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Natalie Cole
The big winner at the 34th annual Grammy bash, in what essentially was a vote for studio technology, was singer Natalie Cole's slickly engineered duet with her late father, "Unforgettable." While Nat King Cole recorded the track back in 1951, it nevertheless won his daughter a slew of Grammys, among them Record of the Year, Album of the Year and, rather astonishingly, Song of the Year, an award meant to honor songwriters (remember, this song was written 40 years prior to receiving this award).

   
Then there was Michael Bolton, who won a Grammy for his note-for-note remake of "When a Man Loves a Woman" and then proceeded to thank everyone but the house janitor without offering one word of gratitude to singer Percy Sledge, the man who wrote the song and took it to #1 back in 1966. The announcement of Bolton's victory provoked a chorus of boos in the press room, where the singer himself later told critics, "Kiss my ass!"

Also invoking the past in one way or another were crooner Johnny Mathis, Barbra Streisand, a made-for-movie soul group, the Commitments, and one actual soul man, James Brown, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award and a standing ovation. There were a few more contemporary moments too, mainly provided by Best Rap Grammy winner, LL Cool J, Seal and by Queensrÿche doing what ended up being the biggest hit of their career, "Silent Lucidity."

"This is our 251st performance of that song," Queensrÿche's Geoff Tate said.

R.E.M. were also on hand to pick up three Grammys, including Best Video, and to urge everyone to register to vote in the upcoming presidential election (Bill Clinton vs. George Bush the elder).

There was also some flat-out rock, courtesy of the metal Grammy winner, Metallica. But from a house filled with everyone from Broadway show-tune writers to New York City mayor David Dinkins, it wasn't exactly a prime crowd for a hard rock performance.

"You sit out there and you see Mayor Dinkins and Natalie Cole and all these people down there ... the look of horror on their faces is incredible," Metallica's Lars Ulrich said.

Ulrich and his band did find something to be thankful for, though.

"We got to thank Jethro Tull for not putting out an album this year," he said, referencing the fact that the flute-heavy prog rock act took the Grammy for Best Metal Performance a few years before.

-- MTV News



For more on Natalie Cole, Michael Bolton, and R.E.M., Metallica, check out the MTV News Archive >>






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