Story By: G. H. HARDING
Ringo Starr

GRAMMY DEAREST --- It was another old school vs. new school night at The Grammy's - their 56th broadcast - last night. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr sat front and center and were probably as bemused as most of the crowd, there and at home, by the rather bizarre performances from Katy Perry, Lorde (who did win Song of the Year), and even Pink; whose become known as much for her aerial abilities as for her singing. Dangling high above the cavernous Staples Center as she sang; I couldn't help but wonder what safety provisions were being employed. I mean, it’s commendable, but is it safe?

Teen-sensation Hunter Hayes was impressive, but seemed much too young and much too green to snare such a key-performance slot. Jay Z and wife Beyonce opened the show with the latter’s “Drunk In Love.” It was suggestive; somewhat repetitive; but, an opening act?

Director Ken Erhlich went with the staging where there’s a hub of so-called fans (hired?) surrounding the stage area. It’s been use by everyone and I'm kind of surprised he employed it again. Surely, there’s got to be something new by now.

A definite highlight was the combined talents of Chicago with Robin Thicke. Chicago’s professionalism was no match for Mr. Thicke; a close listen shows he was singing a bit off-key along with Chicago’s Robert (Skinny Boy) Lamm. Funnily enough, it was announced that the group’s very-first album Chicago Transit Authority (April 1969) has been elected to the Grammy’s Hall of Fame; not sure what that means, but the honor was long overdue.

New Zealand-sensation Lorde performed her “Royals,” which went on to win Song of the Year. Was her performance somewhat freakish, or was I missing something. Maybe this year’s Sinead O’Connor? Her real name is after all Ella Yelich O'Connor.

Nile Rodgers, who has been a pivotal force in the business for years (Chic, Sister Sledge, David Bowie), re-emerged this year with his work with the French-robots Daft Punk with Pharrel Williams. His Random Access Memory won for Album of the Year (“Get Lucky” won for Record of the Year) and the performance with Stevie Wonder (where "Lucky" segued seamlessly into Wonder’s “For You”) was without question the musical highlight of the year. It was the best use of Wonder I've ever seen and let me be the first to posit Rodgers doing an entire album with him. It would make perfect sense.

I've not heard their full album, but with talents like Giorgio Moroder and Paul Williams involved ... I really want to now.

Williams joked that "back when I was drinking, I would imagine things that weren't there and I'd get frightened. Then I got sober and two robots called and asked me to make an album."

"Captain Kirk uses the Enterprise. They sail on a ship called Generosity," Williams continued about the duo. "This is a labor of love and we are all so grateful."

That performance is what the Grammy’s should be about.

Ringo performed “Photograph” with an ad-hoc band led by bassist/producer Don Was and featuring guitarists Steve Lukather and Peter Frampton and drummer Kenny Arnoff. For the record: a great, great George Harrison song.

McCartney performed, with Ringo, “Queenie Eye” from the former’s recent New album. It’s a good song, not great and in retrospect a rather odd choice. Why not a Beatles' song?They came together at the end for the requisite hug. Unquestionably the emotional highlight of the show.

Sara Bareillis performed with Carole King. Another magical moment.

Actor of the moment Jared Leto appeared to give a tribute to the late-Lou Reed.

Also, Mackelmore & Lewis’ performance ("Same Love"), where 33 couples were married, by Queen Latifah and Madonna (looking more and more like Dolly Parton; cane and all!), another highlight. It was a good show, not the best I've ever seen, but a good one.

KING CAROLE --- Carole King was presented with the MusiCares Person of the Year Award on Friday in Los Angeles with a full night of her music performed from stars from all eras.

Among the many highlights of the night was Lady Gaga's performance of “You've Got a Friend” which Roger Friedman at Showbiz411 said "just blew everyone away with an intimate, throaty, bluesy version of King’s greatest song." Billboard also cited the pairings of Miguel and Kacey Musgraves on “Crying in the Rain” and Jakob Dylan and Louise Goffin's “Goin' Back” as being other highlights.

Also on hand were the four women that were the subject of the Academy Award nominated documentary Twenty Feet From Stardom, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill and Darlene Love. The four women performed "Way Over Yonder" from the Tapestry album. Overall, nine of the twelve tracks from that groundbreaking album were performed over the night with only the title song, “Smackwater Jack” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” omitted.

King, closed the night including a duet with James Taylor on a medley of “Sweet Seasons” and “Hey Girl.”

CLOSING NOTES --- Last night I took to Twitter to follow the Grammy's and enjoyed immensely the tweets from former L. A. Times journalist Ann Powers. She said at one point: Lorde will be 18 by the time this show is over! Hilarious …

How could NARAS' Neil Portnow have omitted The Monkees from Carole King's MusicCares dinner? We thought it was just Jann Wenner ... shameless! Micky Dolenz even put out an album of King's songs way four years back, called King For A Day ...

New York-nutritionist Sophia Aslanis told us that Super Bowl Sunday was the second biggest day of over-eating; second only to Thanksgiving ...

Congrats to our friend, the brilliant bassist Will Lee on being inducted into the Musician's Hall of Fame. I've known Will since the days of The Brecker Brothers Band. Well-deserved for sure...

February 9 is 50th years since The Beatles arrived ...


Some Other Guy said…
I thought Mackelmore & Lewis’ wedding song was Same Love, not Thrift Shop.
James Edstrom said…
Thanks, correction made.....