If pop and rock figures as diverse as Michael Jackson, Toto, Tina Turner and Christopher Cross dominated the Grammys in the early '80s, last night's awards show, televised by CBS, turned into a celebration of one very good idea that evolved into a very timely movement.
"We Are the World," the all-star anthem that has raised about $43 million for African famine relief, won four Grammys at the 28th annual extravaganza, including two of the fab four awards -- record of the year, an award to the artist and producer, and song of the year, a writer's award shared by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson.
Richie and Jackson accepted the award together, with Richie telling the star-studded crowd at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium that "the most important thing was, when we called, you responded, and we thank you for it."
Leaning into the microphone in order to be heard, Jackson, who was wearing a black military jacket studded with rhinestones, added, "When you leave here, remember the children."
Nominated in six categories, including song, record and album of the year, "We Are the World" also won for best pop performance by a duo or group (then again, how could it not?) and for best music video, short form. The only sour note in the year after the year of giving generously was the lack of any significant tribute to Band Aid (which begat "We Are the World"), Live Aid (which has raised $92 million for charity), Farm Aid (which brought pop philanthropy home) or Sun City (which invested it with political conscience).
ld,10 sk,1 sw,-1 The anthem of compassion, performed by 45 top stars, was an odds-on sentimental favorite since it validated the pop community's new image, one of giving rather than taking. Its awards elicited much peer pleasure. Certainly, the emotional aspects of "We Are the World" gave it advantages over other contenders, which could not hope to provoke either the media blitz or the level of participatory performance by the American public.
Backstage, Richie apologized to reporters for his silent coauthor, saying of Jackson, "He's so shy," but took great pride in their project. "It was an opportunity to write for the people."
"We came tonight to keep this message alive," he said, adding, "We didn't really write this song; it came through us. We didn't write it to win an award or anything -- we actually wrote it to save lives."
Marty Rogol, executive director of USA for Africa, said he hoped the song's Grammy victories would translate into more proceeds for charity. The single has so far sold 4 million copies and the album about 3 million.
"The more the record sells, the more we can deal with hunger and famine in Africa, and with hunger and homelessness in the United States," Rogol said. "So if this translates into more sales, that would be just great."
Dire Straits, which along with its singer-songwriter-guitarist Mark Knopfler earned the most Grammy nominations with eight, won only three awards, two of them minor: rock group vocal (for "Money for Nothing") and best-engineered nonclassical album. Knopfler shared the country instrumental award with guitarist Chet Atkins for "Cosmic Square Dance."
The 3 1/2-hour show, smoothly hosted by Kenny Rogers and featuring the usual all-star parade of performers and presenters, featured 14 of the 71 awards made by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS). The awards are the most prestigious in the American record industry.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra conductor Sir Georg Solti, who led all artists in all categories with a record 23 Grammys going into tonight's show, added yet another by capturing the best opera recording award for "Schoenberg: Moses und Aron," which he conducted.
Quincy Jones' two Grammys for "We Are the World" brought his total to 20, twing him for third on the all-time list with classical pianist Vladimir Horowitz.
As expected, Phil Collins expanded on last year's victory as best male pop vocalist by capturing that award again with his critically acclaimed, best-selling album, "No Jacket Required," which also earned him one of the big four Grammys, album of the year. He and Hugh Padgham shared the honors for producer of the year.
Collins' stiffest competition for album of the year probably came from Dire Straits' "Brothers in Arms" and Sting's risk-taking "The Dream of the Blue Turtles," but Collins' work, perhaps the most accessible of the three, was able to garner support from the conservative constituency that dominates NARAS. As usual, pop and crossover styles of country and rhythm and blues dominated both the awards and the television program.
Aretha Franklin won her 10th Grammy, for best female R&B performance, for "Freeway of Love," which also won best R&B song for writers Narada Michael Walden and Jeffrey Cohen. On the male side of the R&B vocals, Stevie Wonder won his 16th Grammy for "In Square Circle."
Newcomer Whitney Houston, whose exclusion from the best new artist category on a superficial technicality provoked a minor scandal, won the best pop female vocal award for "Saving All My Love for You." Smiling beatifically, the daughter of song stylist Cissy Houston accepted the award from her cousin Dionne Warwick, who has won six Grammys of her own.
Said an ebullient Houston, "Oh, my goodness. First I must thank God, who makes it all possible for me." Her debut had also been nominated for album of the year.
Sade, the smooth-singing Nigerian-born British pop star who produced two hit albums last year, ended up winning the best new artist award over Katrina and the Waves, Freddie Jackson, Julian Lennon and Norwegian poster pop stars A-ha.
The Commodores' Grammy for R&B performance by a vocal duo or group for "Night Shift," a tribute to Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson, was a particularly sweet victory: The veteran group had been virtually written off after the departure of Lionel Richie. Unfortunately, the Grammys still offer little recognition for black artists who lack crossover appeal.
Don Henley's angst-filled "The Boys of Summer" won for best male rock vocal performance, and Tina Turner, who won three Grammys a year ago, took best female rock vocal performance for "One of the Living," from the film "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome."
In country music, Ronnie Milsap won the male pop vocalist award for his smooth piece of nostalgia, "Lost in the Fifties Tonight." Rosanne Cash won best female vocal performance for "I Don't Know Why You Don't Want Me," while the mother-daughter duo the Judds won best country vocal performance by a duo or group. Since country music has three prime-time shows for its own awards, no one was likely to bemoan the minimal presence of country awards and performances on the Grammy show.
Last year's snubbing of jazz was redressed by an unwieldy all-star tribute but was otherwise a familiar triumph for Manhattan Transfer, whose "Vocalese" album drew 12 nominations in all; it won best arrangement for two or more voices, best jazz male vocal performance for guest soloists Jon Hendricks and Bobby McFerrin for the "Another Night in Tunisia" track and best jazz vocal performance by a duo or group. Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis won two more Grammys for best jazz group instrumental and best jazz instrumental soloist for "Black Codes From the Underground."
Jan Hammer's "Miami Vice" theme from the TV show won best pop instrumental performance, while "Beverly Hills Cop" won for best film sound track. Accordion master Frank Yankovic won the first-ever polka award for his "70 Years of Hits" album. The late composer-arranger Nelson Riddle won for best instrumental arrangement accompanying vocals for the "Lush Life" track from Linda Ronstadt's album of the same name, which also won the best album package Grammy.
*The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, with Robert Shaw conducting, captured four awards, the most by any classical act. There has been some controversy over the symphony's alleged jamming of the NARAS local, which some contended resulted in an unduly high number of nominations, a situation NARAS will have to address before next year's awards. Three of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's four awards were for its "Berlioz: Requiem." It won for best classical album; best classical vocal soloist performance, by John Aler; and best-engineered classical recording. Jack Renner was the engineer for the recording.
*At the same time, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber won his first classical Grammy for best contemporary composition. Webber, who previously won for best cast show albums for "Evita" in 1980 and "Cats" in 1983, won for his "Requiem."
Lifetime achievement awards were voted to clarinetist and band leader Benny Goodman, classical guitarist Andres Segovia and the Rolling Stones; the Stones have never won a Grammy. George and Ira Gershwin, who wrote the music and words, respectively, to some of America's most memorable Broadway musicals, were voted a trustees award. Ira Gershwin's widow Leonore accepted the award.
The Rolling Stones' award was a little suspect since it honored the long-lived British band's championing of American blues and R&B figures, something NARAS has been a little remiss in doing itself. When the Stones accepted the award from Eric Clapton (who was having as hard a time keeping a straight face as the band), they looked unrepentant, and Mick Jagger even managed a little off-color comment.
Recognition for genuine rock 'n' roll continues to be the Grammys' biggest failing. For instance, the two hottest rock acts of 1985, Madonna and Bruce Springsteen, were ignored outside of nominations in two minor categories, and only a few rock performers made it to the stage as presenters, much less as performers.
Whoopi Goldberg, nominated for an Oscar as best actress for "The Color Purple," won the comedy album award for the recording of her Broadway show, "Whoopi Goldberg," and ad-libbed a four-letter word in her acceptance speech, apologizing that "I forgot where I was." The only inspired levity in an otherwise tedious show came when Goldberg was joined by fellow comedian Billy Crystal, who was wearing a wig patterned after Goldberg's own hairdo. They gently mocked each other's accents and, albeit briefly, rescued the evening from its air of self-congratulation.
The first-ever stereo broadcast included appearances by Sting, Whitney Houston, A-ha, Ronnie Milsap with Huey Lewis and the News and the Five Satins, and an all-star jazz segment.
*The Grammys are voted on by 5,000 academy members -- performers, songwriters, engineers, arrangers and studio musicians with at least six recording credits. The entire academy votes on record, album, song and best new artist of the year. Voting in other categories is limited to members familiar with the genres: Classical musicians and producers vote for classical categories, jazz artists for jazz, and so on. The nominations were for recordings released from October 1984 through September 1985.
The other winners of the 28th annual Grammy awards:
gstlist Best rock instrumental -- Jeff Beck, "Escape" track.
Best R&B instrumental -- Ernie Watts, "Musician" album.
Best jazz fusion -- David Sanborn, "Straight to the Heart" album.
Best jazz female soloist -- Cleo Laine, "Cleo at Carnegie: The 10th Anniversary Concert" album.
Best jazz big-band instrumental -- John Barry and Bob Wilber, "The Cotton Club -- Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" album.
Best gospel female vocal soloist -- Amy Grant, "Unguarded" album.
Best gospel male vocal soloist -- Larnelle Harris, "How Excellent Is Thy Name" track.
Best soul gospel female vocalist -- Shirley Caesar, "Martin" single.
Best soul gospel male vocalist -- Marvin Winans, "Bring Back the Days of Yea and Nay" track.
Best soul gospel duo or group -- The Winans, "Tomorrow" album.
Best inspirational -- Jennifer Holliday, "Come Sunday" track.
Best tropical Latin performance -- (tie) Tito Puente and his Latin Ensemble, "Mambo Diablo" album; and Eddie Palmieri, "Solito" album.
Best Mexican-American performance -- Vikki Carr, "Simplemente Mujer" album.
Best music video, long form -- "Huey Lewis and the News: The Heart of Rock and Roll."
Best spoken word or nonmusical recording -- "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," original Broadway cast.
Best recording for children -- "Follow That Bird (The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)," Jim Henson's Muppets and the "Sesame Street" cast.
Best traditional blues recording -- "My Guitar Sings the Blues" track, B.B. King.
Best reggae recording -- "Cliff Hanger" album, Jimmy Cliff.
Best ethnic or traditional folk recording -- "My Toot Toot" single, Rockin' Sidney.
Best arrangement on an instrumental -- Dave Grusin and Lee Ritenour, "Early A.M. Attitude" track.
Best album notes -- "Sam Cooke Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963," album notes writer Peter Guralnick.
Best historical album -- "RCA-Met-100 Singers-100 Years," from Melba, Schmann-Heink, Caruso through Price, Verrett, Domingo and 94 others, producer John Pfeiffer.
Best cast show album -- "West Side Story," lyricist Stephen Sondheim, composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein.
Best album of original score for a motion picture or a television special -- "Beverly Hills Cop," songwriters Sharon Robinson, John Gilutin, Bunny Hull, Hawk, Howard Hewett, Micki Free, Keith Forsey, Harold Faltermeyer, Allee Willis, Dan Sembello, Marc Benno and Richard Theisen.
Best classical producer -- Robert E. Woods.
Best new classical artist -- Chicago Pro Musica.
Best chamber music performance -- "Brahms: Cello and Piano Sonatas in E Minor & F Major," Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma.
Best classical performance, instrumental soloist or soloists without orchestra -- "Ravel: Gaspard de la Nuit, Pavane Pour une Infante Defunte, Valses Nobles et Sentimentales," Vladimir Ashkenazy.
Best classical performance, instrumental soloist or soloists with orchestra -- "Elgar: Cello Concerto, Op. 85 -- Walton: Concerto for Cello & Orchestra," Yo-Yo Ma.
Best choral performance -- "Verdi: Requiem," conductor Herbert von Karajan and Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor -- Chor der Nationaloper Sofia -- Wiener Philharmoniker.
Best Latin pop -- "Es Facil Amar" album, Lani Hall.
Best gospel duo or group -- Larnelle Harris and Sandi Patti, "I've Just Seen Jesus" track.