The Grammys 2007: The View From My Couch

I have interviewed some of music’s biggest stars and rewritten press releases with the best of them, but tonight was the pinnacle of my journalistic career. At 7:58 p.m., I embedded myself on my couch and, armed with a reporter’s notebook and a pen from the Kroger pharmacy (my Mom works there), I set about documenting the 2007 Grammy awards show. There were glorious highs and unthinkable lows, part torture test, part writing exercise, part need-something-for-the-blog. And in the end I think I learned something – Scarlett Johansson has an album coming out?

Yes, those types of factoids and other mysteries are unearthed in my dispatch from the frontlines (of my couch). All in the name of journalism. This is one’s for you, Edward R. Murrow.

7:58 p.m.
Pre-show! I just noticed E! has a red carpet special. I tune in just in time to see best buds Quentin Tarantino and RZA being interviewed. Big Q seems to have gotten the party started a little early, if you know what I mean.

8 p.m.
“We are The Police, and we’re back,” yelled Stewart Copeland into his boyband wireless mic behind a drum kit. The big reunion turned out to be one song — “Roxanne,” which is celebrating its 30th birthday this year. The trio sounded good – they broke into one of their old-school dubby jam sections – but it basically amounted to a free five-minute commercial on primetime TV for their upcoming tour, which is rumored to be announced tomorrow.

8:05 p.m.
Who’s the host of this thing? Nobody, I guess. Didn’t they used to have hosts? Jamie Foxx starts off the show (he probably would have been a good host) and told some jokes. “When they said the Police was opening up the Grammys, Snoop left.” (Insert rim-shot)

8:08 p.m.
Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder make their way to the stage to accept their Best Pop Collaboration statue. Stevie’s notorious for carrying on onstage, but always gets a little leeway because of the whole genius/legend thing. He seems ready to go off again, but begins to cry (as does Bennett) when he dedicates the win to his mother. Bringing me down, man.

Joan Baez makes some political references (and quotes Woody Guthrie) as she introduces the Dixie Chicks’ performance. Hey, where’d the short blonde girl go? Oh, Nat’s gone brunette now. All three are wearing long fingerless black gloves that look part dinner dress accessory, part arm brace. The new look for ’07? They sound fine – just like the records.

8:14 p.m.
First commercial break!

8:18 p.m.
Hey, it’s Prince! And it’s, “One word – Beyonce,” and he’s gone – poof! I’m not a fan. She’s a good singer and all, but in an American Idol finalist kind of way. This is losing my attention. Is there a basketball game on? Beyonce doesn’t have fireworks or back-up dancers or anything. The camera pans to fellow American Idol person Carrie Underwood when she’s done and even she looks bored.

8:21 p.m.
The Black Eyed Peas – my least favorite “music” makers in the world right now – are giving Booker T and the MGs their Lifetime Achievement award. Well, they are reading some stuff about the band off of cue cards and confirming that a statue will be given. The Lifetime Achievers kind of get ripped.

The Peas are giving out the Best R&B Album award. Prince is up for it – he’s sporting some gaudy, giant old-lady sunglasses in the audience and looking coy. It’s weird to see Prince sitting in an audience with other real people around him.

Mary J. Blige wins, thanks God and Jesus and gets a little weepy … before pulling the old “I didn’t expect this …” — yoink — and producing a handful of index cards with notes on them. She gets through about six of them, blazing through her thank-yous as the band tries in vain to play her off with their tricky orchestral swell.

8:26 p.m.
Queen Latifah is on stage talking a contest that’s going on where one lucky lady gets to sing with Justin Timberlake later in the show. We’re told we can vote for our favorites and then they show four-second clips of all of the contestants singing. I just can’t decide. It’s like producers looked at American Idol and went, “We need a contest – people love contests.”

I think they should switch to a “scroll” through the show with all of the other winners going across (you know, the ones not cool enough to have their trophies given out on TV). As it is, they just throw some winners up a few seconds before commercials (of which, there are a ton). Do you think Classical composers and producers and musicians are all furiously pissed that they don’t get TV time?

8:34 p.m.
Justin Timberlake (who I will for now on refer to as JT, ’cause we’re tight like that) is talking about songwriting when I come back from a bathroom break. Damn, I missed his secret! He’s now playing his “mature song,” seated behind a piano (he’s so dynamic and musically gifted) – wait, he gets to play two songs, now and then with the contest winner?

8:35 p.m.
Bored. Ooh, drag racing’s on ESPN2!

Okay, back to JT. He’s doing another song, something dancey. AHHHH. He’s got some sort of gynecological camera and he keeps shoving it in his face – his nose is now taking up 80% of my TV screen. Hey, that’s Wayne Coyne’s schtick.

8:39 p.m.
Pink is giving The Doors Lifetime Achievement award spiel. I wish she’d say, “Jim Morrison, where are you? Stand up, Jimmy!” T.I. and Pink give the Best R&B Female Vocal prize to Mary J. Now who’s she going to thank? Maybe she had a few more index cards left. I think you should lose 10 seconds off of your allotted acceptance speech time every time you win another trophy.

8:46 p.m.
Stevie Wonder’s back. I just watched a little of the “making of” documentary about Songs In the Key of Life on VH1 Classic earlier today. He’s up there with Mozart. Stevie introduces the odd threesome of Corinne Bailey Rae, John Legend and John Mayer. Is it the all-VH1 block? Corinne’s song is pretty, then Legend comes on, backed by Mayer and Corinne. Legend is a good Pop writer and his voice is technically flawless, but his over-enunciation makes him sound overly “musical theater major”-like. He’s the Robert Goulet of our generation.

John Mayer – the Billy Vera of our generation – does a Soul-sounding song and plays some Blues licks. Yeah, John Mayer’s got da Blues.

8:56 p.m.
The trio thing’s still going. Mayer’s doing his Stevie Ray bit. I gotta check my laundry.

A Pussycat Doll, Natasha Bedingfield and Nelly Furtado are giving out the award for Best Pop Album. John Mayer wins. Oh, pity the life of a bluesman. Fun fact: Michael McDonald is apparently John Mayer’s manager! Maybe it’s not the “shine sweet freedom” guy, though.

8:59 p.m.
Smoke break. I really need to quit smoking.

9:04 p.m.
Uh oh. I’m starting to have my first thoughts of “Why the hell am I doing this.” Must. Be. Strong. Eight people might read this!

9:05 p.m.
Shakira and Wyclef are doing “Hips Don’t Lie.” Don’t tell anyone, but I don’t totally hate this song. Wow, Shakira’s just sitting on a stool singing, wearing a pantsuit and turtle neck. Kidding. She’s shaking her stuff again. And wearing some kind of midriff-bearing, gold-lame, Cleopatra-as-hootchie-mama get-up. Thousands of pubescent boys around the country just got about two-week’s worth of “material.” Aye carumba!

9:08 p.m.
Burt Bacharach and Seal do the Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss “President’s Merit Award” presentation. Wish the real President was giving it out. “Mossy, Herby – you did a heckofa job.” Burt and Seal also give out Song of the Year to the Dixie Chicks. Liberal bias! Will the Chicks get political or just shut up and accept. Natalie Maines seems shocked. Damn, no “George Bush doesn’t care about multi-platinum female singing trios,” nothin’.

9:18 p.m.
Some actresses give The Grateful Dead their Lifetime Achievement thing. There’s a lot of these.

Gnarls Barkley is doing a groovy reworking of “Crazy.” I’m sure they got as sick of it as everyone else, if not more so, so why not shake it up a little? Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse are dressed like airline pilots. The huge backing band is dressed up too, but I can’t tell what they’re supposed to be. Andy Warhols?

9:23 p.m.
Common and Kanye West give out the Best Rap Album statue. They do an Abbot and Costello-like routine about Kanye crying like a little girl when he doesn’t win awards he’s nominated for. The trophy goes to Ludacris. He jokes that he had to cut his hair to win, then thanks Oprah and Bill O’Reilly, his arch enemies. When those are who you’re rap-feuding with, do other rappers make fun of you behind your back?

9:27 pm.
Commercial. Crap. I thought this would be the halfway point, but I just noticed it goes until 11:30 p.m.

9:33 p.m.
Actor Terrence Howard does the Lifetime Achievement honors for opera star Maria Callas. Seriously, how many of these things are there? Howard then introduces Mary J. Blige, calling her “musical royalty.”

Blige is a real throwback to the grand old-school Soul divas. She has such a stately presence and is an electrifying performer. Take that, Beyonce. Love the tats-and-sequins look.

8:39 p.m.
Luke Wilson, Mandy Moore and LeAnn Rimes (wha?) give the Best Country Album Grammy to the Dixie Chicks. Hear that sound? It’s the noise of thousands of TVs being kicked in by enraged Country music fans across America. Maines coyly says, “That’s interesting,” and then mocks the Country music industry by doing the “heh-heh” laugh from The Simpsons. They must love death threats.

9:43 p.m.
Commercial. Beauty and the Geek is calling my name a few channels down. I’m only human. C’mon — be strong, Breen. You can do this.

9:48 p.m.
The star of Reba does the – yes – Lifetime Achievement dance for Bob Willis and Don Henley. Why at the same time, I do not know. Carrie Underwood does a Bob Willis song (pretty cool), but then Rascal Flatts goes into the Henley stuff, starting with “Hotel California.” I REALLY despise The Eagles. Everything about them … except Joe Walsh. I wish they’d do the 12-minute version so I could take a break.

9:54 p.m.
Underwood is singing “Desperado” now. After I vomit, I’m going to see if there’s been any development in the Anna Nicole situation over on … well, every news channel on the cable dial. Now there was a talent!

9:57 p.m.
Fox News has interrupted their Anna Nicole coverage for a program called Hannity’s America. Great, here comes the pukeys again.

9:58 p.m.
Wow. They’re still going with the Eagles stuff. “Life in the Fast Lane” now. Kinda of overdoing it, no? Why didn’t they do any of Henley’s solo stuff. “Smuggler’s Blues.” What? That’s Glen Frey? And the difference is?

10 p.m.
Ahh — Ornette Coleman is on national TV at 10 p.m. That cleans the palette. Ornette (who actually gets to speak after getting his Lifetime Achievement thing) is giving out the Best New Artist Grammy. Carrie Underwood wins. Ornette Coleman shouldn’t have to know who Carrie Underwood is.

10:09 p.m.
Christina Ricci and Sam Jackson introduce Smokey Robinson. Ricci looks like she could benefit from a visit to the buffet table backstage. Smokey does “Tracks of My Tears,” followed immediately by Lionel Richie (again, not sure of how they group people for these multi-act segments). Richie sings “Hello” – he should have that clay bust of his head from that video sitting on his piano at all times.

Some guy in a red hoodie and skull mask is on now. There’s dancing and fire. Is this K-Fed? He’s taken off his mask and I still don’t know who it is. Just saw “CB” on some equipment on the stage. So either this is Chris Brown, or CityBeat just scored some prime product placement. Brown’s presentation is more a dance routine than a musical performance.

10:17 p.m.
That little Robinson/Richie/Brown segment is getting a standing “O,” I believe the first of the night (The Police, somewhat surprisingly, didn’t get one).

Christina Aguilera jumps immediately into a tribute to James Brown, singing “This is a Man’s World.” All right. Could have done without the pig squeal, but not awful. And she scores another standing “O” – two in a row!

10:24 p.m.
I wonder if the untelevised portion of the Grammys is any fun. Do they have music? Do they just read the winners off in monotone and people come up to collect their statues like at a graduation ceremony? I wanna go and find out next year.

10:27 p.m.
Hmmm. Looks like I missed a little kid playing a violin. The Academy president is talking about the importance of musical education in schools. Much better than the year they took this opportunity to chastise their customers for “stealing.”

10:29 p.m.
It’s the good ol’ obit montage. I’m pouring a little of my Diet Pepsi on the curb (or my kitchen sink) for my fallen homies. Wait, Ed Bradley gets a mention, for being a “Music Fan”? James Brown gets a much deserved extended tribute. Brown’s right-hand-man, Bobby Byrd, brings out James’ cape and lays it on the mic. Sweet.

10:38 p.m.
David Spade and some actress introduce Earth, Wind and Fire, who are jamming with Mary J and Ludacris. Bill O’Reilly is unreasonably furious at this very moment. And most others, too. Mary J is everywhere. Will she be the big headline-grabber tomorrow?

Luda’s talkin’ to the “ladies” now in the song. He says they should close their eyes and run away with him. I am filing a gender discrimination lawsuit first thing in the morning.

10:43 p.m.
James Blunt’s play that horrid “You’re Beautiful” song now. He is apparently so overwrought with heartbreak, he can’t shave, even for the Grammys.

10:47 p.m.
Jimmy Sturr wins the Best Polka Album Grammy, just as I predicted. Ca-ching! Who’s your daddy, Eddie Blazonczyk?

10:48 p.m.
Commercial. Just 42 minutes left. Unless it goes long. That never happens, right?

10:52 p.m.
The moment we’ve all been waiting for – the winner of the “Sing with JT” contest is being announced by Jennifer Hudson. The woman who wins looks terrified at first, but pulls it off. Why are they singing “Ain’t No Sunshine”? They also are doing that JT song where he sings like Prince that I actually kinda like (shhh). JT seems to have taken style tips from that icon of fashion, David Letterman, sporting a suit and sneakers.

I wonder what the other NSYNC guys are doing right now. Oh, hold on – pizza’s here. I’ll ask the driver how they’re doing when I get my pie.

10:58 p.m.
Peter Frampton’s instrumental album, Fingertips, wins a Grammy. One of the local news channels is doing a big story about him tonight. “Did you know Peter Frampton lives in Cincinnati?” is making a comeback for “most repeated news story in Cincinnati,” sneaking up on “You’ve seen him strike out batters, but did you know Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo is a budding Rock star?”

Quentin Tarantino and Tony Bennett are reading cue cards now, giving out the award for Record of the Year. Q still seems pretty wound up. Nominee Danger Mouse is looking very too-cool-for-school when Gnarls’ name is announced. Dixie Chicks win again.

11:03 p.m.
Commercial. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Or it might just be another Chevy ad.

11:08 p.m.
Chris Rock gets bleeped for referencing JT’s “Dick in a Box” skit from Saturday Night Live (by the way, isn’t “Cock in a Box” much funnier?) as he intros the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I’m tired of beating up on the Peppers. My thoughts here hold true.

Flea has “Love to Ornette Coleman” spray painted on his amps. Confetti falls from the ceiling. And, yes, for those in the office betting pools, Anthony Kiedis is wearing a shirt. Though it has sleeves short enough that you can see his underarm hair when he raises his arms.

11:13 p.m.
Al Gore and Queen Latifah are on stage announcing their engagement. Or they might just be giving out the Best Rock Album award. Fingers crossed for local fellas Jack and Patrick from the Raconteurs. Alas, the Chili Peppers win. Chad Smith tells kids to start Rock bands.

11:18 p.m.
Commercial. So tired of commercials. There’s a documentary about Billy Strayhorn on PBS. Tempting

11:23 p.m.
Don Henley and Scarlett Johansson tell an awkward joke and mention her forthcoming debut album. Then they give the Album of the Year award to … the Dixie Chicks. Again. Hmmm — I guess they will be the big story now. (Sorry, Mary J.) Will the Fox News shows do panel segments about how the music industry has awarded traitors and non-patriots? Uh, will Quentin Tarantino get drunk tonight?

11:28 p.m.
Credits run over a montage of show “highlights.” This is one for me — the end.
Here are the big winners:

Album of the Year: “Taking the Long Way,” Dixie Chicks.

Record of the Year: “Not Ready to Make Nice,” Dixie Chicks.

Song of the Year: “Not Ready to Make Nice,” Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison and Dan Wilson (Dixie Chicks).

New Artist: Carrie Underwood.

Female R&B Vocal Performance: “Be Without You,” Mary J. Blige.

Pop Vocal Album: “Continuum,” John Mayer.

Pop Collaboration With Vocals: “For Once in My Life,” Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder.

Country Album: “Taking the Long Way,” Dixie Chicks.

Rap Album: “Release Therapy,” Ludacris.

Rock Album: “Stadium Arcadium,” Red Hot Chili Peppers.

R&B Album: “The Breakthrough,” Mary J. Blige.

Producer of the Year, Non-Classical: Rick Rubin.

Traditional Pop Vocal Album: “Duets: an American Classic,” Tony Bennett.

Female Pop Vocal Performance: “Ain’t No Other Man,” Christina Aguilera.

Male Pop Vocal Performance: “Waiting on the World to Change,” John Mayer.

Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal: “My Humps,” Black Eyed Peas.

Pop Instrumental Performance: “Mornin’,” George Benson (& Al Jarreau).

Pop Instrumental Album: “Fingerprints,” Peter Frampton.

Rock Instrumental Performance: “The Wizard Turns On … ,” the Flaming Lips.

Rock Song: “Dani California,” Flea, John Frusciante, Anthony Kiedis and Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers);

Solo Rock Vocal Performance: “Someday Baby,” Bob Dylan.

Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal: “Dani California,” Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Hard Rock Performance: “Woman,” Wolfmother.

Metal Performance: “Eyes of the Insane,” Slayer.

Alternative Music Album: “St. Elsewhere,” Gnarls Barkley.

Dance Recording: “Sexy Back,” Justin Timberlake and Timbaland.

Electronic/Dance Album: “Confessions on a Dance Floor,” Madonna.

Rap Solo Performance: “What You Know,” T.I.

Rap Performance by a Duo or Group: “Ridin,” Chamillionaire featuring Krayzie Bone.

Rap/Sung Collaboration: “My Love,” Justin Timberlake featuring T.I.

Rap Song: “Money Maker,” Christopher Bridges and Pharrell Williams (Ludacris featuring Pharrell).

Urban/Alternative Performance: “Crazy,” Gnarls Barkley.

Male R&B Vocal Performance: “Heaven,” John Legend.

R&B Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals: “Family Affair,” (Sly and the Family Stone), John Legend, Joss Stone With Van Hunt.

Traditional R&B Vocal Performance: “God Bless the Child,” George Benson and Al Jarreau featuring Jill Scott.

R&B Song: “Be Without You,” Johnta Austin, Mary J. Blige, Bryan-Michael Cox and Jason Perry (Mary J. Blige).

Contemporary R&B Album: “B’Day,” Beyonce.

Traditional Blues Album: “Risin’ With the Blues,” Ike Turner.

Contemporary Blues Album: “After the Rain,” Irma Thomas.

Female Country Vocal Performance: “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” Carrie Underwood.

Male Country Vocal Performance: “The Reason Why,” Vince Gill.

Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal: “Not Ready to Make Nice,” Dixie Chicks.

Country Collaboration With Vocals: “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles.

Country Instrumental Performance: “Whiskey Before Breakfast,” Bryan Sutton and Doc Watson.

Country Song: “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” Brett James, Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson (Carrie Underwood).

Bluegrass Album: “Instrumentals,” Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder.

Contemporary Jazz Album: “The Hidden Land,” Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.

Jazz Instrumental Solo: “Some Skunk Funk,” Michael Brecker.

Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group: “The Ultimate Adventure,” Chick Corea.

Large Jazz Ensemble Album: “Some Skunk Funk,” Randy Brecker With Michael Brecker, Jim Beard, Will Lee, Peter Erskine, Marcio.

Jazz Vocal Album: “Turned to Blue,” Nancy Wilson.

Instrumental Composition: “A Prayer for Peace,” John Williams, composer (John Williams), from “Munich – Soundtrack.”

Instrumental Arrangement: “Three Ghouls,” Chick Corea, arranger (Chick Corea), from “The Ultimate Adventure.”

Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s): “For Once in My Life,” Jorge Calandrelli, arranger (Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder), from “Duets: an American Classic.”

Gospel Performance: “Victory,” Yolanda Adams.

Gospel Song: “Imagine Me,” Kirk Franklin (Kirk Franklin).

Rock or Rap Gospel Album: “Turn Around,” Jonny Lang.

Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album: “Wherever You Are,” Third Day.

Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album: “Glory Train,” Randy Travis.

Traditional Gospel Album: “Alive in South Africa,” Israel and New Breed.

Contemporary R&B Gospel Album: “Hero,” Kirk Franklin.

Short Form Music Video: “Here It Goes Again,” OK Go.

Long Form Music Video: “Wings for Wheels: The Making of Born to Run,” Bruce Springsteen.

Producer of the Year, Classical: Elaine Martone.

Classical Album: “Mahler: Symphony No. 7,” Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor, Andreas Neubronner, producer (San Francisco Symphony).

Orchestral Performance: “Mahler: Symphony No. 7,” Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor (San Francisco Symphony).

Opera Recording: “Golijov: Ainadamar: Fountain of Tears,” Robert Spano, conductor, Kelley O’Connor and Dawn Upshaw; Valerie Gross and Sid McLauchlan, producers (Women of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra).

Choral Performance: “Part: Da Pacem,” Paul Hillier, conductor (Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir).

Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra): “Messiaen: Oiseaux Exotiques (Exotic Birds),” John McLaughlin Williams, conductor; Angelin Chang (Cleveland Chamber Symphony).

Instrumental Soloist Performance (without Orchestra): “Chopin: Nocturnes,” Maurizio Pollini.

Chamber Music Performance: “Intimate Voices,” Emerson String Quartet.

Small Ensemble Performance: “Padilla: Sun of Justice,” Peter Rutenberg, conductor (Los Angeles Chamber Singers’ Cappella).

Classical Vocal Performance: “Rilke Songs,” Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Peter Serkin), track from Lieberson: Rilke Songs, The Six Realms, Horn Concerto.

Classical Contemporary Composition: “Golijov: Ainadamar: Fountain of Tears,” Osvaldo Golijov (Robert Spano).

Classical Crossover Album: “Simple Gifts,” Bryn Terfel (London Voices; London Symphony Orchestra).

Compilation Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: “Walk the Line,” Joaquin Phoenix and Various Artists.

Score Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: “Memoirs of a Geisha,” John Williams, composer.

Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: “Our Town (From Cars),” Randy Newman (James Taylor).

Musical Show Album: “Jersey Boys.”

Musical Album for Children: “Catch That Train,” Dan Zanes and Friends.

Comedy Album: “The Carnegie Hall Performance,” Lewis Black.

New Age Album: “Amarantine,” Enya.

Traditional Folk Album: “We Shall Overcome – the Seeger Sessions,” Bruce Springsteen.

Contemporary Folk/Americana Album: “Modern Times,” Bob Dylan.

Latin Pop Album (tie): “Adentro,” Arjona. “Limon Y Sal,” Julieta Venegas.

Latin Rock, Alternative or Urban Album: “Amar Es Combatir,” Mana.

Tropical Latin Album: “Directo Al Corazon,” Gilberto Santa Rosa.

Mexican/Mexican-American Album: “Historias De Mi Tierra,” Pepe Aguilar.

Tejano Album: “Sigue El Taconazo,” Chente Barrera.

Norteno Album: “Historias Que Contar,” Los Tigres Del Norte.

Banda Album: “Mas Alla Del Sol,” Joan Sebastian.

Latin Jazz Album: “Simpatico,” the Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri Project.

Native American Music Album: “Dance With the Wind,” Mary Youngblood.

Hawaiian Music Album: “Legends of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar – Live From Maui,” Various Artists.

Reggae Album: “Love Is My Religion,” Ziggy Marley.

Traditional World Music Album: “Blessed,” Soweto Gospel Choir.

Contemporary World Music Album: “Wonder Wheel,” the Klezmatics.

Polka Album: “Polka in Paradise,” Jimmy Sturr and His Orchestra.

Spoken Word Album for Children: “Blah Blah Blah: Stories About Clams, Swamp Monsters, Pirates and Dogs,” Bill Harley.

Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books and Story Telling). (Tie): “Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis (Jimmy Carter),” Jimmy Carter. “With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together (Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee),” Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.

Recording Package: “10,000 Days,” Adam Jones, art director (Tool).

Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package: “Stadium Arcadium,” Flea, John Frusciante, Anthony Kiedis, Chad Smith and Matt Taylor, art directors (Red Hot Chili Peppers).

Album Notes: “If You Got to Ask, You Ain’t Got It!” Dan Morgenstern, album notes writer (Fats Waller).

Historical Album: “Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry 1891-1922.”

Engineered Album, Classical: “Elgar: Enigma Variations; Britten: the Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Four Sea Interludes,” Michael Bishop, engineer (Paavo Jarvi and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra).

Engineered Album, Non-Classical: “At War With the Mystics,” the Flaming Lips and Dave Fridmann, engineers (The Flaming Lips).

Remixed Recording, Non-Classical: “Talk (Thin White Duke Mix),” Jacques Lu Cont, remixer (Coldplay).

Surround Sound Album: “Morph the Cat,” Darcy Proper, surround mastering.

— Mike Breen

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3 Comments on “The Grammys 2007: The View From My Couch”

  1. Nice work, Mike. Those of us who could only stomach a few minutes appreciate your, uh, stamina.

    And this…”Who’s your daddy, Eddie Blazonczyk?”…I’m still laughing.

    I thought the Police were cool. I figured they’d do “Roxanne,” but was desperately hoping for something else. Still, it was a different version I’ve ever heard before (and I’m pretty sure I’ve heard most of them), and they sounded it good. I’m hoping they do some sort of pay-per-view where you can order the “Stew-Cam” and just watch him drum all night.

    The Aguilera bit made me sick — isn’t this the second or third year the Grammys had a white person sing a classic black song? Squealing doesn’t equal soul, babe.

    And Lionel Ritchie, wow….

  2. Great Coverage! I can’t believe I read through the entire thing. I too watched the entire award show, but for the first time in several years, i was not impressed with the performances. There were a few that stood out. I have to disagree with you about Beyonce. She is an underrated singer; she just needed a better song. Though I love Mary J. Blige, she does not seem to hold the same weight when performing live. I too love her styles and Beyonce could learn a thing or too from her.

    The best performance, by far, was Christina Agularia’s “It’s a man’s world” in tribute to the late James Brown. It was the first time that I have seen her let it all out. Even Jamiee Foxx, notorious for criticizing performers who either lip-sync or “do not perform to a T” was visibly impressed following her performance.

    In addition, I am surprised that you used so many “some actress” when describing some big hitters in pop culture. For example-the actresses that gave “The Grateful Dead their Lifetime Achievement thing” star on the TV show “How I met your mother” and one of whom became famous with her band-camp renditions in the movie “American Pie”.

  3. barb Says:

    thank you, thank you! i watched about 75 % of it, but still got a laugh from reading your summary. when i was your age , it was the 60s. so i was into most all the performers, except the Dixies. smokey is finally getting old. christina was unbelievable ….loved it. Kudos for you getting thru all the good, bad and ugly….and with a pen , no less!

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