Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
David Bowie, Whitney Houston, Dr. Dre Recordings Added To GRAMMY Hall Of Fame
Recordings from Johnny Cash, Billie Holiday, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Queen, Nirvana, and Aerosmith also added to the Hall, now in its 45th year
Each year the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame celebrates a class of outstanding recordings at least 25 years old that exhibit qualitative or historical significance. To continue its ongoing commitment to preserving and celebrating timeless recordings, the Recording Academy has announced the class of 2018 recordings added to the Hall.
Recordings honored include Whitney Houston's unforgettable 1992 cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You"; Dr. Dre's groundbreaking 1992 debut rap album, The Chronic; Public Enemy's 1989 hip-hop classic, "Fight The Power"; Aerosmith's 1973 power ballad, "Dream On"; Nirvana's influential 1991 LP, Nevermind; and David Bowie's 1969 time-traveling track "Space Odyssey."
Dr. Dre's 'The Chronic': 25 Years Later
Queen's fourth studio album, A Night At The Opera (1972), the Rolling Stones' chart-topping "Paint It Black" (1966), Johnny Cash's seminal Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison (1968), Linda Ronstadt's fifth studio album, Heart Like A Wheel (1974), Motown group the Four Tops' single "I Can't Help Myself" (1965), and Gladys Knight & The Pips' classic "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" (1967) each made the list.
Also earning a spot in the 2018 class is Jimi Hendrix's album Band Of Gypsys (1970), Sam Cooke's classic single "Bring It On Home To Me" (1962), Parliament's infectious track "Flash Light" (1978), Andy Williams' smooth interpretation of "Moon River" (1962), Billy Paul's ballad "Me And Mrs. Jones" (1972), and Leon Russell's iconic "A Song For You" (1970).
Representing jazz, the King Cole Trio's 1946 song "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons," Billie Holiday's 1937 version of "My Man" and Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five's 1927 track "Savoy Blues" have been inducted.
South African trumpeter/singer Hugh Masekela's track "Grazing In The Grass" (1968), Thomas Alva Edison's original recording of "Mary Had A Little Lamb" (1878), Delta blues singer Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's "That's All Right" (1949), and English musician Mike Oldfield's debut album, Tubular Bells, (1973) round out this year's Hall honorees.
Each year recordings are reviewed by a special member committee comprised of eminent and knowledgeable professionals from all branches of the recording arts, with final approval by the Recording Academy's National Board of Trustees. With these 25 new titles, the Hall, now in its 45th year, currently totals 1,063 recordings and is on display at GRAMMY Museum L.A. Live.
"The GRAMMY Hall Of Fame strives to embody the changing climate of music throughout these past decades, always acknowledging the diversity of musical expression for which the Academy has become known," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of the Recording Academy. "Iconic and inspiring, these recordings are an integral part of our musical, social and cultural history, and we are proud to have added them to our growing catalog."
The 60th GRAMMY Awards will take place at New York City's Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Jan. 28. The telecast will be broadcast live on CBS at 7:30–11 p.m. ET/4:30–8 p.m. PT.
Photo: Kristy Sparow/Getty Images, Kevin Winter/Getty Images for LARAS, Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy, Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy, Stephen J. Cohen/Getty Images, Gustavo Garcia Villa
Listen To GRAMMY.com's LGBTQIA+ Pride Month 2023 Playlist Featuring Demi Lovato, Sam Smith, Kim Petras, Frank Ocean, Omar Apollo & More
Celebrate LGBTQIA+ Pride Month 2023 with a 50-song playlist that spans genres and generations, honoring trailblazing artists and allies including George Michael, Miley Cyrus, Orville Peck, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande and many more.
In the past year, artists in the LGBTQIA+ community have continued to create change and make history — specifically, GRAMMY history. Last November, Liniker became the first trans artist to win a Latin GRAMMY Award when she took home Best MPB Album for Indigo Borboleta Anil; three months later, Sam Smith and Kim Petras became the first nonbinary and trans artists, respectively, to win the GRAMMY Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for their sinful collab "Unholy."
Just those two feats alone prove that the LGBTQIA+ community is making more and more of an impact every year. So this Pride Month, GRAMMY.com celebrates those strides with a playlist of hits and timeless classics that are driving conversations around equality and fairness for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Below, take a listen to 50 songs by artists across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum — including "Unholy" and Liniker's "Baby 95" — on Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora.
Photo: Ross Halfin
Living Legends: Def Leppard's Phil Collen Was The Product Of A Massive Transition For Music — And He Wouldn't Change A Thing
Def Leppard is out with a new collaborative album with the Royal Philharmonic, 'Drastic Symphonies.' In an interview with GRAMMY.com, guitarist Phil Collen gets in a reflective mood about their early days of hysteria — and euphoria — in the studio.
Living Legends is a series that spotlights icons in music still going strong today. This week, GRAMMY.com spoke with Phil Collen, the guitarist of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Def Leppard for more than four decades. Their latest studio album, Diamond Star Halos, was released in 2022; their new album with the Royal Philharmonic, Drastic Symphonies, is available May 16.
By any standard, the 1980s were a transitional era for popular music, a rubicon crossed.
That had a lot to do with emerging technology, which led some to sink and others to swim. While the drift to synths and sequencers left some classic rockers beached, artists from Madge to Prince and Paul Simon flourished. And that trial-by-digital gave us the one and only Def Leppard.
Def Leppard's new release, Drastic Symphonies, out May 16, acts as the opposite point of this arc, proving that the band is adaptable to both tech and the timeless nature of classical music.
Reimagined with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Drastic Symphonies may be a program of hits (like "Animal" and "Pour Some Sugar on Me") and deep cuts (like "Paper Sun"), but it is far from typical.
Rather, Drastic Symphonies’ splendorous, cinematic treatment provides a window into their tunes’ innate malleability and longevity — while giving their legacy something of a consolidative This Is Your Life treatment.
"It gives it that third dimension that you always want to hear,” Phil Collen, their guitarist of more than 40 years, proudly tells GRAMMY.com over Zoom. “It was a beautiful experience, I've gotta say."
Collen's head is full of memories of that pivotal decade — the one where they were "selling sometimes a million records in a week." If you imagine Def Leppard as being rowdy and recalcitrant in the studio back then, like their current tourmates Mötley Crüe — think again. Under producer extraordinaire Robert "Mutt" Lange, they were perfectionists, breathing the maximum amount of imagination into every song.
"You have this image in your head, and it was creating it for audio," Collen recalls of the era that produced classics like 1983's Pyromania and 1987's Hysteria. "[Lange] always used to say, 'Look, we've got to create Star Wars for the ears."
Operating by that celestial edict, Def Leppard succeeded and then some: they've sold more than 100 million records worldwide, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. "We're ticking every box," Collen says. "And a lot of these boxes we didn't quite tick in the '80s."
Read on for a rangey interview with Collen about Diamond Star Halos a year on, the genesis of Drastic Symphonies and the state of Def Leppard.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
What's it been like living with Diamond Star Halos over the past year?
It's been great in the fact that we've actually been touring it, and it's been getting accepted as we've been playing it. You know, when you release a new album, it's like: no one really wants to hear it live. They just want to hear all the hot chestnuts — all the older stuff. But we feel this is genuinely, fully integrated into the live set. We're doing, like, three songs, and one of them we're doing acoustically.
I love the album, looking back at it. It's amazing. We felt like we celebrated our heroes on it — everything about the Bowie, T. Rex, Queen era. I think we hit the mark with that one.
Since Def Leppard is still an actively creative enterprise, how do you navigate that tension between the old and the new? You're not devoted to, as David Crosby memorably put it, "turning on the smoke machine and playing the hits."
Well, now you gave me an idea — we'll put the smoke machine on during the new songs!
We just follow the Stones' lead on that. Every time they go out, they carefully place a new song. They know they've got to do "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and "Satisfaction" and all that stuff. We just do that — we integrate it in there.
You've just got to be careful. It's great doing [it as a] first song, because you can use the theatrics of "Here we are." There's a lull at a certain point, and you inject something like that. We're very careful about where and when we put them in the set.
Who were your role models in the early Def Leppard days? Who did you look to and say, "I want to perform live, or make records, or have a career like them"?
It's always been the rock-ness of AC/DC but the finesse of Queen, and the great songs that Queen had. We like to tour like the Rolling Stones but have the caliber of appreciation of Queen. We're kind of getting there, to an extent. But they are the two pillars, I guess, that we kind of base the whole thing on.
Tell me about your relationship to symphonic music, and pave the road to the Royal Philharmonic album. Def Leppard and your peers have always had something of a symphonic sweep, so this seems like the most natural thing in the world.
It is. On "When Love and Hate Collide" and "Two Steps Behind," we had an orchestra. "Let Me Be the One," a song we did in the late '90s [and released in 2002, also did]. Especially ballads lend themselves really well to that.
This came up about a year ago, when we were over in England doing promo for Diamond Star Halos and getting the whole thing sorted out. It just got suggested by the label.
[The Royal Philharmonic] was doing this series of albums of bands like Queen and Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys. We wanted to be involved in it; we didn't just want an orchestra playing our stuff. So, we got into the arrangements; we got our string arranger guy who worked on Diamond Star Halos, Eric Gorfain.
It really worked. And some of the songs absolutely didn't work. They sounded wrong and kind of comical in some respects. We had to demo each song with a keyboard string arrangement, and it was really easy. It was like black or white, yes-no.
Were you in Abbey Road Studios, working with the string players on a hands-on level? What was the nature of the interchange between the band and orchestra?
They played all their stuff live. It was a year of preparation. Eric scored it all out. Ronan McHugh, our front sound guy and producer and everything, got in touch with the producer, Nick Patrick, and all of us met up at Abbey Road. We were there when strings were done.
That was really an icing-on-the-cake type thing. All the prep work had been done — on some of the songs, we'd leave guitars and drums out for whole sections and let the orchestra breathe.
But we'd done that all before, so it was just them literally playing to the conductor and us sitting in the control room hearing this wonderful cacophony coming back, of us playing with them.
Songs like "Paper Sun," which is kind of a deep cut off [1999's] Euphoria, just works so well with an orchestra. It gives it that third dimension that you always want to hear. So, yeah, it was a beautiful experience, I've gotta say.
I think we tend to think of classic songs as preordained — that they'd inevitably come into existence and bake themselves into culture. Back when you guys actually wrote and recorded hits like "Pour Some Sugar On Me," was there any attitude that would be modern standards 40 years on?
This is really funny, actually. I remember Mutt Lange, our producer, 37 years ago or something like that — someone came into the room and said, "The album's taking so long! Why do you spend so much time?" He said, "So that you'll be talking about it in 40 years." He actually said that!
Certainly, Mutt Lange had the vision of it. We were just part of his vision!
Sounds like you guys were serious perfectionists in the studio — deeply focused on the product.
We were. And I think we overdid it a little bit, because we'd be there from 10 in the morning 'til 2 the next morning and not take weekends off. As we've gotten more experience, we found that if you have a cut-off point, you actually get more done.
It was gangbusters, the whole thing. It was trying to make something that no one had ever done before in that format. It really worked, but we do have to thank Mutt Lange for that.
In what regard do you think you guys overdid it? Were you scrapping arrangement after arrangement? Were you doing take after take after take?
With the time, actually. You have this image in your head, and it was creating it for audio.
[Lange] always used to say, "Look, we've got to create Star Wars for the ears." And a song like "Rocket" literally was that. Even when we play it now, it's got such immense proportions, and we have this screen and all that stuff. You have this mental image, and you have this stacked-up vocal thing, which takes ages to do. Just singing them over and over, like Queen did.
We did that with the guitars as well. We made orchestrated guitar things, and not gratuitous. There's a big difference between just overdoing it and then doing it for a reason where it actually works and enhances the song; it always comes back down to the song.
Like I said, Mutt knew what he was doing, but back then, we were following his lead. It would be scrapping guitars and adding new parts and copying strings on a guitar with an EBow.
That reminds me of the Boston template, as per their debut album — a brainiac trying to create perfect, idealized rock songs — but it's an actual band with a producer.
About a year ago, I heard this BTS song and thought, "This actually sounds too good. It sounds almost like AI." I don't know whether it was or not.
I know these days a lot of writers will come in. There was this Beyoncé song where they said, "There's 23 writers!" and everything. And I get that. I really understand how that could be. You want to create the best that you can; you have a top-line guy that comes in, you have a drum programmer guy, you have someone writing the lyrics and all of that stuff.
We were kind of doing that back then with Mutt, but it was internal. It's like: OK, we need a melody. We've got this lyric; that works here. That was the approach, and I think it's a similar thing now.
With AI, I think that we are going to hear that. Like I said, I heard this BTS song and thought, This is so amazing. But could a person do that? I had my doubts. Maybe not. Perhaps it was a collective.
Phil Collen performing with Def Leppard in 1983. Photo: Fryderyk Gabowicz/Picture Alliance via Getty Images
With Drastic Symphonies on the way, how would you characterize the artistic and professional juncture that Def Leppard is at?
It's great. We're ticking every box. And a lot of these boxes we didn't quite tick in the '80s, when it was massive and we were selling sometimes a million records in a week, which is crazy, just the thought of it.
But there were still a few things that we didn't do. When we finally got into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, that kind of propelled us forward a little bit. Doing an album like this, but actually having a say in it and going, "We'll do it if we can do it this way."
We're actually doing the stadium tour now. We did one last year, which was great, with Mötley Crüe. We're still on tour with them and having such a blast. Grown-up kids at school together, just having that extreme thing.
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Photo: Gie Knaeps/Getty Images
10 Reasons Why 'Get A Grip' Is Aerosmith's Most Iconic Album
In celebration of its 30th anniversary, GRAMMY.com revisits 'Get A Grip' — the album which gave Aerosmith their biggest commercial success nearly 25 years into their rollercoaster career.
Having conquered the 1970s with the seminal stadium rock albums Toys in the Attic and Rocks, Aerosmith appeared to fall apart in the 1980s with a string of disappointing albums and various interpersonal dramas. But by the end of the decade, Run-D.M.C. collaboration "Walk This Way" and pop metal blockbusters Pump and Permanent Vacation had helped the Boston outfit to reclaim their crown as America's biggest band. The big question was whether they could sustain their unexpected second wind into the 1990s?
1993's Get A Grip answered that with a resounding yes. In fact, Aerosmith's 11th studio effort proved to be their commercial zenith, racking up a career-best 20 million sales worldwide, spawning four top 40 singles and winning Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal GRAMMY Award for two consecutive years.
To celebrate its 30th anniversary, here are 10 ways Steven Tyler, guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford, bassist Tom Hamilton and drummer Joey Kramer managed to build on their down-and-dirty legacy through Get A Grip.
It Recognized The Band's Unique Selling Point
In the four years since Aerosmith's previous album, the playful excesses of the hair metal scene had given way to the grunge movement's super-serious quest for authenticity. While the likes of Mötley Crue and Skid Row unwisely tried to beat Nirvana and Pearl Jam at their own game, Tyler and co. recognized that there was still an audience for pure rock 'n' roll.
Indeed, Get A Grip entirely ignores everything else that was dominating the charts of 1993 and instead plays confidently to the band's strengths. The lyrics here are optimistic and often mischievous (see "I'd rather be OD'ing on the crack of her ass" on drug recovery tale "Fever"), and the maximalist production is designed to raise the roof. If rock fans needed a party record in 1993, there was only one candidate.
It Foreshadowed The Country Crossover
From Bon Jovi and Shawn Michaels to Darius Rucker and Aaron Lewis, it sometimes appears as though every rocker of the late 20th century has pivoted into country music at some point or other. But seven years after they proved that guitars and hip-hop needn't be mutually exclusive, Aerosmith once again led the way with yet another crossover.
The harmonica solos and twangy guitar riffs of "Cryin'" and "Crazy" sound tailor made for the Grand Ole Opry — the former was actually co-penned by Nashville native Taylor Rhodes. Tyler would later score a No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart with his 2016 solo debut, We're All Somebody from Somewhere.
It Cemented Their Status As MTV Icons
Aerosmith became MTV favorites in the '80s thanks to eye-catching videos for "Dude Looks Like A Lady" and "Love In An Elevator." But would they still be as welcome in the '90s now that each member was well into their mid-40s? In a stroke of genius, the band acknowledged that they might need some younger faces to help sell their bombastic hard rock. Step forward the future star of seminal teen flick Clueless.
A 16-year-old Alicia Silverstone appeared in three of Get A Grip's promos, first testing the limits of virtual reality in "Amazing," going on to play a bungee-jumping spurned lover in "Cryin'" and then teaming up with Tyler's daughter Liv in the Thelma and Louise-esque "Crazy." The concept paid dividends for all involved – Silverstone and the younger Tyler became instant pop culture icons, and Aerosmith continued to dominate MTV, even picking up Video of the Year at the network's annual VMAs.
It Proved They Had A Social Conscience
You usually know what you're getting lyrically from an Aerosmith track – they haven't earned a reputation as the masters of sleaze rock for nothing. But while Get A Grip still has plenty of sex, drugs (surprisingly of the anti-kind) and rock tales, it also showcased a more socially-conscious side to the former hellraisers.
Inspired by the 1992 Los Angeles uprising following the death of Rodney King,, GRAMMY-winning first single "Livin' on the Edge" finds Tyler tackling everything from racism to religion as he pontificates over the state of the world. Admittedly, lines like "If Chicken Little tells you that the sky is falling/Even if it wasn't, would you still come crawling" weren’t exactly the height of insightful lyricism. But it reminded listeners the group could provide some substance to their hard-partying style.
It Made Digital History
While much has been made of David Bowie's pioneering use of the internet, he wasn't the only rock titan to embrace the online world early on. In 1994, Aerosmith once again proved that they could keep up with the times when they released the first digital download song by a major artist.
Although "Head First" didn't appear on Get A Grip, it was recorded for the album and was first issued as a B-side to second single "Eat the Rich." Ten thousand CompuServe subscribers downloaded the four-megabyte WAV file within its first few days. With the world wide web still in infancy, it no doubt took a similar time frame to wait for its completion.
It Elevated Their Power Ballad Credentials
Aerosmith weren't exactly strangers to the power ballad when they released two of the early '90s' finest examples. Later sampled by Eminem, 1973's "Dream On" is considered by some to be the rock genre's first ever. And predecessors Permanent Vacation ("Angel") and Pump ("What It Takes") both spawned hits tailor-made for belting out in front of a mirror with hairbrush.
But the double whammy of "Crazy" and "Cryin'" took the band's ability to pull at the heartstrings to another level. The former, of course, was also their first epic slowie to win a GRAMMY. And no doubt that Diane Warren was taking note; the GRAMMY winner later penned Aerosmith's only No. 1, Armageddon's suitably blockbuster love song "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing."
It's Precision Tooled For Success
Having previously experienced life in the rock wilderness, Aerosmith left nothing to chance for their first album in four years. Indeed, the majority of Get A Grip's 14 tracks feature a helping hand from a seasoned songwriter, from Jim Vallance (Bryan Adams) on the satirical "Eat the Rich" to Desmond Child (Bon Jovi) on the carnal rock of "Flesh" and Mark Hudson (Cher) on the funky "Gotta Love It."
That's perhaps why the record spawned no fewer than seven singles, four of which made the top 40 ("Livin' on the Edge," "Cryin'," "Crazy," "Amazing") and why, with the exception of closing instrumental "Boogie Man" and brief "Walk This Way"-referencing "Intro," every other track was worthy of a release.
Some Aerosmith purists may have balked at all the outside interference, but despite their blatant hit-chasing approach the band never lost sight of who they are.
It Boasts Rock Royalty
As well as recruiting a who's who of professional songwriters to boost Get A Grip's hit-making potential, Aerosmith also invited two bona fide rock legends to give the record even more pizzazz. Listen closely to the backing vocals on the autobiographical stadium rock of "Amazing" and you'll hear the raspy tones of fellow '70s survivor Don Henley.
Meanwhile, the ultra-cool Lenny Kravitz – then very much at his commercial peak – went one better. Not only did he lend his voice to the full-throttle blues-rock of "Line Up," he also helped Tyler and Perry write it. The "Are You Gonna Go My Way" singer later went on to support Aerosmith on their mid- '00s tour, Rockin' The Joint.
It Contains Joe Perry's Best Lead Vocal
With one of the most charismatic frontmen in rock history at their disposal, Aerosmith have wisely only allowed Perry to take center stage on a handful of occasions. The guitarist first grabbed the mic for himself on "Bright Light Fright," a track from 1977's Draw the Line but had to wait until Get A Grip to take the lead once again.
Also penned solely by Perry, "Walk on Down" is the kind of driving back-to-basics rock that once saw the group hailed as the USA's answer to the Rolling Stones. But the vocals are far easier on the ear than whenever Keith Richards takes over from Mick Jagger.
It Features The Group's Most Striking Cover
Aerosmith could never be accused of playing it safe with their cover art. Who can forget Nine Lives' controversial depiction of Lord Krishna throwing some shapes on the snake demon Kaliya's head? Or the slightly nightmarish caricatures of Draw the Line? But Get A Grip's close-up of a cow's pierced udder undoubtedly remains the band's most striking.
Designed by metal favorite Hugh Syme (Iron Maiden's The X Factor, Def Leppard's Retro Active), the image divided audiences at the time, with music journalist Steven Hyden blasting it as the worst album cover ever, while various animal rights groups also took umbrage, too. According to the group, however, the offending image was entirely computer generated.
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Photo: Michael Caulfield
GRAMMY Rewind: Lady Gaga Praises Whitney Houston's Influence After 'The Fame Monster' Wins In 2011
When Lady Gaga's 'The Fame Monster' won a GRAMMY for Pop Vocal Album, the singer hinted that her newly minted superstar status wouldn't have been possible without Whitney Houston's influence.
From the very start of her career, Lady Gaga taught society that it's okay to be different. While that may be most encapsulated in her 2011 smash "Born This Way," Gaga's 2010 album The Fame Monster — a reissue of her blockbuster 2008 debut, The Fame — solidified Gaga's place as a confidence-boosting superstar.
In this episode of GRAMMY Rewind, we turn back the clock to 2011, when Lady Gaga won Pop Vocal Album for The Fame Monster. Her third win of the night (hit single "Bad Romance" won Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Short Form Music Video), Gaga couldn't help but let out an "Oh sh—!" when she began her acceptance speech.
After thanking her Little Monsters, family, team, and label, Gaga hinted that the moment was a childhood dream come true. And before leaving the stage, Lady Gaga acknowledged that she was particularly inspired by Whitney Houston's impact.
"I wanted to thank Whitney because, when I wrote 'Born This Way,' I imagined she was singing it because I wasn't secure enough in myself to imagine I was a superstar."
Press play on the video above to watch Lady Gaga's candid acceptance speech for Pop Vocal Album at the 2011 GRAMMY Awards, and check back to GRAMMY.com for more episodes of GRAMMY Rewind.
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