Another year, another Grammy ceremony. With 83 awards in total, 2014 was the biggest year in the ceremony’s 56 year history. It also had one of the longest red carpet ceremonies in the history, the broadcast of which was longer than the actual Grammys. In fact, over half of the awards had already been given out and people were still arriving. How rude. We’re looking at you, Quincy Jones. Still, we did our best to keep up with the goings on inside and out the Staples Center – these are our most astute observations. At least, they’re as astute as they can be after watching the rich and famous do their thing for about eight hours straight…
Music still has the power to change
So it might be an obvious topic, but same-sex marriage is still a divisive issue, not least in America. That it shouldn’t be is a point that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis make emphatically and emotionally in their hit single ‘Same Love’. And while it lost out to Lorde’s ‘Royals’ in the ‘Song Of The Year’ category, its live performance should have won an award of its own. As the song came to an end, Queen Latifah officiated a mass wedding of 33 couples – some gay, some straight – before Madonna appeared and the song transformed into the Queen Of Pop’s ‘Open Your Heart’. Both the crowd and the world at large – through the medium of Twitter, naturally – erupted in an outpouring of pure positivity.
Patience is a virtue
Led Zeppelin are one of rock’s biggest – and, some would argue, best – ever bands. Yet despite their critical and commercial success (in the face of decades of debauchery, no less) the British band have never won a Grammy. Well, technically, they were awarded a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ back in 2005, but that was handed to them on a plate – they didn’t have to fight off other nominees to display that gong on their gilded mantelpieces. So it must have been a relief that, some 47 years after they began, they finally won a Grammy. Admittedly, it was for a live album that documented their 2007 reunion (albeit with Jon Bonham’s son Jason taking his late father’s place behind the drum kit). Still, better late than never, right?
Nobody seems to care about Nirvana anymore
OK, so Kurt Cobain committed suicide almost 20 years ago now, but Nirvana remain one of the most influential bands in modern music. Not that anyone at the Grammys seem to care – when Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear, the band’s final touring line-up, stand against the ‘Fashion Wall’ as Cobain presumably rolls over in his grave, the camera for CBS, the Grammys’ official channel, swiftly pans past them to, er, Imagine Dragons, the pretty terrible alternative rockers from Las Vegas while they wait to take Nirvana’s place. That said, Cobain’s staying power emanated from beyond the grave – he, Grohl and Novoselic were nominated, oddly, for ‘Best Rap Song’ – Jay Z’s ‘Holy Grail’, which was up for the award, borrows lyrics from ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’.
Robots don’t speak
You’d think, with all that space age technology, not to mention the fact that their songs have words, that Daft Punk would be able to say a few words when collecting their numerous awards during the evening. But no – the French electronic dance duo let collaborator Pharrell Williams do their dirty work, ushering him to speak for them. “On behalf of the robots,” the producer started his acceptance speech for the ‘Best Pop Duo/Group Performance’ award, raising a hearty chuckle from the audience before thanking the Academy. “Of course,” he continues, “they want to thank their families.” Oh, you. Stop it. You’re killing us.
The Beatles v The Rolling Stones
As far as elder statesmen of British rock go, the night went to The Beatles. Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr reunited on stage at the Grammys for a special performance of Macca’s ‘Queenie Eye’. Later McCartney joined Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl and Pat Smear to both perform ‘Cut Me Some Slack’, from last year’s Dave Grohl-fuelled and funded ‘Real To Reel: Sound City’ album/documentary. That track won ‘Best Rock Song’, beating The Rolling Stones ‘Doom And Gloom’.