Daily Archives: February 5, 2024

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Song of the Day #2089

Song of the Day: Seven Years in Tibet (“Soundtrack Suite”) [YouTube link], composed by John Williams, features the melodic cello of Yo Yo Ma. Written for the 1997 film starring Brad Pitt, the score is a sweeping orchestral testament to the composer’s remarkable legacy.

Grammy Awards 2024

The Grammy Awards show is always a mixed bag. So many of the Awards are presented in the pre-show that you’d better have access to Wikipedia to get the full list of nominees and winners—though the Grammy site was streaming the pre-show on its platform. I was happy to see that among those pre-show winners was composer John Williams. Yesterday, I highlighted “Helena’s Theme” in the first of a multiday tribute to the maestro, part of my 20th Annual Film Music February Festival. And last night, he took home his twenty-sixth Grammy Award for that selection, which won for “Best Instrumental Composition”.

Long gone are the days when the show would feature classical or jazz artists to exhibit the breadth of the categories honored. But still, there were many entertaining performances—from Dua Lipa’s energetic opening medley and Miley Cyrus’s “Flowers” mic drop to Billie Eilish’s Song of the Year rendering of “What Was I Made For?” from the “Barbie” soundtrack.

Still, I’ve gotta give props to the veterans, who gave us the most riveting moments in the show. Tracy Chapman teaming up with Luke Combs for “Fast Car” was a surprise duet. Especially touching was the “In Memoriam” segment, in which the late Tony Bennett was honored with two songs sung by Stevie Wonder: “For Once in My Life” (in which Stevie dueted with a clip from Bennett’s live performance of it in the Grammy tribute to “Songs in the Key of Life”) and “The Best is Yet to Come”. That was followed by Annie Lennox’s emotionally stirring rendition of “Nothing Compares 2 U”, in tribute to the late Sinead O’Connor and Jon Batiste’s tribute to music executive Clarence Avant. The segment concluded with Fantasia Barrino’s rousing cover of “Proud Mary” in tribute to the late Tina Turner.

Billy Joel’s return to the Grammy stage with his first new song (“Turn the Lights Back On”) in thirty years along with his closing rendition of “You May Be Right” was a treat. And seeing an ailing Celine Dion emerge on the Grammy stage to a standing ovation to present the Album of the Year Award was quite moving. Taylor Swift made history by winning that award—the fourth time she has done so, outdistancing Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, and Paul Simon, all of whom had three Album of the Year Grammy Awards to their credit. (Yes, yes, of course, this is only the first half of a psyop in which Taylor Swift takes Album of the Year and her boyfriend Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs win the Super Bowl before endorsing Joe Biden for President. If you can’t keep up with conspiracy theory nowadays, get with the program!)

Still, for me, the most poignant moment had to be Joni Mitchell’s performance of “Both Sides, Now” from her 1969 album, “Clouds”. At 80 years old, having had a lifetime of health challenges, this was Mitchell’s first live Grammy performance. The jazz-infused arrangement included accompaniment from Brandi Carlile, Jacob Collier, Lucius, Blake Mills, Allison Russell and SistaStrings. She also took home the Grammy prize for Best Folk Album (“Joni Mitchell at Newport”).

Congratulations to all the winners at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards!