BootLeg Betty

BetteBack February 21, 1991: Grammy Award Winners 1991

Chronicle Telegram
Jones, “Back on the Block‘ hit Grammy paydirt
February 21, 1991

NEW YORK (AP) – “Back on the Block,” an ambitious recording project that interwove the musical virtues of a divergent group of artists from rappers to Sarah Vaughan, was  named album of the year at the 33rd Annual Grammy Awards.

With its magical journey to the worlds of jazz, rap, rhythm and blues and pop, “Back on the Block” won eight Grammys altogether on Wednesday night, including six for composer-musieian-produeer-arranger Quiney Jones.

Phil Collins, who had been nominated for eight awards at the ceremony at Radio City Music Hall, won record of the year for his bleak song about the homeless, “Another Day in Paradise.”

Mariah Carey, with her extensive vocal range, was named best new artist and best female pop vocalist for her slow-grind ballad “Vision of Love.”

The late Roy Orbison was named best male pop vocalist for “Oh Pretty Woman.” He was nominated for that song the first time he recorded it, in 1965, and didn’t win, but did for its re-release on “A Black & White Night Live.”

Song of the year honors went to Julie Gold for “From a Distance,” a ballad recorded by Bette Midler. Midler also
recorded last year’s winning song, “Wind Beneath My Wings.”

Academy president Michael Greene, commenting on the song of the year, said the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences “ends up being a sentimental bunch of people when it comes to message songs. This song delivers a powerful social message and a message for peace; we’re glad when they win.”

Still, the night belonged to the 57-year-old Jones. Besides album of the year, Jones won non-classical producer of the year, best jazz fusion performance for the LP’s

“Birdland” track; best arrangement of an instrumental for “Birdland”; best instrumental arrangement accompanying vocals, for “Birdland”; and best rap performance by a duo or group for the title track, along with Ice-T, Melle Mel, Big Daddy Kane, Kool Moe Dee and Quiney D. III.

Ray Charles and Chaka Khan won best rhythm ‘n’ blues by a vocal duo or group for “I’ll Be Good to You,” a track on “Back on the Block.” The LP’s engineer, Bruce Swedien, received the engineering award for a non-classical album.

After his triumph, Jones met backstage with reporters and said, “I don’t take it for granted … I’ve lost many times. It feels better to win.”

Collins told reporters that he’d been consoling himself that it was good to be nominated then said, with relief, “It was very nice to come out with one.”

Jones said “Back on the Block” took six or seven months to make but was 10 years late.

“When you wait that long, you have to really dig down deep inside and make something you want to hear, yourself,” he said.

He dedicated his album of the year Grammy to the late jazz singer Sarah Vaughan, whose last recorded performance was on it.

Jones’ six Grammys bring his all-time total to 25, pushing him ahead of Henry Mancini and the late Vladimir Horowitz, and making him second to conductor Sir Georg Solti‘s 28 Grammys.

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