The folks behind the Grammy Awards, which are scheduled to take place February 26 in New York City, like to think that their statuettes go to the best and brightest talents in the musical firmament. But a look back at past presentations suggests that quality only rarely has anything to do with Grammy success. Any contest in which Phil Collins excels--his No Jacket Required was named Best Album of 1985--can't be taken all that seriously. But when it comes to the Grammys, undeserving victors are part of the fun.
To celebrate this year's bash, we at Backbeat have devised the following quiz--one that's designed to reward you for your familiarity with the Grammys' curious history. The reader with the highest score on this trivial test will win all four volumes of Grammy's Greatest Moments, a CD series on Atlantic Records that features performances from Grammy telecasts; artists include everyone from Los Lobos and Bonnie Raitt to Christopher Cross and Rick Springfield. Send your answers to Westword, c/o Backbeat Contest, 1621 18th Street, Denver 80202; fax them to us at 296-5416; or e-mail them to our editorial assistant, Laurie Cicotello, at Laurie_Cicotello@westword.com. (no phone calls, please.) In the case of a tie, the individual whose responses reach us first will appear in next week's edition of Westword.
Have fun -- and may the person in possession of the most useless information win.
1. Elvis Costello came up short in the 1978 Best New Artist contest. What act took the prize?
A. The Cars
B. A Taste of Honey
C. Chris Rea
2. This winner of the 1961 Grammy for Best Male Vocals was hailed at the time as "the Sinatra of the Sixties." Name him.
A. Jack Jones
B. Al Martino
C. Steve Lawrence
D. Andy Williams
3. Milli Vanilli was stripped of its 1989 Best New Artist Grammy because members Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan didn't do their own singing. What does "Milli Vanilli" mean in Turkish?
A. "Beautiful soul"
B. "Positive energy"
C. "Higher Power"
4. In 1981, this performer won Grammys as both a pop and a jazz vocalist. Who is he?
A. Bobby McFerrin
B. George Benson
C. Al Jarreau
D. Mel Torme
5. "Classical Gas" won three Grammys in 1968. Who performed this smash one-shot?
A. Hugo Montenegro
B. Barbara Acklin
C. Jake Hess
D. Mason Williams
6. In 1983, Michael Jackson set the mark for the most Grammys won in a single year, with eight. The previous record was six, set in 1965 by what act?
A. The Beatles
B. Frank Sinatra
C. Roger Miller
D. Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
7. In 1971, Kris Kristofferson won his first Grammy for writing what song?
A. "Me and Bobby McGee"
B. "Help Me Make It Through the Night"
C. "For the Good Times"
D. "Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)"
8. Name the winner of 1976's Best Comedy Recording Grammy.
A. "Sleeping Beauty," by Cheech and Chong
B. "You Gotta Wash Your Ass," by Redd Foxx
C. "Bill Cosby Is Not Himself These Days, Rat On, Rat On, Rat On," by Bill Cosby
D. "Bicentennial Nigger," by Richard Pryor
9. Of the following people, whom did U2 guitarist the Edge not thank in accepting a 1987 Grammy?
A. Walt Disney
B. Dr. Ruth Westheimer
C. Michael Collins
D. Morris the Cat
10. In 1977, who inexplicably took the Grammy for Best Gospel Performance, Traditional?
A. The Oak Ridge Boys
B. Kenny Rogers
C. Ronnie Milsap
D. Crystal Gayle
11. What famous artist won the Best Album Package Grammy in 1983?
A. Robert Rauschenberg
B. Andy Warhol
C. Jasper Johns
D. Leroy Neimann
12. The Best Disco Recording Grammy didn't last long. Who won the award in this category in 1979?
A. Earth, Wind & Fire
B. Donna Summer
C. Gloria Gaynor
D. Rod Stewart
13. How many Grammy nominations did Bruce Springsteen receive for his breakthrough album, 1975's Born to Run?
14. Which of the following acts was not nominated for the 1981 Rock Instrumental Performance Grammy?
A. The Police
B. Robert Fripp
C. Frank Zappa
15. What is the better-known name of "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu," which won Record of the Year and Song of the Year baubles in 1958?
B. "La Paloma"
16. Which of these cuts was named Best Rock & Roll Recording in 1962?
A. "Big Girls Don't Cry," by the Four Seasons
B. "Alley Cat," by Bent Fabric
C. "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do," by Neil Sedaka
D. "Up on the Roof," by the Drifters
17. A Hard Day's Night lost the Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV Show Grammy in 1964 to what competitor?
B. The Pink Panther
C. Robin and the Seven Hoods
D. Mary Poppins
18. Roberta Flack won the Record of the Year Grammy two years in a row for "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and "Killing Me Softly With His Song," respectively. In what year did she earn the first of these victories?
19. In 1966, country artists competed in only four categories. Who won in three of them?
A. David Houston
B. Jim Reeves
C. Loretta Lynn
D. Jeannie Seely
20. Which of the following performers has not won at least twenty Grammys?
A. Quincy Jones
B. Sir Georg Solti
C. Bing Crosby
D. Henry Mancini
21. Songwriter Irving Gordon won the Song of the Year Grammy in 1991 for "Unforgettable," a duet between Natalie Cole and her dead father, Nat "King" Cole. When did Nat first have a hit with the tune?
22. What album did Grammy voters call the year's best in 1984?
A. Born in the USA, by Bruce Springsteen
B. Private Dancer, by Tina Turner
C. Can't Slow Down, by Lionel Richie
D. Purple Rain--Music From the Motion Picture, by Prince
23. Composer John Williams won Best Original Score Grammys for three of these four projects. Name the loser.
A. Star Wars
B. The Empire Strikes Back
C. Return of the Jedi
D. Raiders of the Lost Ark
24. For what number did Kenny Loggins win a Song of the Year Grammy in 1979?
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A. "Whenever I Call You 'Friend'"
B. "Keep the Fire"
C. "What a Fool Believes"
D. "I'm Alright"
25. Whom did Debbie Boone think of while singing "You Light Up My Life," which shared the Song of the Year Grammy in 1977?
A. Her husband
B. Her children
C. Her father