Here are some thoughts on the 54th Grammys.
As one could imagine Whitney Houston was on the minds of everyone involved in the proceedings. Host LL Cool J read a prayer for her and later in the show Jennifer Hudson sang a stirring rendition of “I Will Always Love You.”
Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt also paid tribute to the recently departed Etta James with their rendition of “A Sunday Kind of Love.”
Taylor Swift gave a well received performance for her song “Mean” but I would have preferred to hear more of The Civil Wars, the country-folk duo who introduced young Ms. Swift.
Tonight was a triumph for the British singer Adele who won six Grammys and made her first public performance since having surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital here in Boston to remove a benign pollop on her vocal cords. She sang her monster hit “Rolling in the Deep” to a warm and rapturous standing ovation.
The Beach Boys reunited with Brian Wilson and were joined by Maroon 5 and Foster the People. Wilson’s vocals seemed off but Mike Love kept it together on “Good Vibrations” and the audience was sharing in them.
I also enjoyed the tribute to Glen Campbell. The Band Perry, a trio with which I was heretofore unfamiliar, performed a wonderful version of “Gentle on My Mind” while Blake Shelton did justice to “Southern Nights” before Campbell sang “Rhinestone Cowboy.” While the effects of his Alzheimers is apparent, the man can still sing and I’m glad he’s going out on his own terms. I will be seeing him in concert when he comes to Boston next week.
Stevie Wonder made a surprise appearance. After paying tribute to Whitney Houston he played a few bars of “Love Me Do” on harmonica before introducing Paul McCartney. The former Beatle sang “My Valentine”, a Cole Porter like tune from his newly released album Kisses on the Bottom. Accompanying Sir Paul was former Eagle Joe Walsh on guitar and Diana Krall on piano.
McCartney returned at the end of the show to perform a portion of the classic Medley from Abbey Road – “Golden Slumbers”, “Carry That Weight” and “The End” with a little guitar help from Walsh, Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl of The Foo Fighters.
And in the end I am left with a question. We are still singing Beatles, Beach Boys and Glen Campbell songs nearly half a century after they were first recorded. Will we be still be “Rolling in the Deep” a half century from now?