I am surrounded by people with great knowledge of music and some spirited debates occur as a result. I just came across this submission in my emails and absolutely had to post it. Thank you to Brett Bickley who so eloquently pens what I know a lot of us are still feeling…
Dear Grammys … Really?
For real music fans, the yearly broadcast of the Grammy Awards is like being forced to watch the thing you love the most, cheapened and exploited like some sort of shallow painted-up inflatable love doll. You know how some New Jerseyians would cross broken glass on their knees for season Giants tickets? I would do the same thing for Led Zeppelin to reunite. The 3 1/2 hour wankfest that is the National Recording Arts and Sciences yearly broadcast of this, it’s complete disregard for real musicians and artists, and was able to come across even more pathetic than usual. Not an easy task.
Starting things off, of course, was the “800-pound gorilla in the room”: Whitney Houston’s death the day before. A tragedy. Know what’s an even bigger tragedy? How none of her family and friends or business associates didn’t step in very recently and have this poor, sick woman put away for her own safety. The news stories and video is readily available. Whitney had been looking more and more in need of help as the past week went on, and NONE of those people could have found a doctor and said, “Hey, we have got to get her serious help, please”? That’s the tragedy.
How many of you know that that this year, the Grammys cut their categories from 109 to 78? And, did you know that the majority of those eliminated categories were related to world and root music? Those being the very forms and styles of music that our families and ancestors brought here to America when they arrived. The majority of these categories were populated by musicians and artists that 95 percent of you have never heard of, but they work hard, write beautiful music, and have as much a right to be nominated and celebrated for their art as much as the Justin Biebers of the world.
Congratulations to The Allman Brothers Band for receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award. You say you don’t remember seeing it? Oh, that’s right! It wasn’t broadcast! The Allman Brothers Band. An American musical dynasty. These guys make John Mellencamp look like a Socialist. They created an entire musical genre: Southern Rock. Understand? No Allman Brothers Band, no “Freebird.” The Brothers receiving an award for over 30 years of performing and going through every flame of brimstone and fire you can experience in the music business and is not only going strong, but as good as they were when Duane was alive. Americans should be proud of artists like this. How good are the Allman Brothers? Three of them released solo albums this past year and all three got nominated for Grammys. I know. The ironing.
So, The Brothers receive their award that afternoon and what does America get 15 minutes of? Chris Brown. That’s right. No TV time for Gregg and the boys but the guy who almost beat his celebrity girlfriend to death in a car a few years ago gets a tight 15 minutes of prime time. Gee. Thanks. “Hey, kids, I wanted you to see one of the coolest bands to ever play rock and roll do a song after winning their big award but instead we’re going watch the poster child for domestic violence shake his booty and lip sync for awhile.”
So, Grammys … On behalf of all the REAL music fans out here: throw us a bone. Maybe realize that the quality music out there isn’t being pushed down the American consumers’ throats by ClearChannel on the radio and MTV. It’s being played in garages and basements all over the world.
~ Words by Brett Bickley