Cedar Rapids Gazette
February 18, 1990
Some predictions for this yearâ€™s Grammy Awards, broadcast live Wednesday from Los Angeles, starting at 7 p.m. on CBS:
â€¢ Record of the Year: Forget Don Henleyâ€™s bitingly intelligent â€œThe End of the Innocence,â€ Fine Young Cannibalsâ€™ insidiously minimal â€œShe Drives Me Crazy,â€ Billy Joelâ€™s time-line tune, â€œWe Didnâ€™t Start the Fire.â€ None can compare to Mike + the Mechanicsâ€™ â€œThe Living Years,â€ a wonderfully sung, artfully recorded song about love and remembrance that punches all the Grammy votersâ€™ favorite buttons. But Bette Midler punches them even harder, and that â€” along with the tune’s traditional melodicism and the lyricâ€™s show biz sentimentality will make â€œWind Beneath My Wingsâ€ the walk away favorite here.
â€¢ Album of the Year: The Traveling Wilburys not only have Tom Petty, but also a certified legend (Bob Dylan), an ex-Beatle (George Harrison), a studio wizard (Jeff Lynne) and adead star (Roy Orbison). Expect the Wilburysâ€™ â€œTraveling Wilburys Volume Oneâ€ to win as a result.
â€¢ Song of the Year: â€œWind Beneath My Wings,â€ though it lacks the lineage of â€œDonâ€™t Know Much,â€ is more typical of
Grammy-winning songs: showy, sentimental, a real singerâ€™s showcase. And with â€œWindâ€ the best bet for Record of the Year, thereâ€™s one more reason for it to carry this category as well.
â€¢ Pop Vocal, Female: This category pits two inega-successful newcomers, Paula Abdul and Gloria Estefan, against two cagey veterans, Linda Ronstadt and Bonnie Raitt. Given the Grammy votersâ€™ traditional bias to big voiced showboats, Ronstadt should have the advantage, with FSstefan running a distant second. But the likelihood of Bette Midler taking Record of the Year will give her the edge here, as well.
â€¢ Pop Vocal, Male: A good, living singer is no match for a dead, great one, and thatâ€™s why Roy Orbisonâ€™s â€œYou Got Itâ€ will get it.
â€¢ Rock Vocal, Female: Considering the general mediocrity of the entries, thereâ€™s likely to be a fair amount of knee-jerk voting here. That will work to the detriment of Melissa Etheridge, Pat Benatar and Cyndi Lauper, but to the advantage of Tina
Turner. Still, if Bonnie Raitt is going to win anything on her own (she should share Contemporary Blues honors with John Lee Hooker), this is where sheâ€™ll win it.
â€¢ Rock Vocal, Male: If rock critics decided the Grammys, Neil Young would win this in a walk, with Lou Reed his only
com petition. But th e only Grammy input rock critics ever have is in articles like this, which means this will actually be a battle between Don Henley and Tom Petty, with the ever-popular Petty coming out on top.
â€¢ Rhythm & Blues Vocal, Female: Assuming that Natalie Cole and Aretha Franklin are here more on the basis of past
accomplishments than current merit, that leaves Vanessa Williams (great comeback story, soso voice), Janet Jackson (a burgeoning
megastar, good voice) and Anita Baker (low-key, well respected, great voice). Previous Gram m y experience should make Baker the winner, but it will be awfully close; donâ€™t be surprised if Janet Jackson gets the nod instead.
â€¢ Rhythm & Blues Vocal, Male: On many levels â€” popularity, dynamism, innovation â€” this award belongs to Bobby Brown. But Brown’s wild reputation may end up costing him votes, throwing the balance in favor of the old pros: Al Jarreau, Luther Vandross
and Smokey Robinson, with the latter winning it.