1970 Grammy Winners

13th Annual GRAMMY Awards (1970)

For the GRAMMY Awards, 13 would prove to be an extremely lucky number. For the first time in its history, the show had its very first live telecast—a significant departure from the previous pre-taped broadcasts showcasing certain winners a month or two after the Awards presentation. Finally, the excitement of the GRAMMYs could be enjoyed by viewers in real time.

And there was a lot to enjoy. Imagine Andy Williams delivering a joke about John Lennon appearing nude on the cover of the “Two Virgins” album (actual punch line: “The cover proved that John isn’t one of the Lennon Sisters”) or a cultural event in which jazz legend Duke Ellington and “The Partridge Family” hunk David Cassidy appear back-to-back in the list of stars, and you’ve imagined the kind of broad cultural landscape the GRAMMY Awards often traverse on a single show. You’ve also pretty clearly imagined the 13th annual telecast rightly billed as being “for the first time live from Hollywood.”

In great GRAMMY tradition, the show offered many fascinating examples of the counterculture and the old guard mixing and mingling in surprising and entertaining ways. It was telling that one of Williams’ most successful opening gags involved trying to find a group that would appeal to everyone—to which he, of course, suggested the Grand Funk Tabernacle Choir. This would also prove to be a big GRAMMY night for both Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel and Karen and Richard Carpenter, all of whom took home multiple major awards.

This 90-minute show was centered around performances of the five songs nominated for Song Of The Year, often shot through beads, abstract stage designs and other ’70s style artifacts: Ray Stevens’ “Everything Is Beautiful” was sung by the Osmond Brothers, who were dressed a bit like Elvis for the occasion. The Carpenters played their own “We’ve Only Just Begun.” Anne Murray sang James Taylor’s “Fire And Rain,” with dancers dressed like flames heating things up around her. Aretha Franklin sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water” as Simon and Garfunkel watched from the audience. And finally, Dionne Warwick offered up an elegant take on the Beatles’ “Let It Be.” The winner was Paul Simon for writing “Bridge Over Troubled Water”—an award presented by master songwriter Burt Bacharach, who would repeat that role several times through the years, most recently at the 49th awards in the company of Seal. Simon, who would later serve as a GRAMMY host, was especially terse in giving his thanks this night: just a nod. Bridge Over Troubled Water also won Album Of The Year, while the title track took Record Of The Year, Best Contemporary Song and Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists. While accepting the awards, the tension between the duo, which had recently called it quits, was palpable at the podium and they departed in opposite directions.

The Carpenters, meanwhile, won both Best New Artist (over Elton John and the Partridge Family) and Best Contemporary Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus for “Close To You.”

The nominees for Best Country Song were also performed by an impressive array of singers—Charley Pride, Conway Twitty, Wanda Jackson, Marty Robbins and a nearly clean-cut Hank Williams Jr. who did Merle Haggard’s “Fightin’ Side Of Me.” The winner, “My Woman, My Woman, My Wife,” was written and performed by Marty Robbins.

The political climate also made its mark: The late Martin Luther King Jr.’s Why I Oppose The Vietnam War took home the GRAMMY for Best Spoken Word Recording.

Yet possibly the most memorable presentation of the night—besides an entertainingly sloppy and much referenced presentation by soul singer/songwriter Brook Benton who seemed to be speaking more gibberish than English, and after which Williams jokingly reminded the audience, “We’re coming to you live tonight…”—came when another Duke besides Ellington took the stage to present a GRAMMY—John Wayne himself, who presented the award for Best Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or Television Special. The GRAMMY went to the Beatles for the Phil Spector-produced Let It Be (an album and quasi-documentary film) over such other distinguished nominees as Johnny Mercer with Henry Mancini (Darling Lily), Alfred Newman (Airport), Johnny Mandel (M*A*S*H) and Fred Karlin (The Sterile Cuckoo). Paul McCartney clearly thrilled the crowd by appearing to accept the award, bringing his wife Linda onstage. The surprise, last minute appearance was a well-guarded secret with only a few GRAMMY officials aware that the first live telecast would be graced by an appearance by the man they call the Cute One.

Though McCartney’s actual acceptance comments were exceedingly brief (“Thank you. Goodnight.”), the visual of the happy couple standing beside the great Western star remains forever priceless—True Grit with a real Beatle.

Record Of The Year
 
winner
Bridge Over Troubled Water

Roy Halee & Simon And Garfunkel (Art Garfunkel & Paul Simon), producers

Album Of The Year
 
winner
Bridge Over Troubled Water

Roy Halee & Simon And Garfunkel (Art Garfunkel & Paul Simon), producers

Song Of The Year
 
winner
Paul Simon
Bridge Over Troubled Water

Paul Simon, songwriter (Simon And Garfunkel)

Best New Artist Of The Year
 
winner
Carpenters
Best Instrumental Arrangement
 
winner
Henry Mancini
Theme From "Z"

Henry Mancini, arranger (Henry Mancini)

Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)
 
winner
Ernie Freeman, Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon
Bridge Over Troubled Water

Ernie Freeman, Art Garfunkel, Jimmie Haskell, Larry Knechtel & Paul Simon, arrangers (Simon And Garfunkel)

Best Engineered Recording - Non-Classical
 
winner
Bridge Over Troubled Water

Roy Halee, engineer (Simon And Garfunkel)

Best Album Cover
 
winner
Indianola Mississippi Seeds

Ivan Nagy, photographer (B.B. King)

Best Album Notes
 
winner
The World's Greatest Blues Singer

Chris Albertson, album notes writer (Bessie Smith)

Best Contemporary Vocal Performance, Female
 
winner
Dionne Warwick
I'll Never Fall In Love Again
Best Contemporary Vocal Performance, Male
 
winner
Ray Stevens
Everything Is Beautiful
Best Contemporary Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus
 
winner
Close To You
Best Contemporary Instrumental Performance
 
winner
Henry Mancini
Theme From "Z" And Other Film Music
Best Contemporary Song
 
winner
Paul Simon
Bridge Over Troubled Water

(Simon And Garfunkel)

Paul Simon, songwriter

Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female
 
winner
GRAMMYs
Don't Play That Song
Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male
 
winner
B.B. King
The Thrill Is Gone
Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group, Vocal Or Instrumental
 
winner
Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)
Best Rhythm & Blues Song
 
winner
Patches

Ronald Dunbar & General Johnson, songwriters (Clarence Carter)

Best Soul Gospel Performance
 
winner
Edwin Hawkins
Every Man Wants To Be Free

Edwin Hawkins Singers

Best Country Vocal Performance, Female
 
Best Country Vocal Performance, Male
 
winner
Ray Price
For The Good Times
Best Country Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group
 
winner
Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash
If I Were A Carpenter
Best Country Instrumental Performance
 
Best Country Song
 
winner
Marty Robbins
My Woman, My Woman, My Wife

Marty Robbins, songwriter (Marty Robbins)

Best Sacred Performance (Musical)
 
winner
Jake Hess
Everything Is Beautiful
Best Gospel Performance (Other Than Soul Gospel)
 
winner
Talk About The Good Times
Best Ethnic Or Traditional Recording (Including Traditional Blues)
 
winner
Good Feelin'
Best Instrumental Composition
 
winner
Airport Love Theme

Alfred Newman, composer (Alfred Newman)

Best Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or A Television Special
 
winner
George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr
Let It Be
Best Score From An Original Cast Show Album
 
winner
Company

Stephen Sondheim, composer; Thomas Z. Shepard, producer (Dean Jones, Barbara Barrie, George Coe, Teri Rolston, John Cunningham, Beth Howland)

Best Recording For Children
 
winner
Sesame Street

(The Muppets)

Best Comedy Recording
 
winner
The Devil Made Me Buy This Dress
Best Spoken Word Recording
 
winner
Why I Oppose The War In Vietnam
Best Jazz Performance - Small Group Or Soloist With Small Group
 
Best Jazz Performance - Large Group Or Soloist With Large Group
 
winner
Miles Davis
Bitches Brew
Album Of The Year, Classical
 
winner
Berlioz: Les Troyens

Colin Davis, artist; Erik Smith, producer

Best Classical Performance, Orchestra
 
winner
Stravinsky: Le Sacre Du Printemps

(Cleveland Orchestra)

Best Classical Performance - Instrumental Soloist Or Soloists (With Or Without Orchestra)
 
winner
Brahms: Double Concerto (Concerto In A Minor For Violin And Cello)

(Cleveland Orchestra)

Best Chamber Music Performance
 
winner
Isaac Stern
Beethoven: The Complete Piano Trios
Best Opera Recording
 
winner
Berlioz: Les Troyens

Colin Davis; Erik Smith, producer (Royal Opera House Chorus - Covent Garden; Royal Opera House Orchestra - Covent Garden)

Best Classical Vocal Soloist Performance
 
winner
Schubert: Lieder
Best Choral Performance (Other Than Opera)
 
winner
Ives: New Music Of Charles Ives

(Gregg Smith Singers; Columbia Chamber Ensemble)

Best Engineered Recording, Classical
 
winner
Stravinsky: Le Sacre Du Printemps

Arthur Kendy, Ray Moore & Fred Plaut, engineers (Pierre Boulez, conductor; Cleveland Orchestra)