50th annual Grammy awards

By Robert Kallwass
February 21, 2008

Lee Hulteng/mct

The 50th annual Grammy’s took place on Sunday, Feb. 10 at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. Nominations for awards were announced on Dec. 6, 2007.

Niel Portnow, president of the National Academy of the Recording Arts and Sciences, gave a speech honoring the 50th award show. He exemplified the vast amounts of awards that the academy has given out saying, “The Recording Academy has awarded 7,578 Grammy’s. And tonight, we’ll be handing out almost 400 more in 110 categories. Fifty years of awarding excellence is an extraordinary milestone.” Portnow continued in saying how the academy honors its musicians and “helps those in need.”

“We advocate for the rights of our music community in Washington, D.C., and all across the country. This year, we will fight to pass legislation to once and for all ensure that, just like in every other developed country in the world, all music creators are compensated for their performances when played on traditional radio,” Portnow said about his work to give aid to musicians.

Singer Amy Winehouse took home five awards including “Best New Artist.” Winehouse, with six nominations, was unable to attend the ceremony in Las Angeles because she could not enter the United States. Her visa did not arrive in time for her to make it to the event, but she gave live performances from London, which were sent over satellite to the Staples Center.

Kanye West won four awards, winning “Best Rap Album” for his album “Graduation,” and “Best Solo Rap Song” with his hit “Stronger.” Kanye West and Daft Punk put on a very flashy performance of “Stronger” at the ceremony, followed by “Hey Mama” accompanied by a string orchestra.

“I think Kanye West did not deliver a good acceptance speech, and I do not think Amy Winehouse deserved to win all the awards that she did,” sophomore psychology major Kerri MacNeal said.

Montreal’s French circus group, Cirque du Soleil, performed early in the evening, doing a rendition of their show “Love” based on the music of the Beatles. Normally making their own music, the Circus collaborated with the producer of the majority of Beatles albums, Sir George Martin, in order to rework the songs to create a very unique and stunning show.

Former bassist and keyboardist for Led Zeppelin, John Paul Jones, directed the Grammy Philharmonic Orchestra to play “The Pretender” with the Foo Fighters, the song that won “Best Hard Rock Performance”.

Jazz musician Herbie Hancock who won “Best Contemporary Jazz Album” with his CD “River: The Joni Letters” got together with pianist Lang Lang, and a full orchestra for a cover of “Rhapsody in Blue,” a piece written by George Gershwin. The mood changed as more classical and instrumental performances swept the Grammy’s ceramony.

To end the evening, musicians Little Richard, John Fogerty and Jerry Lee Lewis got together on stage to perform dazzling renditions of “Comin’ Down the Road” written by Fogerty, “Great Balls of Fire” by Lewis, and finally ending the show with Little Richard’s “Good Golly Miss Molly”.

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Robert Kallwass

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