Last night's 29th annual Grammy Awards, televised from Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium by CBS, was a fairly sedate affair, which may have been due to the relative maturity of the major winners. Steve Winwood, who won three awards including record of the year for his hit single "Higher Love," is 38; Paul Simon, whose "Graceland" won album of the year honors, is 44, as is Barbra Streisand. And Burt Bacharach, composer of double-winner "That's What Friends Are For," is 58.
"That's What Friends Are For," the Bacharach-Carole Bayer Sager anthem that has raised more than $750,000 for AIDS research, won song of the year honors and also earned a Grammy for best pop performance by a duo or group for Dionne Warwick and Friends, two of whom, Stevie Wonder and Gladys Knight, joined Warwick in a live rendition during the ceremony.
Simon's "Graceland," a mesmerizing mix of South African township rhythms and poetic vocals that had been nominated for four awards, was recognized as album of the year. It has brought Simon praise for devoting so much of a pop-oriented album to a little-known musical style, but it was also controversial, and Simon was briefly blacklisted by the United Nations after being accused of violating a cultural boycott for recording part of "Graceland" at a Johannesburg studio.
Accepting the award, Simon thanked those "American artists who helped bring the album back home to America, where it also belongs" and added that he wanted "to express my deep admiration and love for the singers and musicians from South Africa who worked with me on 'Graceland.' They live, along with other South African artists and their countrymen, under one of the most repressive regimes on the planet today, and still they are able to produce music of great power and nuance and joy. I find that just extraordinary, and they have my great respect and love."
It was the 11th Grammy for Simon, four of them shared with his former partner Art Garfunkel.
"This song is very special to me," Bacharach said when he accepted the song of the year award, his fourth career Grammy and the first for his wife, Sager. "Of all the songs that I have written, it's the one song that when I hear on the radio or in performance, I still get a little teary in my eyes and a little touched ... goose bumps. I think it goes way beyond the song -- it's a good song, I'm proud of the song -- I think it goes to the outer fringe of what that song has meant to so many people, in joy and sadness, heartbreak and hope, friendship and love."
Backstage, Bacharach was reminded the song first appeared four years ago on the sound track to the comedy film "Night Shift," performed by Rod Stewart. "It was like a new song," he insisted. "It was never released as a single, so I don't think it really qualifies as an old record. Regardless, I'm not going to give the Grammy back."
Winwood, who had the most nominations with five, won the most awards, three -- record of the year, pop male vocalist and best-engineered recording. The veteran rocker, whose distinguished career dates back to his mid-1960s debut with the Spencer Davis Group, had never before been nominated.
"I didn't care about winning a Grammy early in my career," he said backstage. "When I first started out I wouldn't even have come to the awards. The idea of approval by one's peers didn't matter to a 19-year-old singer. It still doesn't."
Peter Gabriel, who had been nominated in four categories, was shut out, but Anita Baker, Barbra Streisand, Deniece Williams, Sandy Patti, Miles Davis and the Judds each won two awards. Hot Minneapolis duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis won producer of the year honors, while Virginian Bruce Hornsby and his band, the Range, won the best new artist award. Hornsby, whose song "The Way It Is" became a huge hit, thanked "the large Hornsby clan out in Virginia" and "my big brother and our head cheerleader, Huey Lewis."
The irrepressible Baker was named best female R&B vocalist for her "Rapture" album and shared an R&B songwriter's award for "Sweet Love" with Luis A. Johnson and Gary Bias. "Oh my Grammy| Oh my Grammy|" she squealed. Williams won best soul-gospel performance for a female for "I Surrender All" and shared best gospel performance by a duo with Sandi Patti for "They Say." Patti also won for best gospel female vocal. The Judds' "Grandpa" won best country song, and the mother-daughter team pulled down best country performance by a duo.
Davis' "Tutu" won two awards (jazz instrumental solo performance and album cover), while his good friend Bill Cosby won for best comedy recording for "Those of You With or Without Children, You'll Understand." It was Cosby's ninth Grammy.
"This is really very, very, very nice," Streisand said as she accepted the pop female vocal Grammy for her "The Broadway Album." Streisand confessed to a feeling of confidence since 24 (yesterday's date) is her lucky number. It's not just the date she and her son were born, she explained, but "24 years ago I took home my first Grammy in this same category. So with your continued support and a little bit of luck I might just see you again 24 years from tonight." "Somewhere," a cut on that album, also won for best instrumental arrangement accompanying vocals.
"It was a struggle to make this album," Streisand said backstage. "I'm surprised people bought it. I'm happy the public appreciated this timeless material."
Tina Turner won her fifth career Grammy for best female rock performance with "Back Where You Started," and Prince picked up his third career Grammy for best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocal for his "Kiss" single. James Brown's "Living in America" earned the best male R&B vocal award (his first since 1965), while Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" won him the best male rock vocal Grammy.
Wynton Marsalis won one of his four nominations, best jazz instrumental group performance, for his "J Mood" album, while Bobby McFerrin won the jazz male vocal award for his wordless exploration of Thelonious Monk's classic " 'Round Midnight," which he performed live with pianist Herbie Hancock.
The principal classical Grammy, for best album, went to Vladimir Horowitz for "Horowitz: the Studio Recordings, New York 1985," the 19th Grammy for the venerable pianist. That album also won for best instrumental soloist or soloists (with or without an orchestra) and best engineered recording (for Paul Goodman). Sir Georg Solti, the all-time Grammy winner, brought his total to 25 with the classical orchestral recording award for conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in "Liszt: A Faust Symphony."
New categories this year include one for new age music and another for contemporary folk recordings. Andreas Vollenweider's "Down to the Moon" took the New Age award, while the multiartist "Tribute to Steve Goodman" was the folk winner.
The Grammys were voted on by the 6,000 members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, who this year cast ballots in 68 different categories including rock, pop, classical, jazz, Latin, folk, spoken word and reggae.
Last month, six works recorded before the Grammy Awards were begun in 1958 were voted into the academy's Hall of Fame: "And the Angels Sing," by Benny Goodman; "Blueberry Hill," by Fats Domino; "If I Didn't Care," by the Ink Spots; Bela Barto'k's "The Complete String Quartets," performed by the Juilliard String Quartet; Maria Callas and others in a recording of the Puccini opera "Tosca"; and Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza, featured in the original cast recording of "South Pacific."
Trustees of the academy also voted their Trustees Award to lyricist Johnny Mercer, while jazz vocalist Billie Holiday was given the academy's Lifetime Achievement Award. Both awards are posthumous. Mercer, who died in 1976, wrote the words to more than 1,500 songs, including "Jeepers Creepers," "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" and "Blues in the Night," as well as the Grammy- and Oscar-winning tunes "Moon River" and "Days of Wine and Roses," and combined with such songwriting talents as Harold Arlen, Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington, Jerome Kern and Henry Mancini.
Holiday's sultry vocal stylings were heard on such songs as "Strange Fruit," "Fine and Mellow" and "God Bless the Child." After her discovery in 1933 by record producer John Hammond, Holiday recorded with such jazz stars as Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson, Roy Eldridge, Benny Carter and Lester Young. Her voice suffered in later years as her addiction to pills and alcohol deepened, eventually claiming her life in 1959. Anita Baker's rendition of "God Bless the Child" was one of the more affecting performances of the night, along with a wild blues summit involving guitarists Robert Cray, Kings Albert and B.B., singers Etta James and Koko Taylor and a ragged but right supporting cast.
On the down side, Billy Idol sang, and a segment featuring country youngbloods Randy Travis, Dwight Yoakam and Steve Earle probably didn't do much to persuade noncountry fans to cross pop's restrictive boundaries. Billy Crystal was surprisingly subdued in his host's role, and the show was basically flat, particularly the finale, Ben E. King's "Stand by Me," in which he was joined by a half-dozen stars, at which point the song seemed to degenerate into "Don't Stand So Close to Me," or in a few instances, "Don't Stand in Front of Me."
Other winners at last night's Grammy Awards:
Country Vocal Performance, Male: "Lost in the Fifties Tonight," Ronnie Milsap.
Country Vocal Performance, Female: "Whoever's in New England," Reba McEntire.
Country Instrumental Performance: "Raisin' the Dickins," Ricky Skaggs.
Gospel Performance, Male: "Triumph," Philip Bailey.
Male Soul Gospel Performance: "Going Away," Al Green.
Group Soul Gospel Performance: "Choose Ye," Winans with Vanessa Bell Armstrong.
Pop Instrumental: "Top Gun Theme," Harold Faltermeyer and Steve Stevens.
Jazz Fusion Performance Vocal or Instrumental: "Double Vision," Bob James and David Sanborn.
Big Band Instrumental Performance: Doc Severinsen and the "Tonight Show" band.
Jazz Vocal Performance, Female: "Timeless," Diane Schuur.
Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo or Group: "Free Fall," 2+2 Plus.
Jazz Instrumental Performance, Group: "J Mood," Wynton Marsalis.
Jazz Instrumental Performance, Big Band: "The Tonight Show Band With Doc Severinsen," The "Tonight Show" Band with Doc Severinsen.
R&B Instrumental Performance: Yellow Jackets, "And You Know That."
Latin Pop Performance: "Lelolai," Jose Feliciano.
Tropical Latin Performance: "Escenas," Rube'n Blades.
Mexican American Performance: "Ay Te Dejo En San Antonio," Flaco Jimenez.
Traditional Blues Recording: "Showdown|," Albert Collins, Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland.
Traditional Folk Recording: "Riding the Midnight Train," Doc Watson.
Polka Recording (tie): "Another Polka Celebration," Eddie Blazonczyk's Versatones; "I Remember Warsaw," Jimmy Sturr & His Orchestra.
Reggae Recording: "Babylon the Bandit," Steel Pulse.
Children's Recording: "The Alphabet," Sesame Street Muppets.
Spoken Word or Nonmusical Recording: "Interviews From the Class of '55 -- Recording Sessions," various.
Cast Show Album: "Follies in Concert."
Instrumental Composition: "Out of Africa -- Soundtrack," John Barry.
Arrangement of an Instrumental: "Suite Memories," Patrick Williams.
Album Notes: "The Voice: The Columbia Years 1943-1952."
Historical Album: "Atlantic Rhythm and Blues 1947-1974 Vols. 1-7."
Engineered Recording, Nonclassical: "Back in the High Life," Tom Lord Alge, Jason Corsaro.
Short Music Video: "Dire Straits: Brothers in Arms," Dire Straits.
Music Video, Long Form: "Bring on the Night," Sting.
Group Rock Vocal: "Missionary Man," Eurythmics.
Rock Instrumental: "Peter Gunn," Art of Noise.
Opera Recording: "Bernstein: Candide," John Mauceri conducting New York City Opera Chorus and Orchestra.
Choral Performance (other than opera): "Orff: Carmina Burana," James Levine conducting Chicago Symphony Chorus and Orchestra.
Chamber Music Performance: "Beethoven: Cello and Piano Sonata No. 4 on C and Variations," Yo Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax.
Classical Vocal Soloist Performance: "Mozart: Kathleen Battle Sings Mozart," Kathleen Battle.
Contemporary Composition: "Lutoslawski: Symphony No. 3," Witold Lutoslawski.
Classical Producer of the Year: Thomas Frost. Special correspondent Craig Modderno in Los Angeles contributed to this report.