Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Ghosts at the Grammys

This is foreign correspondence, reporting from an alien time and space, on the Grammy Awards.

The music industry seems to have been infiltrated by the Tea Party as the multiple winner is Lady Antebellum, a white-bread trio looking like well-behaved children of old Nashville who could make Sarah Palin's "A" list.

Even CBS, which telecast the event, is caught off guard with a 60 Minutes feature on the outrageous Lady Gaga, who did not have a good night at the awards.

The past was very much present, too: 69-year-old Bob Dylan ("his voice shredded," says a report) looking wan and weak, upstaged by an electrifying Mick Jagger, 67, showing that being past Social Security is no bar to wowing a crowd (despite a spitefully timed statement by Marianne Faithfull on his private parts).

In the quest for historical continuity, the producers may have reached back too far by unearthing the co-stars of the third and worst version of "A Star Is Born," Kris Kristofferson, 74, and the unsinkable Barbra Streisand, 68. (One of my last acts before retiring as an editor over a quarter of a century ago was bawling her out over the phone as "a bad person" for breaching an agreement she had made with my magazine.)

As foreign correspondents are wont to do, this has to conclude with uniformed judgments about matters they know little about. On some of the lavish production numbers, watching with one's eyes closed raised questions about the musical quality unenhanced by the flashing lights, bizarre backgrounds and, in the case of one winner, bicycle riders circling the group like escapees from the Tour de France.

We are a long way from the jukeboxes of my time.

Update: The best musical performance of the day by far is by recovering Rep. Gabrielle Giffords lip-syncing songs while talking by phone to her brother-in-law in space, mouthing lyrics to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love, Baby” and, for her husband's birthday this month, the words to “Happy Birthday to You.”

Now that's really music to a nation's ears.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't care about the Grammy's but I know your writing very well. Your ending note made the read more than worthwhile. Thanks!