Veteran rhythm and blues queen Tina Turner, capping a remarkable personal and professional comeback at 43, won in three categories at last night's 27th Annual Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year for "What's Love Got to Do With It," a rhythmically compelling study of romantic insecurity.
That song also won Turner a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal and the Song of the Year award for writers Graham Lyle and Terry Britten. In addition, Turner won the Best Female Rock Vocal award for "Better Be Good to Me."
"I've been waiting for this opportunity for such a long time," Turner said as she accepted her first award, shaking her bird's-nest hairdo in disbelief. She was still clad in the shimmering red mini-gown that she had worn during a scintillating rendition of "What's Love Got to Do With It" that earned her a long standing ovation.
Ironically, Turner recalled that originally she didn't appreciate the song. "It wasn't my type of song," she said backstage. "I didn't like it. It wasn't written for me. It's a bit odd, but that's what hit records are about." Later, when the song won Record of the Year, Turner sheepishly amended her story, saying Britten had rewritten the song at her request.
Turner lost out on the chance to become the second artist in Grammy history to sweep the pop, rock and rhythm and blues categories in the vocal competition, on the strength of songs from her best-selling "Private Dancer," which lost Album of the Year honors to Lionel Richie's "Can't Slow Down." The only other artist to achieve such a sweep was Michael Jackson in 1984. Turner was nominated in the rhythm and blues category for her vocals on "Let's Stay Together" but lost to Chaka Khan's "I Feel for You."
Prince, the 26-year-old rocker from Minneapolis whose sexually explicit stage shows contrast with his fetish for offstage privacy, won three Grammys, including Best Original Motion Picture Score for the multiplatinum-selling soundtrack to "Purple Rain." The award was accepted by his band's guitarist, Wendy Melvoin, whose father is Michael Melvoin, president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the organization of performers and technicians that selects the Grammy winners.
"Purple Rain" also generated a Grammy for best rock performance by a duo with vocal (shared by Prince and his band, the Revolution). Prince also received a Grammy for writing the rhythm and blues song "I Feel for You." Otherwise, though his name was shouted vehemently by the Shrine Auditorium audience throughout the night, Prince was shut out of the major Grammy awards.
Cyndi Lauper, rock's own Betty Boop, was named Best New Artist. "What do you think, Ma?" Lauper said, holding her trophy proudly and standing under the protective muscle of professional wrestler Hulk Hogan in what may have been a parody of Prince's appearance with his hulking bodyguard on last month's American Music Awards. "I want to thank everybody for this award," Lauper squealed. "Soooo glad you could drop by."
Lauper, who manages another wrestler in her spare time, was the only artist nominated in all "Big Four" Grammy categories of Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist. The only artist to win in all four categories was Christopher Cross in 1980.
In other awards, blue-collar rocker Bruce Springsteen, who had never won a Grammy despite 10 years of near-mythic status on the American rock scene, won the Best Rock Male Vocal award for his sensuous "Dancing in the Dark," while Phil Collins was a surprise winner for Best Pop Male Vocal with "Against All Odds."
Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis repeated his 1984 coup, winning Grammys in both the jazz and classical fields. Other double winners included the Pointer Sisters, as pop performers for "Jump" and arrangers for "Automatic"; and soul gospel singer Shirley Caesar, as a soloist and in duet with Al Green. Producer David Foster, up for six awards, won best instrumental arrangement for Chicago's "Hard Habit to Break," and in an extremely rare tie, shared Producer of the Year honors with both Lionel Richie and James Anthony Carmichael.
There were two other ties this year: for Best Children's Recording (Shel Silverstein's "Where the Sidewalk Ends" and the Muppets' "Fraggle Rock") and Best Instrumental Composition, with Randy Newman winning his first Grammy for "The Natural" and John Williams his 15th for the "Olympic Fanfare and Theme."
Michael Jackson, who won eight Grammys last year, won one of the two he was nominated for this year, with "Making Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' " winning the Best Long-Form Video award. He did not show up for the ceremony. In a somewhat related award, Weird Al Yankovic won the comedy recording award for "Eat It," his parody of a Jackson song.
In other categories, most of which were announced before the telecast, Best Rock Instrumental Performance went to the group Yes; Best Short-Form Video went to David Bowie for his "David Bowie." Oscar winner Ben Kingsley won the Best Spoken Word Grammy for "The Words of Gandhi."
Stephen Sondheim's "Sunday in the Park With George" was named Best Cast Show Album. The soundtrack of the movie "Amadeus" was chosen Best Classical Album, and the soundtrack of the movie "Carmen" was named Best Opera Recording. Opera star Placido Domingo won an award for Best Latin Pop Performance for "Always in My Heart" ("Siempre en Mi Corazo'n").
In the country field, former Washingtonian Emmylou Harris won the female vocal award for "In My Dreams" and the group performance award went to the mother-daughter team the Judds for their record "Mama He's Crazy."
In an especially poignant moment, the Grammy for Best Country Song went to the late Steve Goodman for Willie Nelson's performance of his "City of New Orleans." "My dad would like it a lot," said Goodman's 9-year-old daughter, Sara, who accepted the award.
Another posthumous award went to Count Basie for his orchestra's "88 Basie Street."
A controversial award went to Scottish singer Sheena Easton's duet with Luis Miguel, "Me Gustas Tal Como Eres." The Mexican-American Performance category had been disclaimed by some Hispanic groups because none of those nominated were of Mexican ancestry.
Another poignant moment came when 93-year-old Elizabeth Cotton won the Grammy for Best Ethnic or Traditional Recording. Cotton, who lived for many years in Takoma Park and is best known for her song "Freight Train," said, "I wasn't looking for anything like this. This is beautiful. It's a nice present."
The Smithsonian's "Big Band Jazz" collection won two Grammys, for Best Historical Album (production by J.R. Taylor) and Best Album Notes (by Martin Williams and Gunther Schuller).
In the rhythm and blues field, Billy Ocean won the male vocal Grammy for his "Caribbean Queen" single, while James Ingram and Michael McDonald won Grammys for performance by a duo or group or group with vocal for their "Yah Mo B There." Herbie Hancock won for Best Instrumental Performance.
This year's telecast started off well, briskly paced and intercut with strong, sensible performances by Huey Lewis, Stevie Wonder, Lauper and Turner. But after that, producer Pierre Cossette reverted to the clutter of dancers and overcrowded medleys that ultimately detract from what's supposed to be honored -- the music and the musicians.
Grammy winners were determined by balloting among nearly 6,000 members of the record academy in seven chapters nationwide. Members include recording artists, songwriters, musicians, producers and technicians. To be eligible, nominated records had to be released for sale between Oct. 1, 1983, and Sept. 30, 1984.
The academy announced earlier this year five new entrants in its Hall of Fame -- classic records that were released before the Grammys were established in 1958. They included Count Basie's "April in Paris," Gene Autry's "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," Stan Kenton's "Artistry In Rhythm," Jimmie Rodgers' "Blue Yodel (T for Texas)" and Pablo Casals' recording of Bach's six suites for unaccompanied cello. Leonard Bernstein also received a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Other Grammy Awards:
Male country vocal: "That's the Way Love Goes," Merle Haggard.
Country instrumental performance: Ricky Skaggs, "Wheel Hoss."
Tropical Latin performance: Eddie Palmieri, "Palo Pa' Rumba."
Traditional blues recording: "Blues Explosion," various artists.
Reggae recording: Black Uhuru, "Anthem."
Male gospel vocalist: Michael Smith, "Michael W. Smith 2."
Female gospel female vocalist: Amy Grant, "Angels."
Gospel duo or group with vocal: Debby Boone and Phil Driscoll, "Keep the Flame Burning."
Soul gospel female vocalist: Shirley Caesar, "Sailin'."
Soul gospel male vocalist: Andrae Crouch, "Always Remember."
Soul gospel duo or group with vocal: Shirley Caesar and Al Green, "Sailin' on the Sea of Your Love."
Best inspirational performance: Donna Summer, "Forgive Me."
Arrangement of an instrumental: Quincy Jones and Jeromy Lubbock, "Grace (Gymnastics Theme)."
Album package: "She's So Unusual" (by Cyndi Lauper), Janet Perr, art director.
Recording engineering: "17" (by Chicago), Humberto Gatica, engineer.
Jazz fusion performance: Pat Metheny Group, "First Circle."
Jazz vocalist: Joe Williams, "Nothin' but the Blues."
Jazz instrumental soloist: Wynton Marsalis, "Hot House Flowers."
Jazz instrumental group: Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, "New York Scene."
Pop instrumental performance: Ray Parker Jr., "Ghostbusters."
Classical album: "Amadeus," Neville Mariner, conductor, Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Ambrosian Opera Chorus, Choristers of Westminster Abbey.
Classical orchestra recording: "Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5 in B-Flat, Op. 100," Leonard Slatkin conductor, St. Louis Symphony.
Choral performance (non-opera): "Brahms: A German Requiem," Margaret Hillis conductor, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus.
Classical performance -- instrumental soloist or soloists (with orchestra): "Wynton Marsalis-Edita Gruberova -- Handel, Purcell, Torelli, Fasch, Molter," Wynton Marsalis.
Classical performance -- instrumental soloist or soloists (without orchestra): "Bach: The Unaccompanied Cello Suites," Yo-Yo Ma.
Chamber music performance: "Beethoven: The Late String Quartets," Juilliard String Quartet.
Classical vocal soloist: "Ravel: Songs of Maurice Ravel," Jessye Norman, Jose Van Dam, Heather Harper.
New classical composition: "Antony and Cleopatra," Samuel Barber, composer.
Engineering (classical): "Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5 in B-Flat, Op. 100," Leonard Slatkin, conductor, St. Louis Symphony.
Classical producer of the year: Steven Epstein