the show was full of good music. The 18 performances (by such artists as a fully-clothed Fiona Apple, a seemingly-mellowed Bob Dylan and the cryogenically preserved Fleetwood Mac) proved that a wide variety of songs can gain a certain freshness during a live performance. Here are some of the show’s highlights, followed by a list of the top winners:
Best Performance: So Pavarotti — like Barbra Streisand — gets the killer flu that knocks them both off the show at the last minute. Of course, iron maiden Celine Dion is there to fill in for Barbra. But who can replace Luciano’s pipes? Would you believe… Aretha Franklin? Belting out an Italian opera song, she’s the night’s only performer with the ability to sprout goosebumps all over Radio City Music Hall.
Rowdiest Moments: Just before Shawn Colvin’s about to get her first award, Wu Tang’s Old Dirty Bastard bumrushes the stage to make a pitch for rap music. Later, a barechested guy with “Soy Bomb” written on his stomach jumps onstage and dances around Bob Dylan during his performance. Tsk. Tsk. Where do these people think they are? At a rock concert?
Best Entrance: Though Will Smith’s win in the rap category proves that the Grammy presenters still don’t have a clue about hip-hop, you’ve got to hand it to Smith (and the set designer) for his grand entrance. He lands onstage in a space ship that looks more like a Hollywood special effect than a theater in mid-town Manhattan.
Cruelest Timing: They invite LeAnn Rimes to sing “How Do I Live?”, then two minutes later they give the award for Best Female Country Vocal to Trisha Yearwood — who wins for her rendition of the same dang song. Thinking back to the hopeful look on Rimes’s face as they announce the nominees, it makes you wonder why they couldn’t factor human feelings into their award-giving.
Best Sign of Prosperity on the Internet: Every minute of ad time during the Grammys must cost a skidillion dollars, and three commercial web sites — Amazon.com, cdnow.com, and musicboulevard.com — all have enough cash to buy air time.
Second Best Scene Stealer: In two minutes at the show’s end, Bette Midler brings more life (and better jokes) to the stage than Kelsey Grammer offers in three hours. Next year, maybe they can trade places?
Best Scene Stealer: After the show, the local news comes on, and we find out that Tommy Lee has been arrested for allegedly beating Pamela Lee. After that shocker, who cares about the Grammys?
And now, the winners:
Record of the year
“Sunny Came Home,” Shawn Colvin
Album of the year
“Time Out of Mind,” Bob Dylan
Song of the year
“Sunny Came Home,” Shawn Colvin & John Leventhal
Best new artist
“Building a Mystery,” Sarah McLachlan
“Candle in the Wind 1997,” Elton John
Duo or group with vocals
”Virtual Insanity,” Jamiroquai
“Hourglass,” James Taylor
Collaboration with vocals
”Don’t Look Back,” John Lee Hooker with Van Morrison
”Last Dance,” Sarah McLachlan
”Carry On,” Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder
”Tony Bennett on Holiday,” Tony Bennett
“Criminal,” Fiona Apple
“Cold Irons Bound,” Bob Dylan
Duo or group with vocal
”One Headlight,” The Wallflowers
”The End Is the Beginning Is the End,” The Smashing Pumpkins
”Block Rockin’ Beats,” Chemical Brothers
”One Headlight,” Jakob Dylan
”Blue Moon Swamp,” John Fogerty
”OK Computer,” Radiohead
‘On and On,” Erykah Badu
“I Believe I Can Fly,” R. Kelly
”No Diggity,” Blackstreet
”I Believe I Can Fly,” R. Kelly
“Baduizm,” Erykah Badu
“Men in Black,” Will Smith
“I’ll Be Missing You,” Puff Daddy & Faith Evans featuring 112
“No Way Out,” Puff Daddy & The Family
“How Do I Live?” Trisha Yearwood
“Pretty Litle Adriana,” Vince Gill
Music video, short
”Got ‘Till It’s Gone,” Janet Jackson, Mark Romanek, video director
Music video, long
”Jagged Little Pill, Live,” Alanis Morissette, Steve Purcell, video directors
”Living on Polka Time,” Jimmy Sturr