2/14/2012 5:00 PM
It's been one hell of a week. We've seen some of the world's most talented musicians, producers, engineers, techs, and other creative forces of nature drive the most exciting and inspirational musical moments of the year.
We all have our opinions on the ups and downs of the performances on the show, and the TV ratings, and the impact of social media, and the relevance of tape-delaying on the west coast, etc. etc.... but I think the best way to recap this week is just to focus on the human element, the real feeling of musical community. By now, we all know that Dave Grohl said it best Sunday night: "To me, this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of making music is what's most important. Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that's the most important thing for people to do. It's not about being perfect, it's not about sounding absolutely correct, it's not about what goes on in a computer. It's about what goes on in here [heart] and it's about what goes on in here [head]."
With that, I'll share some of my own favorite moments...
Watching electronic music finally get the recognition it deserves at the Grammys (to quote Skrillex, winning his third Grammy at the pre-telecast: "All of the boats rise with the water.")...and at the same time, watching acts like the Civil Wars go completely acoustic on the show.
Hearing artists talk about the ways that musical inspiration is universal. This was certainly the sentiment at the premiere of The RE:GENERATION Project
, which documented five DJs as they partnered with artists in "traditional" genres, from country to classical. Ken Jordan of the Crystal Method, who collaborated with Martha Reeves for the film, paid respects to artists
who inspired them: "These genres that you see in this film, they've always been an inspiration for us to make music. People kept asking us, was it a challenge? No. R&B, rock, it's always been our inspiration. So we want to take the opportunity to show people that it all works together. The music we make, we never called it anything. We call it electronic now, but it's the music we come out with from all of these inspirations."
Loved witnessing producer and label legend Jimmy Iovine, at the Grammy P&E Wing event at the Village studios, being serenaded by Skylar Grey and Lana Del Rey and sharing stories from his decades of creative partnerships with some of the biggest musicians in rock and pop. My favorite Jimmy quote: "The only real conduit for emotion that music has is sound."
Watching Lifetime Achievement awards given to Diana Ross, Glen Campbell, the Allman
Brothers, Gil Scott-Heron, and George Jones, and Trustee awards and
Technical Grammys to Steve Jobs, Roger Nichols and Celemony reinforced for me how important it is to honor artistic achievement throughout an artist's lifetime, and these awards represent a special level of accomplishment, a point in a career arc far from, say, Best New Artist or Artist of the Year. It was especially touching to hear tributes from the families of those who have left us, particularly Roger
Nichols, who was a big part of our own magazine family for many years as a longtime contributor to EQ
. Everyone here loves and misses Roger very much...
Witnessing the courage of Glen Campbell, always the pro showman, who put on a dazzling
performance while battling Alzheimer's; and Jennifer Hudson, who stepped in at the 11th hour to perform the extraordinarily difficult and emotional task of paying tribute to Whitney Houston in song.
Hearing artists get personal at the pre-telecast awards, from Taylor Swift talking about how great it was to win a Grammy for a song about someone who had picked on her back in the day, to the Civil Wars joking about how they lost a bet by winning their award. But perhaps the most poignant moment was watching Tony Bennett bring Amy Winehouse's parents onstage to help him accept a Grammy for their "Body and Soul" duet. Amy's father shared a story about how excited she had been to record the song, because it was his favorite. He said, "I said, 'Amy, do you know the lyrics?' She said, 'Dad, you've been singing them to me for 25 years!'" I'll leave you with his parting words: "Long live Amy Winehouse. Long Live Etta James. Long Live Whitney Houston. There is a beautiful girl band in heaven."