35th Annual GRAMMY Awards
February 24, 1993
Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles
Eligibility Year: Oct. 1, 1991, Through Sept. 30, 1992

Winners

Record Of The Year

Tears In Heaven

Album Of The Year

Unplugged

Song Of The Year

Tears In Heaven

Best New Artist

Arrested Development

In the midst of the 35th Annual GRAMMY Awards, host Garry Shandling considered the way things were going and told the star-studded audience at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, “Okay, I’ll go out on a limb and say if you’re up against Eric Clapton in any other categories, I’d go home now. It’s a feeling I have.”

Shandling’s hunch would prove to be a very solid one. In recognition of Clapton’s deeply moving song “Tears In Heaven” — inspired by the death of his 4-year-old son Conor — and for his successful Unplugged album, he received a grand total of six GRAMMY Awards: Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male, and Best Rock Song. Throughout the night, Clapton seemed surprised by the outpouring and remained rather low-key. But when he won the night’s final award for Record Of The Year, Clapton plainly but powerfully explained, “The one person I want to thank is my son for the love he gave me and the song he gave me.”

Clearly, this was an emotional night for the veteran rock guitar god, and rock stars of a certain age seemed to be on Shandling’s mind as well right from the start. Referencing the recent election of President Bill Clinton, Shandling noted, “My generation’s becoming the mainstream here. It’s very weird. Mick Jagger is older than the president of the United States. It’s a very spooky time.” Shandling also offered a brilliant bit of stand-up comedy/political commentary about Clinton, referencing the president’s famous campaign sound bite regarding whether or not he smoked pot: “He plays the sax. He plays it, sort of. He plays like a guy who never inhaled, but hey...”

Ultimately, though, the spirit of the GRAMMYs is nothing if not multigenerational and the night’s other big winners included the upstart hip-hop group Arrested Development who took home not only the Best New Artist award, but also the GRAMMY for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or A Group (“Tennessee”). A still up-and-coming Celine Dion won the Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal along with Peabo Bryson for “Beauty And The Beast” from the Disney film of the same name (the soundtrack album would help generate five awards on this night). The GRAMMY for Best Hard Rock Performance With Vocal went to the Red Hot Chili Peppers who provided the GRAMMY show with perhaps its most freewheeling highlight — a version of “Give It Away” that found a creatively attired Peppers joined by their longtime influence and onetime producer George Clinton along with his P-Funk All-Stars. Another memorable performance was Peter Gabriel’s telecast-opening version of “Steam” that featured Cirque du Soleil; Gabriel won Best Music Video — Short Form for “Digging In The Dirt.” Another altogether jazzy standout performance came from Arturo Sandoval and the GRP All-Stars who served up a searing version of “Cherokee.”

Even without performing, Michael Jackson provided a significant amount of the evening’s entertainment. First, Jackson’s recent highly rated, 90-minute prime-time interview with Oprah Winfrey provided Shandling with one of his biggest laughs. “To insure higher ratings this year on the GRAMMYs, I will be interviewing him the last 90 minutes of the show. And I’ll be asking him hard-hitting questions too, things like, ‘Hey Michael, [can I] get you anything?’”

Remarkably, Jackson may have actually topped Shandling when he accepted his GRAMMY Legend Award from his sister Janet Jackson. Before launching into a fascinating speech about his childhood being stolen from him, Jackson pulled off a completely surprising punch line. “I hope this finally puts to rest another rumor that’s been in the press for too many years,” Jackson said standing next to his chart-topping sibling. “Me and Janet really are two different people.”