What is a Grammy??

The 51st Grammys are officially over and according to all reports it was an evening full of stars, glamour and marching bands.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

The broadcast from the Staples Center in Los Angeles sometimes had the appearance of a fantasy. There was no mention of the economic troubles across the country or of the music industry’s continuing declining sales. Though download sales are rising, album sales dropped 14 percent last year.

The Grammy Awards have been an American music institution for nearly half a century. But what is a “Grammy” anyway?

“Grammy” is short for “Gramophone” and the actual Grammy Awards given out each year are modeled after this odd record player.

According to Wikipedea, the actual trophy is manufactured exclusively by Billings Artworks. The trophies are all hand made and assembled. Years ago, the old smaller gramophone had to be revamped because the metals were too soft and there were many problems with the trophy breaking. The trophy was made bigger and grander. The Grammy is assembled in pieces and finally finished off in gold plating. The trophies used for the broadcast are called “stunt” Grammys.

The Grammy Awards are given by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc. which was formed in 1957.

“In the beginning The Recording Academy owed its survival to members who donated long hours to the emerging professional association. A labor of love, the young Academy may not have prevailed had it not been for the dedication of its charter members…The GRAMMYs are the only peer-presented award to honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position.” Grammy.com

Clay Aiken

Clay Aiken

The first Grammy Awards were held in 1959 in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton. The big winners that year were Domenico Modugno for “Nel Blue Dipinto di Blu (Volare)” which took home Record of the Year and Song of the Year and Henry Mancini for The Music from Peter Gunn which won Album of the Year.

Ella Fitzgerald won for Best Jazz Performance, Individual and The Kingston Trio won for “Tom Dooley” in the Best Country & Western Performance category.

Congratulations to Robert Plant, Alison Krauss, Coldplay and all the other winners.  Each musical group had something unique to add to the musical year.

Personally, I look forward to the year that beautiful voices win Grammys and that Clay Aiken wins his first Grammy.

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