"Music's Biggest Night" was the 55th Annual Grammy Awards last night, Sunday, February 10, 2013 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. With red carpets, sparkling limousines, screams of adoration, paparazzi contorting around other paparazzi, camera flashes, fashion's big bling and the best of music royalty glowing like the stars they are, soon became almost paled in comparison to the two special moments yet to come...
The best highlights of last night's show were two spectacular moments involving a "first in Grammy history - Carrie Underwood's dress" and a superstar group Tribute special honoring the late, great Levon Helm.
Carrie Underwood became a "first ever in Grammy history!" Of course her spectacular performance was incredible, but it was her dress that made history. No, there was not a wardrobe malfunction here.
Nothing can compare to Carrie Underwood's award-winning, powerful and moving vocals, so special effects are not needed to make her performances special. But, tonight at the 2013 Grammy Awards, Carrie's performance was a "Blown Away “moment for audiences and the first time ever in Grammy history when an artist's wardrobe acted as a movie screen.
Carrie Underwood, who is one of the most beautiful country superstars, was even more stunning and angelic in a beautiful powder-blue shining satin, Barbie-esque flared ball gown. Then came the breathtaking moment when her dress was projected with beautiful moving images of butterflies, roses, stars and abstract graphics dancing across her skirt as she sang "Blown Away." These magical images seemed to symbolize a fresh new beginning after the pain and her evil father are blown away. It's so befitting that "Blown Away" won Best Country Song and Best Solo Country Performance at Sunday's show.
Carrie Underwood was one of six country music acts to perform on the 55th Annual Grammy Awards, joining Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, Zac Brown Band, Taylor Swift and Hunter Hayes. Fellow Nashvillians Jack White, Kelly Clarkson and the Black Keys also took the Grammy stage.
As the gigantic background screens flashed small pictures of those music icons who sadly, we lost in 2012. Their pictures stayed in tribute on the side screens as the headliner, Sir Elton John, began the dedication to all including the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Then, Sir Elton began Levon's The Band's classic tune, "The Weight"(aka "Take a Load off Fanny,") Zac Brown and his Zac Brown Band was joined by headliners, Mumford & Sons (an English Folk-Rock trio,) along with Brittany Howard (of the fast-rising soulful rock band from Athens, Alabama) Alabama Shakes and Mavis Staples (American rhythm and blues and gospel singer, actress, civil rights activist, and in the earlier days, performed with her family's band, The Staple Singers.)
It was thrilling as they all merged their own powerhouse multi-genre talents to each part of "The Weight, “and genuinely and wholeheartedly payed tribute to a beloved music pioneer, the late Levon Helm. The song was formerly written and sung by Levon himself. As they sang, Levon's picture appeared on the center giant screen.
The applause and appreciative yelling was astounding as it spread loudly throughout the whole Staples Center as soon as his picture was shown there. The individual styling’s of the song and perfect blendings of the different vocals just made the whole segment so powerful and heartwarming, as if the song was alive in a way that would make Mr. Helm so very proud. And I'm sure he was there, smiling that big grin, so proud and having the best seat in the Staples Center.
Singer, musician and actor Levon Helm died on Thursday (April 19) at the age of 71 after a brave decade long battle with throat cancer that began with a diagnosis in 1998. While he wasn't known or marketed as a country artist, Mr. Helm had plenty of connections in the country world.
In addition to his work as drummer and vocalist with groundbreaking act (and one-time Bob Dylan backing group) The Band, Levon Helm played drums and occasionally sang lead vocals for that iconic and influential group. He left The Band to pursue what soon became a highly successful solo career, recording solo albums in the late 1970s and early '80s as well as in recent years. Mr. Helm worked alongside Johnny Cash and Emmylou Harris, among others. His career as an actor saw him portray Loretta Lynn’s father in the film, Coal Miner’s Daughter, opposite Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones.
In the late 1990's, Levon Helm – whose singing anchored Band classics like "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," "Up on Cripple Creek," "Rag Mama Rag," and "The Weight" – was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent 28 radiation treatments, eventually recovering his voice. In recent weeks, however, Helm had canceled a number of shows, including one at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on April 27th and another in Montclair, New Jersey.
His 2011 live album, Ramble at the Ryman, recorded at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium in 2008, won for Best Americana Album at the 2011 Grammy Awards. The recording featured a number of country and Americana guest performers, including Sheryl Crow, John Hiatt and Sam Bush.
Levon made a rare appearance in Birmingham in November 2010, at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex BJCC Concert Hall. Helm dubbed the show "the Alabama Ramble," a reference to his star-studded "Midnight Ramble" concerts, at home in Woodstock, N.Y. He had been scheduled to return to Nashville on May 6, 2013, to hold a "Ramble at the Ryman Concert" at the Ryman Theater in Nashville.
A note posted to his website on Tuesday, before that Thursday of April 19, 2012, came from his daughter Amy and wife Sandy saying that Helm "was in the "final stages of his battle with cancer. Please send your prayers and love to him as he makes his way through this part of his journey. Thank you fans and music lovers who have made his life so filled with joy and celebration...he has loved nothing more than to play, to fill the room up with music, lay down the back beat, and make the people dance! He did it every time he took the stage."
This year, 2013, marks fifty-five years of the Grammys celebrating and rewarding the best music artists from an incredible list of music genres, from folk and country music to hip- hop and pop. That's quite the beautiful broad, colorful swaths on the tapestry we call music. There is also a dazzling path stitched in that canvas by Levon Helm and from those music artists we lost during 2012 and lovingly continued by the superstars of today and with each new artist.
Just as we Country Music fans and artists are glued to the Country Music Awards (CMA's,) The Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM's,) Country Music TV Music Awards (CMT) and so many more awards ceremonies, we do the same for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards 2013. These award ceremonies, including last night's Annual Grammy Awards bring us the beauty of music.
All of these Awards celebrations have a colorful mixture of music threads running through - as do those same threads in life's tapestry.
Because, this beautiful tapestry of life is all about the love and the music.
There is a wonderful site of other great artists we lost in 2012 (including those who influenced the music industry) were Etta James, Johnny Otis, Don Cornelius, Whitney Houston, Davy Jones, Dick Clark, Adam Yauch (Beastie Boys) Chuck Brown, Donna Summer, Robin Gibb, Doc Watson, Kitty Wells, Marvin Hamlisch, Andy Williams, Dave Brubeck, Ravi Shankar, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Chevela Vargas, Von Freeman, Hal David, Elliot Carter, Chris Lightley, Jenni Rivera and Levon Helm.