Source Photos (Clockwise, L-R): Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Global Citizen; Christopher Polk/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images; John Esparza via Getty Images; Gus Stewart/Redferns
How The Sounds Of The '70s Took Over The 2022 GRAMMYs: The Return Of ABBA, The Throwback Vibes Of Silk Sonic & More
Between the feel-good soul of Silk Sonic and the return of pop greats ABBA, there’s no denying that the 1970s have permeated mainstream music once again. And as several 2022 GRAMMY nominations reflect, its influence goes beyond the dance floor.
It started as a mysterious announcement: an invite to an event deemed "a historic day that celebrates the past and future of ABBA."
Why this message was coming in September 2021, four decades after their gargantuan global success in the '70s, was an open question. As it turns out, there was a future of ABBA — and an auspicious one.
The beloved band would release new music for the first time since 1982 in the form of the album Voyage. The project earned ABBA the first-ever GRAMMY nomination, thanks to the aptly-titled single "I Still Have Faith In You," up for Record of the Year. But in addition to being the group's highest-charting album to date — it debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 in November — Voyage was emblematic of a '70s influence that had infiltrated contemporary music in full force.
That's especially reflected at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards: In practically every nomination field this year, the sounds and sentiments of the '70s are thriving as boisterously as a pair of bell bottoms under a shimmering disco ball. From ABBA's inaugural nod to the musical voice of this year's most-nominated artist, Jon Batiste (who received 11 nominations across seven fields), it's an undeniable fact that everything old is new again.
So why are the sounds of the '70s making such a triumphant return? One could argue that after two years of dour headlines and uncertainty, people are eager to remember times when society let loose and the culture was just unapologetically fun. Those two qualities are front and center in Doja Cat and SZA's downright fun "Kiss Me More," nominated for four GRAMMYS including Song and Record of the Year.
"I wanted to make a song about kissing," Doja matter-of-factly told Apple Music's Zane Lowe. "I just thought it would be cute. That doesn't happen too often, but just a song that's solely about kissing." How does one package up that blatant innocence in a musically joyous way? By infusing it with disco beat, of course, courtesy of Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" (though released in 1981, the single borrowed its buoyant vibe from the previous decade).
As ABBA, Doja and SZA have been bringing the disco era's pure pop sounds, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak's Silk Sonic dug into the soul and R&B of the time. The duo's acclaimed album An Evening with Silk Sonic takes a page from bygone acts like the Stylistics, the Spinners and the Manhattans. All of those groups who sang with deep passion, stacked melodies and slow-simmering rhythms.
Silk Sonic's debut single, "Leave The Door Open," is a recipe for a bonafide throwback gem, with serious harmonizing buoyed by Mars' falsetto. Its '70s stylings clearly resonated: Along with topping several charts, "Leave The Door Open" is nominated for four GRAMMYS, including Record and Song of the Year.
Then there's Jon Batiste. He's the ceremony's most-nominated artist with a whopping 11 chances to win a prized trophy (including Record of the Year for "Freedom" and Album of the Year for We Are,) and the most acknowledged act since Kendrick Lamar scooped up 11 nods six years ago. (Only Michael Jackson and Babyface have been nominated for more GRAMMYS, once each scoring 12 nominations in a single year.) Much like Bruno Mars, Batiste's musical influences have a firm foundation in the past, specifically music popularized decades before his own 1986 birth.
"It has the classic feel I was trying to imitate when I was growing up," said Batiste in a recent interview of We Are's soulful, throwback and funky feel that could have been right at home smack in the middle of the 70s. "My mentors — Stevie Wonder, or Quincy Jones, who wrote the liner notes for the album — when they listen to it, they hear that in it."
The recycling of former sounds is a story as old as the music industry itself, with long-antiquated genres popping up and taking culture by storm on a regular basis. These periods of renewed interest are akin to the revival of any sort of trend in music, fashion or otherwise. It often follows a formula: first something is cutting edge, then it becomes mainstream, sometimes resulting in a period of ultra-proliferation. During this phase, the trend morphs into passé, only to be forgotten about — and then subsequently rediscovered by some future generation.
This oft-repeated cycle, which takes place over a period of 20 to 40 years, is another reason why the '70s are back. It even occurred during the actual 1970s, as the '50s came back into vogue in the wake of the Vietnam War and subsequent American political upheaval. Yearning for a simpler time, that innocence was found through the shows and music stemming from "Happy Days," American Graffiti and That's Entertainment taking over culture.
The 1960s had its comeback moment as well: At the turn of the century, pop had gone fully bubblegum and synthetic, paving the way for a '60s revival. By the mid-2000s, the spirit of the Motown era had returned; GRAMMY-winning artists like Amy Winehouse to Duffy brought soul back to pop radio, and the Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson-starring Dreamgirls revived the Motown story on screen.
Even as the '70s influence is flourishing now, so is the emo music of the aughts. Elements of pop-punk are sprinkled across Olivia Rodrigo's Album Of The Year-nominated Sour (even sampling genre heavyweights Paramore in the hit "Good 4 U"); Halsey's If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power (up for Best Alternative Music Album) incorporates emo sounds in tracks like "Easier Than Lying."
Like ABBA, a few other veteran '70s acts earned GRAMMY nominations this year. AC/DC — who formed in Australia in 1973 and released a variety of acclaimed albums through the decade — received their first nominations since 2010. The group's 17th studio album, 2020's Power Up, is up for Best Rock Album, while its single "Shot in the Dark" also scored nods for Best Rock Song and Best Music Video.
Powerhouse vocalist Mavis Staples notched her 14th GRAMMY nomination — and her first for Album Of The Year — as a featured artist on the aforementioned Batiste's album, We Are. (Staples got her start in the '70s with family gospel/soul band the Staple Singers, who fully came into their own with a string of nominations in R&B categories from 1971 to 1973.)
It's been well-documented that GRAMMY voting has continually been a push and pull between new generations of decision makers and the old guard. The nominating of bygone artists is as much about honoring a legacy as it is about a current place in the music landscape.
The same push and pull is happening on a macro level with audiences whose very contemporary love for these past eras translates to streams and album sales. Case in point: AC/DC's Power Up debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album charts, only the third time the band has ever achieved the feat.
Meanwhile, ABBA's Voyage not only enjoyed critical acclaim, but its No. 2 debut on the Billboard 200 marked the first top 10 album of the band's history. It's a long way from the days when ABBA were considered more of a guilty pleasure than icons in the making. Today, they're GRAMMY nominated and widely regarded as legends of the industry, no doubt a result of a changing, nostalgia-loving culture.
While there may be no exact explanation for the '70s making a comeback at this particular moment — even ABBA's Benny Andersson admits "I really don't get it" — Bruno Mars arguably encapsulated the decade's musical revival best in a 2021 Rolling Stone interview about Silk Sonic's process. "I don't know what year it is," he said. "I'm not looking at the charts. So we'd just come here every night, have a drink, and we play what we love."
Bruno Mars Wins Song Of The Year | 2018 GRAMMYs
The Hawaiian native takes home Song Of The Year for "That's What I Like" at the 60th GRAMMY Awards
Feeling the 24K Magic, Bruno Mars' successful progress through the categories he's been nominated in at the 60th GRAMMY Awards picked up another one at Song Of The Year for "That's What I Like."
Christopher Brody Brown and Philip Lawrence co-write with Mars under the name Shampoo Press & Curl. The other winning songwriters for Mars' hit tonight in this category are James Fauntleroy and production team "The Sterotypes" — Ray Charles McCullough II, Jeremy Reeves, Ray Romulus and Jonathan Yip.
The Album Of The Year GRAMMY Award wrapped up the night and wrapped up Bruno Mars' complete rampage through his six nominated categories — now six wins.
Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images
Rolling Loud Festival Los Angeles Reveals 2019 Lineup
Find out who's bringing the heat to the hip-hop fest returning to L.A. this December
Today, Rolling Loud revealed the massive lineup for their final music festival of 2019, Rolling Loud Los Angeles, which is set to take over the Banc of California Stadium and adjacent Exposition Park on Dec. 14–15.
This iteration of "the Woodstock of Hip-Hop," as the all-knowing Diddy has called it, will feature Chance the Rapper, Lil Uzi Vert, Juice WRLD, Young Thug and Lil Baby as Saturday's heavy-hitting headliners. Sunday's headliners are none other than Future, A$AP Rocky, Meek Mill, YG and Playboi Carti.
L.A.'s own Blueface, Tyga and Doja Cat, are slated to perform, as well as representatives from the diverse rap scenes across the country, including Wale, Juicy J, Lil Yachty, Megan Thee Stallion, Gunna, Tyla Yaweh, Machine Gun Kelly and Yung Gravy.
The lineup announcement follows the successful wrap of Rolling Loud Bay Area in Oakland this past weekend. The event's flagship Miami event took place in May this year, and the New York and Hong Kong debut editions will both take place later this month.
Some of y’all not ready for these moshpits https://t.co/3nlaudjapq— Randy (@randyt0321) October 1, 2019
Baritone saxophonist Veronica Leahy
Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
GRAMMY Jazz Band Plays Duke Ellington, Count Basie & More | 2018 GRAMMY Week
The GRAMMY In The Schools Live! program showcased the formidable chops of this year's GRAMMY Camp — Jazz Session band and celebrated music education in the Big Apple
After spending the first few days of GRAMMY Week getting acquainted, rehearsing and plotting their schedule, the members of GRAMMY Camp — Jazz Session finally got to let the music do the talking at the GRAMMY In The Schools Live! concert in New York City on Jan. 25.
Taking place at The New School's John L. Tishman Auditorium, the GRAMMY Museum event proved to not only showcase this year's class of Jazz Session students and the many alumni of the program who were in attendance, but it also spotlighted the year-round initiatives of the Museum, which include a range of programs for youth musicians and music education.
The event also acknowledged the Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum's 2018 Music Educator Award recipient Melissa Salguero, a music teacher at P.S. 48 in the South Bronx.
"This is one of the most epic moments of my life. My dream was to teach in a city that loved and cherished music," said Salguero. "To be honored in New York City as a New York teacher, this has been one of the most amazing experiences in my life."
But on this January evening, the spotlight shone brightly on the 18 young musicians in the Jazz Session band — comprising five saxophones, five trumpets, four trombones, bass, drums, guitar, and piano.
With direction from conductor Justin DiCioccio, the band performed a taught set list showcasing, in DiCioccio's words, the "different styles and moods of jazz." Out of the gate, the band swung through Neal Hefti's "Whirly Bird" with a brisk fervor, highlighted by the sax chairs trading solos.
They segued into "Cabeza De Carne," a Latin clave-based tune that put some pep in the audience's collective step, and Benny Golson's "Along Came Betty," which seemed to bottle the sounds one might hear at 2 a.m. at a late-night NYC jazz club.
"We've had one rehearsal, by the way," quipped DiCioccio in between songs.
Following a take on Randy Brecker's "Sponge," which featured cool riffing and angular walking bass lines courtesy of guitarist Jordan Reifkind and bassist Augustus "Gus" Allen, respectively, the Jazz Session members kicked into high gear.
The ensemble performed a spirited take of Buddy Rich's "West Side Story Suite." The multi-layered composition was chosen in honor of the centennials of composer Leonard Bernstein and famed drummer Rich. Appropriately, the sprawling tune was sparked by brassy punctuations and impressive stick work by drummer Varun Das.
Next, the musicians' showcased depth and range that belied their experience on "Red Hair, No Freckles," a complex piece composed by GRAMMY Museum Executive Education Director David Sears, who offered, "If we play it right, your body should move." Judging by the audience reaction, they indeed got it right. The collective navigated the multiple odd time signatures in the piece with aplomb while interpreting the tune's R&B, funk and progressive pop flavors that ably mixed elements of Earth, Wind & Fire, James Brown and Chicago.
For a special encore, the Jazz Session band was joined by one of their own, alumni Jon Batiste. The gregarious pianist/bandleader for "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert" — who came straight from a show taping to play with the students — sat in for a performance of Duke Ellington's "Kiki" and Count Basie's "Splanky."
In the presence of the senior musician, the band upped their game and matched Batiste's fire, measure by measure. For his part, the smiling Batiste dazzled the ivories, with his playing light as a feather and forceful at the appropriate moments and improvised solos that were ripe with articulate calls and responses, motifs and linear flourishes. Jazz Session pianist Esteban Castro, who stepped aside for the final two songs, smiled for the duration as he witnessed the masterclass.
As for the Jazz Session members, the experience and education they amass during their GRAMMY Week crash course will certainly bode well for their future careers. And the time they are spending together in the Big Apple constitutes a form of networking, which one alumnus described as an integral part of the GRAMMY Camp — Jazz Session experience.
"[I advise them to] keep in touch with each other," said David Grossman, a pianist/bassist who was a Jazz Session band member in the mid-'90s. "They might know this but their fellow bandmates, hopefully, they'll know [each other] for a long, long time."
"These are some of the finest young jazz players in the country and we are giving them a very unique lens of what it means to work in music," said Scott Goldman, Executive Director of the GRAMMY Museum. "The kind of challenges that they will face as a working musician, the kind of discipline that is required by a working musician — this is an experience that I don't think you are going to get in any conservatory setting."
Whitney Houston, 29th GRAMMY Awards
Apple Music Exclusive: Watch Classic GRAMMY Performances
The Recording Academy teams with Apple Music to offer historical GRAMMY performances by Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye, Whitney Houston, Shania Twain, Kendrick Lamar, and more
To celebrate the GRAMMY Awards' 60th anniversary and the show's return to New York for the first time in 15 years, the Recording Academy and Apple Music are bringing fans a special video collection of exclusive GRAMMY performances and playlists that represent the illustrious history of Music's Biggest Night.
Available exclusively via Apple Music in a dedicated GRAMMYs section, the celebratory collection features 60-plus memorable performances specifically curated across six genres: pop, rap, country, rock, R&B, and jazz.
The artist performances featured in the collection include Marvin Gaye, "Sexual Healing" (25th GRAMMY Awards, 1983); Whitney Houston, "Greatest Love Of All" (29th GRAMMY Awards, 1987); Run DMC, "Tougher Than Leather" (30th GRAMMY Awards, 1988); Miles Davis, "Hannibal" (32nd GRAMMY Awards, 1990); Shania Twain, "Man, I Feel Like A Woman" (41st GRAMMY Awards, 1999); Dixie Chicks, "Landslide" (45th GRAMMY Awards, 2003); Bruno Mars and Sting, "Locked Out Of Heaven" and "Walking On The Moon" (55th GRAMMY Awards, 2013); and Kendrick Lamar, "The Blacker The Berry" (58th GRAMMY Awards, 2016).
The 60th GRAMMY Awards will take place at New York City's Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. The telecast will be broadcast live on CBS at 7:30–11 p.m. ET/4:30–8 p.m. PT.
Carrie Underwood, John Legend To Host "GRAMMYs Greatest Stories"