Bay Area musicians in Grammy winner mix

The Associated Press
Friday February 23, 2001


When given the chance, Grammy voters seem intent on correcting past snubs. 

Last year, it was Carlos Santana who finally won a Grammy – eight, actually – for his comeback album, “Supernatural.” This year, it was Steely Dan’s turn. 

The legendary duo nabbed three Grammys – their first ever – at Wednesday night’s ceremony, besting critical favorite Eminem for the top award, album of the year. The jazz-rock group’s biggest hits were in the ’70s, and they are to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next month. 

Grammy voters were also good to musician from the Bay Area and Northern California.The four artists receiving recognition at the awards ceremony were: 

• Raphael Saadiq, who was born and raised in Oakland. He shared the award for Best Male R&B Performance for co-writing Untitled (How Does It Feel) which appeared on Voodoo by D'Angelo. 

• The Deftones, a band which hails from Sacramento. The group won for Best Metal Performance with its album White Pony.  

• Metallica, long associated with San Francisco. The band won Best Rock Instrumental Performance for The Call of The Ktulu, which it performed with Michael Kamen and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra 

• Kent Nagano, who has been the conductor and music director of the Berkeley Symphony since 1978. He won for Best Opera Recording for Busoni: Dokto Faust. 

Just the possibility that Eminem might take the most prestigious award drew protests from gay and women’s groups, who objected to his violent lyrics. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation led a small protest outside the ceremony. 

Adding to the controversy was Eminem’s performance at the awards show with gay superstar Elton John. 

“The duet was so dramatic, so when he lost the best-album award a few minutes later, viewers had to feel that maybe the critics and Elton were right and Eminem was the great artist he said he was,” said O’Neil. 

Another of the best-album nominees, Ed O’Brien of the alternative group Radiohead, agreed. “I think we all feel, and I think a lot of people we’ve spoken to think that he’s made the most culturally significant album, whether it’s good or bad,” said O’Brien. 

(The other nominees for album of the year were “Midnite Vultures” by Beck and “You’re the One” by Paul Simon — a big Grammy winner in the past.) 

While Eminem’s lyrics drew the most scrutiny, Steely Dan’s album also contained some milder but controversial themes, including a cousin’s lust for his underage cousin. 

“We’d like to thank Eminem for taking the heat,” Donald Fagen, the 53-year-old other half of Steely Dan, said backstage. 

Eminem, 28, did win three Emmys, in rap categories. 

But veterans claimed the top trophies. Besides Steely Dan, Irish rockers U2, who had won seven Grammys before, including album of the year, added three more to their trophy case. Perennial Grammy favorite Sheryl Crow, Lenny Kravitz, Toni Braxton, Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton also took awards. 

In the night’s other upset, veteran Southern crooner Shelby Lynne won, ironically, the best new artist award off the strength of her sixth album, “This Is Shelby Lynne.” Under loosened Grammy rules, the award can go to a performer who has made other recordings but has a breakthrough year. 

“I feel like, why not?” Lynne said backstage. “I have been around so long that to me it feels new.” 

Today’s youth sensations, Destiny’s Child, took home two of their leading five nominations. But last year’s top-selling act, ’N Sync, lost all of their categories, repeating the fate suffered by the Backstreet Boys last year. And teen-pop stars Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera also were shut out. 

Of course, not all veterans came home winners; except for her glitzy opening performance of “Music,” Madonna never walked on the stage again, shut out in her three nominated categories. 

Maybe Grammy voters will smile more kindly in another decade or two. 


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