Monday, February 11, 2008

The Grammys--God Love 'Em

I didn't watch the Grammys this year. I found myself tad bit burned out from the Super Duper Tsunami Tuesday CNN Marathon I participated in. OK, I got a little carried away. Still, I was very heartened to learn that two music greats, Herbie Hancock and Angelique Kidjo won.

Grammys Shine on Winehouse, West, Hancock - British singer Amy Winehouse, of "Rehab" fame, wins five Grammy Awards. Rapper Kanye West wins four. But Herbie Hancock's Joni Mitchell tribute -- River -- is the surprise winner for album of the year.

If you don't know Herbie Hancock's work, you'll remember his jazz-hiphop tune, Rockit, which, coupled with its stunning video, has become one of the best known jazz pieces in popular culture. It's the tune that backs up the Visa Check Card commercial where the presence of a check (gasp!) winds down all the hip hopping shoppers.

The video, made when Herbie was entering his 40's, set the video music industry on its left ear.

Covers are hard, particularly if the cover artist just creates a verbatim send-up of the original. Angelique, a singer from Benin, did something great with her cover years ago of Jimi Hendrix' classic, Voodoo Chile with her Afrobeat rendition. I was flipping channels on my way to the kitchen during a commercial break when I found her on a PBS special. I stook there with the remote in my hand and my mouth hanging open.

Jimi, I think, would smile and say "Now, that's f-ing something."

What I find so very very nice about these artists and the videos presented here is the quality of staying power they represent: Herbie's Rockit is just as hip today as it was in 1983 and Jimi's Voodoo Chile stands the test of time and culture. Leaves me wondering how enduring some of the brands we see today are.

As a side note: Amy Winehouse, whose ditty Rehab was just too prescient, got a pass from rehab to attend the festivities remotedly.

(Cross posted at American Values Alliance)