion" Rock Performance, Duo or Group: Bob Seger, "Against the Wind" Rock Instrumental: The Police, "Reggata de Blanc" Producer, Non-Classical: Phil Ramone (Billy Joel, Paul Simon) RHYTHM AND BLUES FIELD R & B Vocal, Female: Stephanie Mills for "Never Knew Love Like This Before" R & B Vocal, Male: George Benson for the album "Give Me the Night" R & B Vocal, Duo or Group: Manhattans for the single "Shining Star" R & B Instrumental: George Benson for the "Off Broadway" track from "Give Me the Night" R & B Song: Reggie Lucas and James Mtume for "Never Knew Love Like This Before" COUNTRY FIELD Country Vocal, Female: Anne Murray for the single "Could I Have This Dance" Country Vocal, Male: George Jones for the single "He Stopped Loving Her Today" Country Vocal, Duo or Group: Roy Orbison and Emmylou Harris for the single "That Lovin' You Feelin' Again" Country Instrumental: Gilley's Urban Cowboy Band for "Orange Blossom Special-Hoedown" track from the "Urban Cowboy" soundtrack Country Song: Willie Nelson for "On the Road Again" GOSPEL FIELD Gospel, Contemporary or Inspirational: "The Lord's Prayer," featuring Reba Rambo, B.J. Thomas and others Gospel, Traditional: Blackwood Brothers for the album "We Come to Worship" Soul Gospel, Contemporary: Shirley Caesar for the album "Rejoice" Soul Gospel, Traditional: James Cleveland and the Charles Fold Singers for the album "Lord, Let Me Be An Instrument" Inspirational Performance: Debby Boone for the album "With My Song I Will Praise Him" MISCELLANEOUS CATEGORIES Jazz Fusion: Manhattan Transfer for "Birdland" Ethnic or Traditional: Dr. Isaiah Ross and other for the album "Rare Blues" Latin: Cal Tiader for the album "La Onda Va Bien" Recording for Children: Producers Lucy Simon and David Levine for the album "In Harmone -- A Sesame Street Record" Comedy: Rodney Dangerfield for the album "No Respect" Spoken/Documentary: Pat Carroll for the album "Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein" COMPOSING FIELD WINNERS: Instrumental Composition: John Williams for "The Empire Strikes Back" Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special: John Williams "The Empire Strikes yback" Cast Show Album: "Evita" by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Weber JAZZ FIELD Jazz Vocal, Male: George Benson for "Moody's Mood" from "Give Me the Night" Jazz Vocal, Female: Ella Fitzgeald for the album "A Perfect Match, Ella and Basie" Jazz Instrumental, Soloist: Bill Evans for "I Will Say Goodby" Jazz Instrumental, Group: Bill Evans for "We Will Meet Again" Jazz Instrumental, Big Band: Count Basie and Orchestra for "On the Road" ARRANGING: Instrumental Arrangement: Quincy Jones and Jerry Hey for "Dinorah, Dinorah" by George Benson Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist: Michael Omartian for "Sailing" by Christopher Cross Arrangement for Voices: Janis Siegel for "Birdland" by Manhattan Transfer Album Package: Roy Kohora for "Against the Wind" by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band Album Notes: David McClintock for "Trilogy: Past, Present and Future" by Frank Sinatra Best Engineered Recording: "The Wall" by Pink Floyd CLASSICAL FIELD Classical Album: Berg's "Lulu," Pierre Boulez conducting Orchestre de l'Opera de Paris Choral Performance (Other than Opera): Mozart's "Requiem," Carlo Maria Giulini, conducting the Philharmonia Chorus & Orchestrao Chamber Music Performance: Music for Two Violins with Itzhak Periman and Pinchas Zukerman Instrumental Soloist or Soloists (with Orchestra): A tie: Itzhak Perlman (Seliii Ozawa conducting Boston Symphony orchestra); Itzhak Perlman and Mstislav Rostropovich (Bernard Haltink conducting Concertgebouw Orchestra). Instrumental Soloist or Soloists (Without Orchestra): "The Spanish Album," Itzhak Perlman Vocal Soloist: Prima Donna, Volume 5: Great Soprano Arias from Handel to Britten, with Leontyne Price Best Engineered Recording: "Lulu," Pierre Boulez conducting Orchestre de l'Opera de Paris; Karl-August Naegler, Engineer. Classical Producer of the Year: Robert Woods CAPTION:
Picture 1, Christopher Cross; Picture 2, Conway Twitty; George Jones, best male country vocalist; and Charley Pride.AP