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Years — and tattoos — separate Grammys

POSTED: February 28, 2008 5:01 a.m.

I watched a good portion of last week’s Grammy awards on television. I’m still trying to figure out why.

In a previous portion of my life, I used to spin records on the radio. I was licensed to operate both AM and FM stations by the federal government. I used to read the trade magazines, and I knew who was hot and who was not. I knew country, soul, rock and even a few folks in jazz.

I did not know polka, although we did watch the Lawrence Welk Show, where a toe-tapping polka was likely to break out at any given moment.

Today, I am clueless about the current music scene. Although I didn’t ask, I think my newspaper was well served by not sending me to the recent Grammy awards in Los Angeles.

Amy Winehouse is a young woman who won several Grammys. Amy’s big song is about not wanting to go into rehab. However, Amy could not attend the Grammy awards because she was in rehab and the U.S. would not grant her a visa.

Amy has the kind of eye makeup that I last saw on a truck stop waitress in 1969. It’s that cat-eye look with a swath of black stuff that looks like it was done by a really fat marker. She has a tattoo on her arm that I last saw on a trucker at the aforementioned truck stop. It’s a woman in a rather provocative pose.

Then come the rappers.

I have tried, but I can only understand about every fourth word in rap numbers. It is usually a word that you don’t say in Sunday school.

What I really don’t understand is the acceptance speeches. Oh, I understand what they are saying, but can’t figure out why.

Some guy with a rap song that talks about a woman’s derriere or forcing her to do something she doesn’t want to do, gets up and thanks God for his big win.

Once again, I am not speaking for the Almighty, but I just have a hard time believing that God had anything to do with a major rap hit.

If, on the other hand, you are competing in the gospel category, that might be a more plausible scenario.

Other people who get thanked at these things usually includes one’s mama.

A singer by the name of Kanye West, did a tribute to his mama, who died last year while getting plastic surgery.

Kanye went to the barber and had "Mama" shaved across the back of his head in time for the big Grammy show.

I love my mama, but I haven’t thought about shaving her name on my head or getting a tattoo with her name on it. I’m very content to just mention her in a column and visit her grave from time to time.

I was happy to see some people I recognized. Tony Bennett was a presenter, as was Andy Williams.

They also brought out Keely Smith, who along with the late Louis Prima won a Grammy 50 years earlier. They tried a reprise of the performance with Kid Rock paired with Smith. You’ve got to wonder if it just went over their heads that they had Andy Williams and Tony Bennett in the same room.

Well, there you have it, my take on the Grammys. Come back a few weeks from now and I’ll tell you about the Oscars, a program honoring movies without a plot.

Harris Blackwood is community editor of The Times. His columns appear Wednesdays and Sundays.



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