"Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force in the 20th century."

(Leonard Bernstein)


"If you're an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary; If you're not an Elvis fan, no explanation is possible."

(George Klein)


"For a dead man, Elvis Presley is awfully noisy."

(Professor Gilbert B. Rodman)


"History has him as this good old country boy, Elvis is about as country as Bono!"

(Jerry Schilling)






Grammys - The emptiest show in town

Will the Grammys actually honor the best in music from this past year? Don't hold your breath on this one.

By Michael Ordona

Green Day, led by Billie Joe Armstrong, is nominated for record of the year, album of the year and best rock album. In 1984, Prince and the Revolution's Purple Rain faced a stiff challenge for the album-of-the-year Grammy from Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. So which one won? Why, Lionel Richie's Can't Slow Down, of course. Qué? Well, that was clearly just a bizarre and disgusting aberration.

For instance, in 2001, Radiohead's brilliant Kid A faced off against Eminem's Marshall Mathers LP and Beck's highly regarded Midnite Vultures. The winner? That's right, Steely Dan's Two Against Nature, the flickering specter of their greatness of 20 years earlier. Yes, indeed, it's time once again for the Grammys (Feb. 13) - the most ridiculous and dunderheaded of all the major awards.

Did you know that Jimi Hendrix never won one? Or Led Zeppelin? Any time the Oscars fête an "Out of Africa" or "A Beautiful Mind," the Academy Awards look at the Grammys and don't feel quite so out of touch. Anyway, it's not as if anyone who's paying attention expects the Recording Academy to make any sense. What real music fan takes Grammy wins as any indication of quality?

The most daring works almost never win, with the top awards predictably going to either the flavor of the month or some once-great artist now long past it. Besides, what's up with this album of the year - record of the year - song of the year thing? How many people understand the difference among those three? Why was Coldplay's "Clocks" last year's record of the year but Luther Vandross' "Dance with My Father" song of the year? But at least the sober professionals of the Recording Academy recognize greatness over time, don't they?

During a career that most music fans agree was pretty good, The Beatles collected a grand total of four trophies. Elvis Presley, who also didn't suck, totaled three - all for religious albums. But Celine Dion has five and Whitney Houston has six. So they are clearly better than The Beatles and Elvis (although the Beatles did add three more, including two for videos, 26 years after they broke up).

Hall of famers Elvis Costello and David Bowie each have a total of one, as does Nirvana. Michael Bolton, meanwhile, has two.

Among those to never win a Grammy: Chuck Berry, Queen, Little Richard, Talking Heads and The Who.

The awards have not exactly been the bellwether of enduring talent, as the dependably embarrassing best-new-artist category demonstrates. Milli Vanilli, anyone? How about Men at Work, Arrested Development or Paula Cole?

Even when they get it right, they get it wrong. In 2001, Nashville outsider Shelby Lynne picked up the new-artist prize for her arresting I Am Shelby Lynne album. Apparently the six or so albums she released before that didn't count.

The Grammys routinely award sales and career achievement, consistently ignoring the challenging and cutting-edge (see Bob Dylan's Time Out of Mind vs. Radiohead's OK Computer in 1998). It will soon be seen how many sentimental laurels the torpid Ray Charles duets collection, Genius Loves Company receives.

Or perhaps Usher's mega-selling Confessions, Alicia Keys' forgettable The Diary of Alicia Keys, or Green Day's overrated American Idiot will rule the day. All that seems certain is that the winner will be all-but-forgotten soon enough. In the meantime, Rolling Stone, Vibe, your friends and neighbors and any guy on the street are better bets to recognize quality music than the emptiest show in town.

(Spotlight/Article, Source: Daily Trojan Online, 10 Feb 2005)




FTD: Kid Galahad
Love, Elvis
CD: Dirty Laundry
FTD: Follow That Dream
CD: We Have Not Rehearsed Them
Book: The Presley Arrangement
Book: Rough Guide to Elvis
CD: Continuing Story of Memory Records
FTD: On Tour Rehearsals
Book: The Elvis Album
CD: Christmas Peace
Book: The Memphis Lullaby
DVD: '68 Comeback Special
DVD: Elvis In Concert (3 hour version)
DVD: This Is Elvis
Hugh Jarrett (Jordanaires)
Elvis vs. wrestler Jerry Lawler!
It's time for an "Elvis' Greatest Hits" DVD!
SFX filing to buy EPE
Thank God 1981 sale of EPE didn't happen
Sale of EPE - good or bad?
Bridge over troubled water
New owner of EPE
Elvis Fans - The Following
Redefining Elvis
How did Elvis die?
Elvis Film Bio
500 million fans can't be wrong?
Bill Burk
Lisa Presley on EPE sale
Larry King transcipt
Red & Sonny West
Paul Simpson
Ed Bonja (Part 2)
Ernst Jorgensen
Phil Aitcheson (Presley Commission)
Did you miss?
Online Elvis Symposium
Exclusive excerpts from "The King Is Dead"
All about Lisa Presley
All about Graceland
FTD review- Elvis: New Year's Eve
DVD Review: Elvis Presley The Last 24 Hours
Elvis vs. Bing: who really was The King?


Elvis Odd Spot (updated 31 Dec 2004)