DEAR JERRY: I found it interesting to read your history of the Grammy Awards, especially regarding how they distanced themselves from rock and roll in the early years.
How long after they began was it before a true R&R recording won Record of the Year? What was it?
Jackie Dellwood, Evansville, Ind.
DEAR JACKIE: Since each person's definition of a “true R&R recording” may differ, I will merely provide the list of Record of the Year winners from which each interested reader can make their choice.
For the record, the awards ceremony began May 4, 1959, when the Recording Academy announced the 1958 Record of the Year, along with winners in other categories.
Between 1958 and '83, there are surprisingly few, as you say, “true R&R” Record of the Year winners.
Even those by folks we think of as rock artists are mostly ballads, or at least Middle-of-the-Road enough to be on the Adult Contemporary charts.
Thus, if significant MOR success rules out being a “true R&R recording,” then the answer has to be Michael Jackson's “Beat It.” It is the only one of the 26 on the list that apparently was too raucous for the Adult Contemporary formats.
Each person will find their own answer among this batch, even if it didn't come along until 1983:
1958: “Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)” (Domenico Modugno); 1959: “Mack the Knife” (Bobby Darin).
1960: “Theme from A Summer Place” (Percy Faith and His Orchestra); 1961: “Moon River” (Henry Mancini Orchestra and Chorus); 1962: “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” (Tony Bennett); 1963: “Days of Wine and Roses” (Henry Mancini Orchestra and Chorus); 1964: “The Girl from Ipanema” (Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto); 1965: “A Taste of Honey” (Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass); 1966: “Strangers in the Night” (Frank Sinatra); 1967: “Up, Up and Away” (Fifth Dimension); 1968: “Mrs. Robinson” (Simon and Garfunkel); 1969: “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” (5th Dimension).
1970: “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (Simon and Garfunkel); 1971: “It's Too Late” (Carole King); 1972: “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” (Roberta Flack); 1973: “Killing Me Softly with His Song” (Roberta Flack); 1974: “I Honestly Love You” (Olivia Newton-John); 1975: “Love Will Keep Us Together” (The Captain and Tennille); 1976: “This Masquerade” (George Benson); 1977: “Hotel California” (Eagles); 1978: “Just the Way You Are” (Billy Joel); 1979: “What a Fool Believes” (Doobie Brothers).
1980: “Sailing” (Christopher Cross); 1981: “Bette Davis Eyes” (Kim Carnes); 1982: “Rosanna” (Toto); 1983: “Beat It” (Michael Jackson).
DEAR JERRY: You wrote recently of the worth or, in many cases, worthlessness of records with label errors. But, what about records with pressing errors?
I have Creedence Clearwater Revival's “Born on the Bayou” LP with, I believe, Side One's tracks being on both sides of the disc.
The first time I played it I had to listen several times to make sure I wasn't dreaming.
Lawrence Danner, Waukesha, Wisc.
DEAR LAWRENCE: As with label errors, it seems the number of people fascinated by such production flubs is offset by those who actually want a properly made copy, or, in this example, to hear the tracks intended for Side Two.
The result of this type of wash-out is a value that may not vary much from a unflawed copy.
Other common production mistakes include records labeled as stereo actually being monaural, and vice-versa, and finding what's in the grooves doesn't match the information on the labels and covers. Ones in this category may have the wrong music on just one, or both sides.
IZ ZAT SO? Twice in Grammy history has an artist won Record of the Year honors two consecutive years.
Roberta Flack did it in 1972 and '73 with “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and “Killing Me Softly with His Song,” respectively.
Then in 2000 and 2001, U2 claimed that unique honor for “Beautiful Day” and “Walk On.”