Let's hear it for the geezers|

Veterans dominated the nominations announced yesterday for the 1986 Grammy Awards, the nation's most prestigious music prizes. The 29th annual awards show will be telecast Feb. 24 on CBS.

Steve Winwood, a British singer and songwriter currently enjoying the greatest success of his career, received the most nominations with five. Two other rock veterans, Peter Gabriel and Paul Simon, each garnered four, as did jazz and classical trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, in balloting by nearly 6,000 members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Winwood, who began his career with Traffic and Blind Faith, and Gabriel, a cofounder of Genesis who left the group seven years ago to pursue a solo career, were both nominated in the record and album of the year categories for "Back in the High Life" and "So," respectively. Winwood was also nominated for best pop male vocal and for song of the year, "Higher Love" (this is a composer's category) as well as for producer of the year. Gabriel was nominated in the song of the year and rock male vocal performance categories for "Sledgehammer."

Winwood had never before been nominated for a Grammy despite a distinguished career that dates back to his 1965 debut at age 16 with the Spencer Davis Group. Gabriel was nominated for Grammys twice before but has never won. This year's nominations appear to reflect an attempt by the academy to counter criticism that a disproportionately small number of rock performers are considered for the awards.

Simon's four nominations came from his "Graceland" album, on which he used South African musicians and township rhythms. Simon, who has won 10 Grammys (four shared with his one-time partner Art Garfunkel), was nominated for album of the year, best pop male vocal performance, song of the year for the title track, and producer of the year. Simon, who was in Washington yesterday for a seminar at Howard University, expressed surprise that the song "Graceland" was nominated. "It's got to be the first time for a song that's not a hit," he said.

Sir Georg Solti, the British conductor who is the all-time Grammy leader with 53 nominations and 24 awards, received three more nominations, as did Janet Jackson, Robert Palmer and seven-time winner Barbra Streisand, while Dionne Warwick and Friends (Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder) got two nominations for the collaborative single "That's What Friends Are For."

For the third time in four years, Marsalis received a pair of nominations in both jazz and classical categories. Performers nominated for three awards outside the pop field were Solti, gospel singer Deniece Williams, musician-composer Chick Corea, conductor Robert Shaw and the classical-music production team of Marc Aubort and Joanna Nickrenz.

The odds-on favorite for best new artist is Bruce Hornsby and the Range. The other nominees in the category are Glass Tiger, Nu Shooz, Simply Red and Timbuk 3.

The voting members of the academy had 210 eligible albums and 211 singles to consider. Balloting was for nominations in 68 categories, two fewer than last year. Because the voting is for records released between Oct. 1, 1985, and Sept. 30, 1986, three of the best-selling albums of 1986 are ineligible: "Whitney Houston," which was released in the spring of 1985, and Boston's "Third Stage" and "Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Live, 1975-1985," both released after the cutoff.

Though there were some surprises (the Chicago Bears Shufflin' Crew's "Super Bowl Shuffle" in the R&B group vocal category, for example), there were also some notable omissions: Lionel Richie, Genesis, Huey Lewis, the Bangles and Van Halen were missing from the ballots. Other stellar acts like Patti La Belle, Madonna and Run-DMC received only single nominations. As usual, hard rock, rap and roots rock 'n' roll were nowhere to be found on the ballots. The antiapartheid project "Sun City" earned two nominations, for group vocal and long-form video.

The only nominated record with Washington connections was in the reggae category: Black Uhuru's "Brutal" on the local RAS label.

Nominated for record of the year were Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love"; Whitney Houston's "Greatest Love of All"; Winwood's "Higher Love"; Gabriel's "Sledgehammer"; and "That's What Friends Are For," by Dionne Warwick and Friends.

Nominated for album of the year were: "Back in the High Life," Winwood; "The Broadway Album," Streisand; "Control," Janet Jackson; "Graceland," Simon; "So," Gabriel.

Nominated for song of the year were: "Addicted to Love," written by Palmer; "Graceland," Simon; "Higher Love," Winwood and Will Jennings; "Sledgehammer," Gabriel; "That's What Friends Are For," Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager.