News and Tribune

January 31, 2014

NASH: The music industry’s big night

By MATTHEW NASH
Local columnist

— Most of the time when I am in my car I like to listen to talk radio. I usually listen to “sports” talk on one of the local shows or on one of the nationally syndicated shows. Sometimes I mix it up and listen to “money” talk with Dave Ramsey on my way to work on weekday afternoons. On the way home if I work nights I sometimes listen to the Dennis Miller Show. If nothing seems interesting to me at the time I will listen to music on one of the classic rock stations.

I also have a CD player as an option with six different CDs to choose from. Currently the lineup of music that is in the CD player includes The Traveling Wilbury’s Volume 1, Dire Straits’ “Brothers in Arms” and a mix CD with Journey and REO Speedwagon.  

The point I am trying to make here is I don’t listen to very much current popular music. I have a feeling that it is going to stay that way for quite some time.

Last Sunday the music industry celebrated its biggest night of the year with the Grammy Awards. I can’t remember the last time I watched even part of the annual award show. I get upset every time I think about how the 1977 Grammy for “Best New Artist” went to the Starland Vocal Band over the band Boston and the following year when Debby Boone beat out Foreigner.

Having seen multiple commercials for this year’s ceremony, I was intrigued by a number of the performances that were scheduled. Being a fan of the group Chicago I thought it would be nice for the world to see them perform. They were scheduled to perform with Robin Thicke, who I wouldn’t have known if he hadn’t made a racy video for his hit song and later made headlines  when he performed a sexually charged set with Miley Cyrus at another awards show.

Another act I was looking forward to seeing was the reunion of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. The surviving Beatles were to be onstage together for the first time in quite a while. The Beatles, having broke up around the same time I was born, have always been one of those bands that I enjoyed as a group, but I also had a deep appreciation for their individual solo acts.

I wasn’t too concerned with many of the awards and who was going to win, as they announced the nominees most of the names I did not recognize. One of the first groups that I did recognize was Daft Punk. Their song, “Get Lucky” which went on to win several awards throughout the show, was featured on an episode of “The Colbert Report” last summer when the duo were a last minute no show to his talk show.

The thing about the Daft Punk is that they are rarely seen in public. When they perform they are dressed as robots. They were in the audience at the award show where many attendees were wearing formal attire or at least their Sunday best and these two looked like characters from the movie “Star Wars.”

Daft Punk’s song featured the vocal talents of a singer named Pharrell Williams who made a big splash at the award ceremony solely on his choice of head wear. His hat, which nearly stole the show, was described as looking like something he had stolen from Smokey the Bear. There were some people who questioned when the singer/songwriter/producer had time to moonlight with the Canadian Mounties.

The biggest shocker of the night came when toward the end of the show a group of 33 couples were wed on live television. During the performance of the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis song “Same Love,” Queen Latifah presided over the ceremony that featured a mixture of straight, gay and lesbian couples. After the short event Madonna serenaded the happy couples with a rendition of her song “Open your heart” while wearing an outfit that could have belonged to the late great Colonel Sanders.

It had been many years since I had seen more than a few minutes of the annual Grammy Awards show. This year’s event will be talked about for what went on besides the music and awards. I wasn’t too familiar with many of the acts that were featured, but I was entertained by the show.

— Matthew Nash can be reached at dmatthewnash@gmail.com