BetteBack February 21, 1991: From A Distance Wins Song Of The Year At The Grammys

Syracuse Herald Journal
February 21, 1991


NEW YORK – Topping a slate of music legends and sentimental favorites honored Wednesday night at Radio City Music Hall, Quincy Jones and his album “Back on the Block” look eight Grammys, including best album.

“From a Distance,” a timely plea for peace sung by Bette Midler, was named Song of the Year, the first Grammy for songwriter Julie Gold.

Mariah Carey, nominated in five top categories, won Best New Artist and Pop Vocal Female for “Vision of Love.”

Rapper M.C. Hammer took home awards for best rap solo performance and Best R&B Song, both for “U Can’t Touch This,” as well as long video.

JONES SPENT most of the past two decades producing albums for other artists. But Wednesday night, songs from Jones’ comeback album, “Back on the Block” snagged awards in rap performance, jazz fusion and instrumental arrangement, among others.

“When you make a record you have to dig down deep inside you to make something you would like to hear yourself,” Jones said “The music reflects a path I’ve been on for a long time.”

Jones added he hopes he never gets jaded by winning. “I’ve won 25 Grammys but I’ve lost 51 times, and I know what it’s like to lose seven times in a night.”

Phil Collins came within a hair of knowing that feeling. Nominated in eight categories, Collins faced a shutout until “Another Day in Paradise” won Record of the Year, the night’s final category. A relieved Collins joked: “If I had lost eight Grammys. my mother would
have killed me.”

LUTHER VANDROSS tucked away his first Grammy, for Best Male R&B Performance on “Here and Now.”

Best Male Pop Vocal went to the late Roy Orbison for “Oh Pretty Woman.” His wife accepted the award, reminding the crowd that Orbison’s first Grammy exposure was as a nominee in 1964 – for “Oh Pretty Woman.”

Eric Clapton’s “Bad Love” was named Best Male Rock Performance.

In a surprise, Alannah Myles’ “Black Velvet” took best rock female.

Harry Connick, Jr.‘s smooth piano jazz stylmgs earned him top honors for Male Jazz Vocal.

Sinead O’Connor sold 2 million albums and snubbed the show for its commercial bent, yet took her first Grammy as Best Alternative Music Performer for her album, “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got.”

JIMMY VAUGHAN’S awards for best rock instrumental and contemporary blues recording were both bittersweet accolades.

Vaughan accepted both in memory Ӣof his brother, Stevie Ray Vaughan, who was killed in a helicopter crash earlier this year.

Other sentimental honors: best gospel choir album, awarded to the Rev. James Cleveland, felled by a fatal heart attack two weeks ago; and the late classical composer Leonard Bernstein, a double winner.

B.B. King’s “Live at San Quentin” album won best traditional blues recording, an honor he didn’t expect. Said King: “I’m glad my heart is still pumping pretty good.”

The collected work of blues pioneer Robert Johnson was awarded best historical performance, while George Burns became the oldest living Grammy winner at 95 with his award for best spoken word recording, “Gracie: A Love Story.”

Kathy Mattea won best female country vocal performance for “Where’ve You Been,” which also picked up a writing award for best country song.

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