Triple Played: Grammys worth watching for a change

At 54 years, the Grammys and I are the same age.

The first time I watched the Grammys was 1968 as a 10-year-old in Gypsum. My parents were out for the evening, and I got to stay up and watch the show with our baby sitter. My two younger brothers and baby sister weren’t so lucky.

What I remember most is the Beatles’ “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” was album of the year. The Fifth Dimension’s “Up Up and Away” was record of the year, and Glen Campbell won two Grammys in the country category for John Hartford’s “Gentle on My Mind” and two in the pop category for Jimmy Webb’s “By the Time I Get To Phoenix.”

Later on, I figured that the Grammys were mostly a popularity contest and usually had little to do with the quality of the product.

Once in a while, they would get it right in my opinion, but the most deserving awards were usually given out off camera in the non-pop rock categories.

I felt no need to watch. I could just read about the winners the next day.

Until Sunday night, Feb. 12, I hadn’t watched the Grammy Awards in 20-plus years, but the stars aligned and I watched the entire show with my wife Kenda and son Matthew.

Kenda was excited about seeing Sir Paul McCartney. Matthew wanted to see Deadmau5 and the mashup with the Foo Fighters, whatever that is.

I wanted to see McCartney and Campbell.

We all were excited about Bruce Springsteen, curious about Adele and saddened about Whitney Houston.

Springsteen’s opener, “We Take Care of Our Own” from his upcoming release “Wrecking Ball,” was excellent and will become an anthem for some folks pretty soon.

I thought Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt’s tribute to the late Etta James was outstanding. Their cover of “A Sunday Kind of Love” was spot on. It was good to see and hear Raitt, and I am looking forward to her new album.

Taylor Swift opened my eyes to her talent, and I can’t wait to hear the rest of her last release. Sounding like a young Nanci Griffith performing the song “Mean,” she really caught all of our attention.

The Beach Boys segment was at once fun and hard to watch. I am a Beach Boys fan, but it was hard to watch the guys sing live and struggle to get their song out.

Maroon 5 didn’t do much better with its cover of “Surfer Girl.” However, Foster the People’s version of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” was incredible.

The powers that be had no choice but to give Adele all six of the Grammys she won. She earned those awards with her songwriting and golden voice. It is always nice to see someone win who doesn’t necessarily fit the profile.

Jennifer Hudson’s tribute to Houston was moving and tasteful. I just wish the media would leave it at that because bottom line is a daughter lost her mother and a mother lost her daughter.

Campbell looked and sounded pretty darn good on “Those Southern Nights,” considering the circumstances. It sure is good to see that he still has his sense of humor.

For the first time, at least for me, McCartney looked and sounded all of his 69 years on his new song “My Valentine,” but he rebounded well for the show’s closing track, an all-star cover of the “Abbey Road Suite” featuring six different lead guitar players all directed by Sir Paul.

Matthew, Kenda and I had such a good time watching the Grammys we might do it again next year.

Rock Cesario owns Triple Play Records, 530 Main St., and hosts “Acoustic Sunday” from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday on Drive 105.3 FM. Email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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