BootLeg Betty

BetteBack: Grammys 1981

Mister D: That year, 1981, at the Grammys, Christopher Cross walked away with every major award – never to be heard of again. Bette won for Best Female Vocalist for “The Rose.” She was also a no show.

The Chronicle Telegram
This year’s Grammy Awards may play sentimental favorites
By JACK LLOYD
2-25-1981

Those who have expressed fears that the 1980’s would be a woefully soft period in the evolution of pop music will find little to change their minds in pondering the nominations for this year’s Grammy awards.

In line for the the music industry’s most prestigious awards — bestowed by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences — are many of the most uninspired recordings to come along in some time. (Winners will be announced in the 23rd a n n u al Grammy Awards show tonight at 9 on Channels 8 and 11.)

MEMBERS OF the academy who voted on the nominations clearly played it safe, staying for the most part with sentimental favorites and mainstream staples.

There are. of course, the inevitable oversights — superb efforts- that were ignored by the academy. How Bob S e g e r ‘s powerful “Against the Wind” LP was shunned in consideration for top album honors is baffling. The omission of Pat Benatar’s name from the best new artist list is perplexing.

The names that dominate the various top categories are generally tried and true: Frank Sinatra, BillyJoel. Donna Summer, Kenny Rogers, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand. Olivia Newton-John, Paul Simon.

THE ACADEMY’S most daring move was voting newcomer Christopher Cross nominations in five different top categories. But while Cross’ debut album, “Christopher Cross,” was indeed impressive, it was not that impressive.

Many fans wili be wondering about other omissions in addition to Seger’s “Against the Wind.”

What about Bruce Springsteen’s “The River,” Dire Straits’ “Making Movies” and Donna Summer’s “The Wanderer”? The assumption is that they were released too late in 1980 for consideration and will be eligible for voting next year.

What it all boils down to is that guessing winners of the Grammies is more difficult than ever. Considering the drab lot, even coming up with preferences is tough.

However, the challenge must be met, so following is a list of the top categories and some predictions:

R E C O R D OF THE Y E A R:
“Lady.” Kenny Rogers: “The Rose.”
Bette Midler, “Sailing” Christopher
Cross: “New York. New York.”
Frank Sinatra. “Woman In Love.”
Barbra Streisand.
This one could go to any of the nominees, with Rogers. Midler and Streisand being heavy favorites. But the guess here is that “New York. New York” will be the sentimental winner.

A L B U M OF T HE Y E A R:
“Christopher Cross,” Christopher
Cross; “Glass Houses,” Billy Joel:
“Guilty,” Barbra Streisand (with
Barry Gibb): “Trilogy, Past Present
& Future.” Frank ” Sinatra; “The
Wall,” Pink Floyd.
“Trilogy” is certainly the winner.

SONG OF THE YEAR:
“Fame,” “Lady,” “New York, New York.”
“The Rose” “Sailing” “Woman In Love.”
Up against this competition, once again “New York, New York” is the best of the bunch.

BEST NEW ARTIST:
Christopher Cross. Irene Cara, Robbie Dupree.
Amy Holland, Pretenders.
While there is much to recommend the Pretenders — one of the few new wave-influenced rock acts to make a major dent during the-past year — there is little doubt that the award will go to Cross.

And considering the quality of his album and long-range potential of his talent, he probably deserves it.

BEST POP FEMALE VOCAL PERFORMANCE:
“Fame,” Irene Cara; “Magic,” Olivia Newton-John;
“On the Radio,” Donna Summer; “The Rose,” Bette Midler,
“Woman In Love,” Barbra Streisand.
With the pop music community so much a part of the Hollywood scene these days, “Fame,” “Magic” and “The Rose” — all from f i lm soundtracks — should be sentimental favorites.

The feeling here is that Bette Midler will take the award, although the personal choice is Donna Summer, who has become pop music’s most distinguished female performer.

BEST POP MALE VOCAL PERFORMANCE:
“Chistopher Cross,” Christopher Cross: “Lady.” Kenny
Pagers; “Late in the Evening.” Paul
Simon: “New York. New York.”
Frank Sinatra; “This Is It.” Kenny
Loggins.
Well. OK, let’s make it unanimous for Ol Blue Eyes. Paul Simon will be a big favorite, since he’s been absent from the pop scene for a few years and his film, “One-Trick Pony”, deserved a better fate. And Christopher Cross could walk off with everything.

But Sinatra’s performance on “New York, New York had far more flair than any of the others in this category.

BEST POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP:
‘Against tne wind.’ Bob Seger and
the Silver Bullet Band; “Biggest Part
of Me.” Ambrosia; “Don’t Fall In
Love With a Dreamer,” Kenny
Rogers and Kim Carnes; “Guilty,”
Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb;
“He’s So Shy,” Pointer Sisters.
Seger has no business in this category, and so we must assume that his nomination is a token gesture to acknowledge an effort that was otherwise ignored. On the basis of this, Seger is the personal favorite here.

But realistically, the award probably should go to the Pointer Sisters and probably will go to Rogers and Carnes, since Rogers’ name remains golden in mainstream circles.

There are additional categories, naturally. And one hopes the Grammies handed out in such specialized areas as rock, country, R&B and jazz will compensate for the omissions in what are generally considered to be the top Grammy categories.

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