February 22, 1990
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Bonnie Raitt toiled at the blues for nearly two decades before winning armfuls of Grammys, and “Wind Beneath My Wings” lay around since 1982 before winning record and song of the year for Bette Midler.
Miss Raitt s triumph and the victory of Miss Midler’s pop version of an often-recorded country tune at the 32nd annual Grammy AwardsÂ spotlighted the quirky nature of the rules and reflexes of the Recording Academy.
Now 40, Miss Raitt put out nine albums and was unsuccessfully nominated for Grammys several times before she released “Nick of Time” last year.
And rather than a career peak, the LP was a comeback from a mid-’80s plunge that included being dropped by her label, Warner Bros., in 1983.
Backstage at the Shrine Auditorium after collecting her fourth Grammy Wednesday night, Miss Raitt was the victorious underdog- “I feel like the guy that just beat Mike Tyson,” she said. The critics and peers said finally she made a great record.”
Her Grammys were for album of the year – shared with producer Don Was – best female pop vocal for the Lps title track, best female rock vocal for the album, and best traditional blues recording for her collaboration with John Lee Hooker on the *Tm in the Mood” track
from his The Healer” album.
“It means those of us that love R&B are going to get a chance again,” Miss Raitt told fans in the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences.
The road to acclaim for “Wind Beneath My Wings,” recorded by Miss Midler for the movie “Beaches,” was almost as long.
-Writers Larry Henley and Jeff Silbar penned the song in 1982 and it was recorded first by singer Gary Morris.
“Well, I thought that’s pretty obscure, maybe nobody bought that record,” Miss Midler said backstage.
”And then it turned out after I recorded it that like a hundred people had recorded this song and it had never crossed over.”*
Others who tried it before Miss Midler included Willie Nelson, B-J. Thomas, Perry Como, Ray Price, Judy Collins and Sheena Easton.
In Beaches” the song underscored the theme of lifelong friendship between two women, one of whom dies.
“Ifs the biggest record of my career,” she said. “I had a platinum record (1 million units) on The Rose’ but this went double platinum.”
Though the song is old, the Academy’s annual awards are for actual recordings released in an eligibility period which this time extended from Oct. 1,1988, to Sept. 30, 1989. Midler’s version was released Jan. 13, 1989.
Song of the year Grammys went to writers Henley and Silbar. Miss Midler and longtime producer Arif Mardin shared the record of the year glory.
“I think one of the most rewarding things about the song is that we got tremendous mail from people and there was a lot of inspirationalÂ letters like 1 was quarreling with my wife, I wanted divorce, we make up after hearing this song/” Mardin said
The 3’/2 -hour show was viewed in 17.4 million households, according to overnight Nielsen ratings.
That was an increase of 3 million households over last year’s show, which at 14.4 million households had the lowest viewership sinceÂ only 11.2 million watched in 1975.
However, the number of viewers set.no records. Wednesday’s show had a Nielsen rating of 18.9 percent of the nation’s 92.1 million television homes. The 1984 show, when Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” won album of the year, had a rating of 30.8 and was viewed in 25.8 million households, Nielsen said.
Other highlights of the Grammys included a best new artist honor for Milli Vanilli.
In the R&B category Soul II Soul won group performance for the “Back to Life” single and best instrumental for “African Dance.”
Bobby Brown won male vocal for his “Every Little Step” single and Anita Baker won female vocal for the “Giving You The Best That IÂ Got” LP.
Miles Davis received a lifetime achievement award and Grammys for best jazz solo instrumental and big band jazz instrumental for hisÂ “Aura” LP.
Composer-arranger David Grusin also came out a big winner, with three awards for his theatrical movie music.
Michael Bolton’s plaintive single “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You,” won male pop vocal, and the tender love ballad “T Don’t KnowÂ Much,”by Linda Ronstadtand Aaron Neville, won duo pop performance.
Don Henley, who started the evening with four nominations, won only the male rock vocal performance for his The End of the Innocence” album.
Traveling Wilburys Volume One,” the effort of the late Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and George Harrison, earned only the rock group vocal performance Grammy.