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Rookies Win Big in the 38th Grammy Awards Print-ready version

by Jon Pareles
New York Times
February 29, 1996

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 28 - A cheating ex-boyfriend and a voice full of breaks and wails brought four major Grammy Awards to Alanis Morissette, the 21-year-old Canadian songwriter who was the big winner tonight in the 38th annual Grammy Awards. Her "Jagged Little Pill" was named album of the year and best rock album; its first single, "You Oughta Know," was named best rock song and best rock female vocal performance.

"I accept this on behalf of anyone who's ever written a song from a very pure place," Ms. Morissette said.

Receiving an award before the CBS television broadcast, Ms. Morissette's producer and songwriting collaborator, Glen Ballard, said: "It's never easy to make art and commerce at the same time. We opted for art and you've all embraced it, and so has the public at large."

On the program, Ms. Morissette performed "You Oughta Know" not as a rocker, but as a dramatic ballad, backed by a group including a string quartet; CBS silenced an explicit sexual reference. Her award went against a longtime Grammy habit of giving the top award to its pop choices rather than its rock songs.

The 38th annual Grammy Awards tried hard to shake off the show's old stodgy image. "This is not your father's Grammys," proclaimed the host, Ellen DeGeneres. The show, broadcast live on CBS from the Shrine Auditorium here, moved faster than in recent years, and many of the live performances had a gospel-charged fervor; instead of reading typical awards-show banter, presenters often sang. A 25-member panel of music experts had reviewed the nominations to keep them contemporary.

There were a few surprises, too. In many of the 88 categories, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which gives the awards, stayed true to form, rewarding ballads, best sellers, soundtrack songs and many previous winners in 88 categories. Yet Mariah Carey, who was nominated for six awards and had previously won two, was shut out entirely. The awards are selected by 7,300 voting members of the academy.

Hootie and the Blowfish, the folk-rock band whose first major-label album, "Cracked Rear View," has sold 12 million copies, won two awards: best new artist and best pop performance by a duo or group with vocal for its single "Let Her Cry." Although the band has been together for a decade and released three previous albums on independent labels, its guitarist, Mark Bryan, said backstage, "We are rookies in the business." The group was ineligible in some categories because "Cracked Rear View" was released before Oct. 1, 1994, which began the yearlong period of eligibility for the awards given tonight.

The song of the year was Seal's "Kiss From a Rose." It appeared on an album, "Seal," which was nominated for album of the year in 1995, but it was revived by its appearance on the soundtrack of "Batman Forever"; it was also named best pop vocal performance. Asked what the song means, Seal said, "To tell the truth, I don't know what half of my songs are about.

Stevie Wonder, who was given a lifetime achievement award, also won in two competitive categories, male rhythm-and-blues vocal performance and rhythm-and-blues song, with "For Your Love"; he had 17 previous awards.

Kenneth (Babyface) Edmonds, currently the top songwriter and producer of tender ballads, won his sixth Grammy award, as producer of the year for his work with T.L.C., Madonna and others. Vince Gill, with six previous country Grammys, won two more, country song and male country vocal performance, for "Go Rest High on That Mountain," a song about his brother who died three years ago of a heart attack. "It's the first thing I've ever done that really was personal in my career," he said backstage. The gospel singer CeCe Winans won her fourth award; Frank Sinatra, who did not attend the ceremony, won the traditional-pop vocal category for his album "Duets II," his ninth Grammy award.

The saxophonist Michael Brecker and the pianist McCoy Tyner, working together on the album "Impressions," each added a jazz award to his previous three. The guitarist Pat Metheny collected his eighth.

Some performers seemed genuinely startled by their awards. Joni Mitchell, who won the best pop album award for "Turbulent Indigo," had no speech prepared. She also received an award for art direction, best recording package, on that album. Standing alongside the album's other art director, Robbie Cavolina, Ms. Mitchell said, "I would like to thank both our mothers for giving us our first crayons." She added, "I've been contemplating whether to quit music and go into painting, and perhaps I will now." But after winning the pop award, she said backstage, "Now I'm back to the old dilemma."

Ms. Mitchell was part of a Canadian groundswell at this year's Grammys, which included her, Ms. Morissette and Shania Twain, who won the best country album award.

Annie Lennox, who won the female pop vocal award for "No More 'I Love Yous'," proclaimed herself "stunned."

For the first time a rap song, "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio, was nominated as record of the year. It didn't win that award, but it did win as best rap solo performance, and Coolio wanted to make clear that it was not an endorsement of gangster violence: "Ain't no gangstas living in paradise," he said. The song uses the chords of Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise"; backstage, Mr. Wonder said Coolio's lyrics "brought it into the 1990's."

Some major figures in popular music received their first Grammy Awards outside the major categories. Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the songwriting team behind the Coasters as well as songs like Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock," shared an award for best musical show for the revue "Smokey Joe's Cafe." Antonio Carlos Jobim, the Brazilian bossa nova master, received his first Grammy posthumously, although his songs "Desafinado" and "The Girl From Ipanema" won top awards for Stan Getz in the 1960's.

The songwriter Van Morrison received his first Grammy for best pop collaboration with vocals, performing "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You" with the Chieftains. Backstage, Paddy Moloney of the Chieftains described their partnership "a love-hate relationship." And the Allman Brothers, a Southern-rock institution, won the award for rock instrumental for a performance of an old song, "Jessica," from a live album.

Ramblin' Jack Elliott, the folksinger who was a Greenwich Village fixture in the 1960's, won the traditional folk award for his first album after what he called "a 26-year vacation" from recording.

And the Winners Are . . . Single Record: Seal, "Kiss From a Rose"

Album: Alanis Morissette, "Jagged Little Pill"

Song: "Kiss From a Rose"

New Artist: Hootie and the Blowfish

Pop Vocalist, Female: Annie Lennox

Pop Vocalist, Male: Seal

Pop Duo or Group: Hootie and the Blowfish

Pop Collaboration: The Chieftains and Van Morrison

Pop Instrumental Album: "Mariachi Suite," Los Lobos

Pop Album: "Turbulent Indigo," Joni Mitchell

Traditional Pop Album: "Duets II," Frank Sinatra

Rock Vocalist, Female: Alanis Morissette

Rock Vocalist, Male: Tom Petty

Rock, Duo or Group: Blues Traveler

Hard Rock: Pearl Jam

Metal: Nine Inch Nails

Rock Instrumental Album: "Jessica," the Allman Brothers Band

Rock Song: Glen Ballard and Alanis Morissette, "You Oughta Know"

Rock Album: "Jagged Little Pill," Alanis Morissette

Alternative Album: "MTV Unplugged in New York," Nirvana

Rhythm-and-Blues Vocalist, Female: Anita Baker

Rhythm-and-Blues Vocalist, Male: Stevie Wonder

Rhythm-and-Blues, Duo or Group: T.L.C.

Rhythm-and-Blues Song: "For Your Love," Stevie Wonder

Rhythm-and-Blues Album: "CrazySexyCool," T.L.C.

Rap, Solo: Coolio

Rap, Duo or Group: Method Man and Mary J. Blige

Rap Album: "Poverty's Paradise," Naughty by Nature

Country Vocalist, Female: Alison Krauss

Country Vocalist, Male: Vince Gill

Country, Duo or Group: The Mavericks

Country Vocal Collaboration: Shenandoah and Alison Krauss

Country Instrumental Album: "Hightower," Asleep at the Wheel

Country Song: "Go Rest High on That Mountain," Vince Gill

Country Album: "The Woman in Me," Shania Twain

Bluegrass Album: "Unleashed," the Nashville Bluegrass Band

New Age Album: "Forest," George Winston

Contemporary Jazz Album: "We Live Here," Pat Metheny Group

Jazz Vocalist: Lena Horne

Jazz Instrumental Solo "Impressions," Michael Brecker

Jazz Instrumental, Solo or Group: "Infinity," McCoy Tyner Trio and Michael Brecker

Large Jazz Ensemble Album: "All Blues," G.R.P. All-Star Big Band and Tom Scott

Latin Jazz Album: "Antonio Brasileiro," Antonio Carlos Jobim

Rock Gospel Album: "Lesson of Love," Ashley Cleveland

Pop-Contemporary Gospel Album: "I'll Lead You Home," Michael W. Smith

Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album: "Amazing Grace: A Country Salute to Gospel," various artists

Traditional Soul Gospel Album: "Shirley Caesar Live . . . He Will Come," Shirley Caesar

Contemporary Soul Gospel Album: "Alone in His Presence," CeCe Winans

Gospel Album, Choir or Chorus: "Praise Him . . . Live!," Carol Cymbala, choir director

Latin Pop Album: "Amor," Jon Secada

Tropical Latin Album: "Abriendo Puertas," Gloria Estefan

Mexican-American Album: "Flaco Jimenez," Flaco Jimenez

Traditional Blues Album: "Chill Out," John Lee Hooker

Contemporary Blues Album: "Slippin' In," Buddy Guy

Traditional Folk Album: "South Coast," Ramblin' Jack Elliott

Contemporary Folk Album, Vocal or Instrumental: "Wrecking Ball," Emmylou Harris

Reggae Album: "Boombastic," Shaggy

World-Music Album: "Boheme," Deep Forest

Polka Album: "I Love to Polka," Jimmy Sturr

Album for Children, Musical: "Sleepy Time Lullabys," J. Aaron Brown and David R. Lehman

Album for Children, Spoken: "Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf," Dan Broatman and Martin Sauer

Non-Musical Album: "Phenomenal Woman," Maya Angelou

Comedy Album: "Crank Calls," Jonathan Winters

Musical Show Album: "Smokey Joe's Cafe: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller"

Instrumental Composition: "A View From the Side," Bill Holman

Film or Television Instrumental Composition: "Crimson Tide," Hans Zimmer

Film or Television Song: "Colors of the Wind" (from "Pocahontas"), Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz

Instrumental Arrangement: "Lament" (from "Tangence"), Robert Farnon

Instrumental Arrangement With Vocals: "I Get a Kick Out of You" (from "Velvet and Brass"), Rob McConnell

Album Package: "Turbulent Indigo," Robbie Cavolina and Joni Mitchell

Album Package, Boxed: "Civilization Phaze III," Frank Zappa and Gail Zappa

Album Notes: "The Complete Stax-Volt Soul Singles, Volume 3: 1972-1975," Rob Bowman

Historical Album: "The Heifetz Collection," Jascha Heifetz and various artists

Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical: "Wildflowers," Dave Bianco, Richard Dodd, Stephen McLaughlin and Jim Scott

Producer (Non-Classical): Babyface

Best-Engineered Album, Classical: "Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra; 'Kossuth'; 'Symphonic Poem,' " Michael Mailes and Jonathan Stokes

Producer (Classical): Steven Epstein

Classical Album: "Debussy: 'La Mer'; Nocturnes; 'Jeux,' etc.," Pierre Boulez conducting the Cleveland Orchestra

Orchestral Album: "Debussy: 'La Mer,' " Pierre Boulez conducting the Cleveland Orchestra

Opera Album: "Berlioz: 'Les Troyens,' " Charles Dutoit, conductor, Montreal Symphony Orchestra

Choral Album: "Brahms: 'Ein Deutsches Requiem,' " Herbert Blomstedt, conductor, San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Symphony Choir and various artists

Instrumental Soloist With Orchestra: "The American Album (Works of Bernstein, Barber, Foss)," Itzhak Perlman

Instrumental Soloist: "Schubert: Piano Sonatas (B Flat Major and A Major)," Radu Lupu

Chamber Album: "Brahms/Beethoven/ Mozart: Clarinet Trios," Emanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma and Richard Stoltzman

Classical Vocalist: "The Echoing Air: The Music of Henry Purcell," Sylvia McNair

Classical Contemporary Composition: "Concert a Quatre," Olivier Messiaen

Music Video, Short Form: "Scream," Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson

Music Video, Long Form: "Secret World Live," Peter Gabriel

Lifetime achievement: Dave Brubeck, Marvin Gaye, Georg Solti and Stevie Wonder. Trustees awards: George Martin and Jerry Wexler.

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