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Grammy Award Hopefuls Include a Few Surprises

ENTRIES for the 31st annual Grammy Awards, coming later this month, reached a record high this year - 6,800 in 76 categories. Elbowing the repeaters and probable shoe-ins for awards are a few surprises. A pleasant surprise in the jazz category is Betty Carter's nomination for her album ``Look What I Got.'' Ms. Carter has been around for a very long time, singing really innovative jazz, and this is her first nomination.

Although it's no surprise that Tracy Chapman was nominated in six categories, including Album of the Year, the success of this no-nonsense urban folk balladeer's debut album caught everyone off guard last year.

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For Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male, the '60s veterans dominate: Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker, and Robbie Robertson.

The Beach Boys are also back, with ``Kokomo'' up for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. They haven't gotten a Grammy nomination since 1966.

``World beat,'' or ``ethno-pop,'' music is starting to creep into the Grammys, in the Folk category. Among those nominated are the Bulgarian State Female Vocal Choir, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and an album called ``Homeland: A Collection of Black South African Music.''

Two new categories have been added to the Grammys: Hard Rock/Heavy Metal, and Rap.

Surprisingly, none of the mainstream ``glam'' bands were nominated in the metal division - no Bon Jovis, no Cinderellas. Instead, the thrash/speed metal band Metallica and the controversial groups AC/DC and Jane's Addiction led the pack. The rap nominations, on the other hand, are pretty tame, with D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's comical song ``Parents Just Don't Understand'' a likely first-place winner.

Choices will be announced at the Grammy Awards Show, which will be telecast live on CBS from Los Angeles on Feb. 22, 8-11 p.m. E.T.

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