First Look Grammy CoverSounding Off:

Pop Stops picks Grammy winners

The 42nd Annual Grammy Awards Show is just a few days away – the night of Feb. 23 – and so again it's time to take a look back at the best (or at least the most popular) recordings of the past year. Were your favorite albums and artists nominated? Who do you think will win?

If the number of nominations are any indication, Santana ought to walk away with a trunkload of trophies. Last year Lauryn Hill led the pack with 10 nominations going into the awards show, and this year the Latin rock fusion band pulled in 10 nominations for its Supernatural project, including nods in the important Album and Song of the Year categories. It's an amazing coup for a band that has been around since the '60s and up to now has never brought home a single gramophone statue.

Latin pop was incredibly hot over the past year, and while Santana definitely leads the popularity pack in multiple nominations, fellow Latin pop artist Ricky Martin garnered a handful of nominations as well, as did pop vocal group Backstreet Boys. Girl group TLC should make their way to the podium a few times as well; their album Fanmail attracted eight nominations. The soundtrack to Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me proved popular, earning nominations for Madonna, Lenny Kravitz and Green Day in various categories, and turning up with a nod in the Best Soundtrack category. Other artists who were nominated in three or four categories were Shania Twain,
GRAMMY

AWARDS

ON TV

WHAT: 42nd Grammy Awards.

HOST: Rosie O’Donnell.

WHEN: 7 to 10 p.m., Feb. 23.

WHERE: Los Angeles’ Staples Center.

TV: Channel 2.

Britney Spears, Cher, Dixie Chicks, Sarah McLachlan and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

In order to appear on the list of nominees for this year's awards, recordings must have been released between Oct. 1, 1998, and Sept. 30, 1999.

The Grammy Awards cover the whole spectrum of music, from pop to blues to rap to classical to children's recordings. I can't claim to have listened to every recording released this year (and must admit to a strong deficiency in the jazz, classical, gospel and blues sections), so this "Grammy Picks" list will focus on awards in the pop/rock/country field – the usual purview of the "Pop Stops" column. I'll cover roughly one-third of the Grammy categories. For a complete listing of all 98 categories of awards, check out the Grammy Web site at www.grammy.com.

Given the list that the Grammy nominators have given us (and, as always, they have opted for some strange omissions and inclusions), these are my votes for who I think should win (not necessarily the same as who I think will win!), with the occasional comment on categories that seem particularly deficient or overly rich in good choices.

So have a little Grammy fun.

Clip the following list, make your own s and see how you and I each score during the televised awards show on Wednesday night!

EDITORS NOTE: I've updated the following list to note with an x who really won.

And the nominees are:

 

Record Of The Year

Ricky MartinAward to the Artist and to the Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s) and/or Mixer(s) if other than the artist. This category is for a commercially released single, or track from a current year's album.

"I Want It That Way" – Backstreet Boys from Millennium

"Believe" – Cher from the album Believe

"Livin' La Vida Loca" – Ricky Martin from the album Ricky Martin

x "Smooth" – Santana Featuring Rob Thomas from Supernatural

"No Scrubs" – TLC from the album Fanmail

"Livin' La Vida Loca" was my pick for Single of the Year in the Pop Stops Best of 1999 list.

 

Album Of The Year

Award to the Artist(s), and to the Album Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s) and/or Mixer(s) if other than the artist.

Millennium – Backstreet Boys

Fly – Dixie Chicks

When I Look In Your Eyes – Diana Krall

x Supernatural – Santana

Fanmail – TLC

Santana probably will take this category, but what can I say, I've just never found the band interesting. My Pop Stops choice for Album of the Year was Beth Hart's incredible "Screamin' For My Supper" CD, released last summer, which somehow didn't manage to garner a single nomination on this Grammy list. Go figure.

 

Song Of The Year

A Songwriter(s) Award. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

"I Want It That Way" – Andreas Carlsson & Max Martin, songwriters (recorded by Backstreet Boys) from the album Millennium

"Livin' La Vida Loca" – Desmond Child & Robi Rosa, songwriters (recorded by Ricky Martin) from the album Ricky Martin

x "Smooth" – Itaal Shur & Rob Thomas, songwriters (recorded by Santana Featuring Rob Thomas) from the album Supernatural

"Unpretty" – Dallas Austin & Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, songwriters (recorded by TLC) from the album Fanmail

"You've Got A Way" – Robert John "Mutt" Lange & Shania Twain, songwriters (recorded by Shania Twain) from the album Come On Over

 

Best New Artist

Britney SpearsFor a new artist who releases, during the Eligibility Year, the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist.

x Christina Aguilera

Macy Gray

Kid Rock

Britney Spears

Susan Tedeschi

Christina Aguilera had a great single in "Genie In A Bottle," but on her debut CD, Britney Spears shows more versatility. Look for her to be around in five years and Aguilera to be a memory.

 

Best Female Pop Vocal Performance

For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.

"Genie In A Bottle" – Christina Aguilera from Christina Aguilera

"Beautiful Stranger" – Madonna from Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me - Music From The Motion Picture

x "I Will Remember You" – Sarah McLachlan from Mirrorball

"Thank U" – Alanis Morissette from Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie

"... Baby One More Time" – Britney Spears from ...Baby One More Time

McLachlan delivers an incredibly emotive vocal on this song, but gets strong competition from Spears and Aguilera.

 

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance

Lou BegaFor a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.

"I Need To Know" – Marc Anthony from Marc Anthony

"Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of...)" – Lou Bega from A Little Bit of Mambo

"Sogno" – Andrea Bocelli from Sogno

"Livin' La Vida Loca" – Ricky Martin from Ricky Martin

x "Brand New Day" – Sting from Brand New Day

This is a tough category to call (and one dominated by the Latin vocalists who stormed the charts over the summer.) I vote for Lou Bega who just sounds like he's having more fun than anyone on this perfect "party" single.

 

Best Pop Performance By a Duo Or Group With Vocal

For established duos or groups. Singles or Tracks only.

"I Want It That Way" – Backstreet Boys from Millennium

x "Maria Maria" – Santana from Supernatural

"Kiss Me" – Sixpence None The Richer from: Sixpence None The Richer and from Songs from Dawson's Creek

"All Star" – "Smash Mouth" from Astro Lounge

"Unpretty" – TLC from Fanmail

 

Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals

For a collaborative performance by artists who do not normally perform together. Singles or Tracks only.

"The Prayer" – Andrea Bocelli & Celine Dion from Sogno

"When You Believe" – Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey from My Love Is Your Love and from The Prince Of Egypt Soundtrack

"Music Of My Heart" – 'N Sync & Gloria Estefan from Music Of The Heart — The Album

"Love Of My Life" – Santana Featuring Dave Matthews from Supernatural

x "Smooth" Santana Featuring Rob Thomas from Supernatural

 

Best Pop Instrumental Performance

For instrumental recordings, with or without vocal coloring, by an Orchestra, Group or Soloist. Singles or Tracks only.

"The Look Of Love" – Herb Alpert from Herb Alpert & Colors

"A Day In The Life" – Jeff Beck from George Martin - In My Life

"Song C" – Bruce Hornsby from Spirit Trail

"Night And Day" – Willie Nelson from Night And Day

x "El Farol" – Santana from Supernatural

 

Best Dance Recording

For solo artists, duos or groups, vocal or instrumental. Singles or tracks only. Award to the Artist and to the Producer (and/or Mixer) if other than the Artist.

x "Believe" – Cher from Believe

"Don't Let This Moment End" – Gloria Estefan from Gloria!

"Praise You" – Fatboy Slim from You've Come A Long Way, Baby

"Waiting For Tonight" – Jennifer Lopez from On The 6

"I Will Go With You (Con Te Partirσ)" – Donna Summer from VH1 Presents Live & More Encore!

Fatboy Slim had the most innovative dance disc last year, but Cher has a good shot at edging him out with her adventurous comeback single.

 

Best Pop Album

For solo artists, duos or groups, vocal or instrumental. Compilation albums by various artists are not eligible. Award to the Artist and to the Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s) and/or Mixer(s) of 51% or more playing time of album.

Millennium – Backstreet Boys

Believe – Cher

Ricky Martin – Ricky Martin

Mirrorball – Sarah McLachlan

x Brand New Day – Sting

Actually, I thought Vitamin C's self-titled debut was the best pop album last year, but it wasn't on the list. And with all apologies to McLachlan, why is Mirrorball, a live set of previously released songs, on this list instead of the great new releases last year by Tal Bachman, Len, Lou Bega or Britney Spears?

 

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance

Barry ManilowFor solo vocals, or Duos/Groups with vocals. Albums only.

x Bennett Sings Ellington – Hot & Cool – Tony Bennett

Come By Me – Harry Connick, Jr.

The Movie Album – As Time Goes By – Neil Diamond

Manilow Sings Sinatra – Barry Manilow

You're The Top: Love Songs Of Cole Porter – Bobby Short

 

Best Female Rock Vocal Performance

For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.

"Bliss" – Tori Amos from To Venus And Back

x "Sweet Child O' Mine" – Sheryl Crow from Big Daddy - Music From The Motion Picture

"Jukebox" – Ani DiFranco from Up Up Up Up Up Up

"Angels Would Fall" – Melissa Etheridge from Breakdown

"Possession (Live)" – Sarah McLachlan from Mirrorball

Actually, Amos's "1,000 Oceans" from To Venus and Back was one of the most moving performances of the past year. But since that's not on the list, I'll vote for "Bliss."

 

Best Male Rock Vocal Performance

For a solo vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.

"Can't Change Me" – Chris Cornell from Euphoria Morning

"What It's Like" – Everlast from Whitey Ford Sings The Blues

x "American Woman" – Lenny Kravitz from Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me - Music From The Motion Picture

"The Promise" – Bruce Springsteen from 18 Tracks

"Hold On" – Tom Waits from Mule Variations

This may be the weakest category in this year's nominations. Everlast is my guess on who will take it, but truthfully, I wouldn't vote for any of them! Why weren't the real"Best Male Rock Vocal Performances" recorded by Collective Soul, Protein, Ben Folds Five, Sammy Hagar, Wilco, Groovegrass 101, Midnight Oil or The Offspring included? "The Promise" isn't even a rock song!

 

Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal

For Duos or Groups with vocals. Singles or Tracks only.

"Special" – Garbage from Version 2.0

"Black Balloon" – The Goo Goo Dolls from Dizzy Up The Girl

"Malibu" – Hole from Celebrity Skin

"Scar Tissue" – Red Hot Chili Peppers from Californication

x "Put Your Lights On" – Santana Featuring Everlast from Supernatural

 

Best Hard Rock Performance

For solo vocals, or Duos/Groups with vocals. Singles or Tracks only.

"Get Born Again" – Alice In Chains from Nothing Safe

"Lit Up" – Buckcherry from Buckcherry

"Bawitdaba" – Kid Rock from Devil Without A Cause

"Freak On A Leash" – Korn from Family Values Tour '98

"Nookie" – Limp Bizkit from Significant Other

x "Whiskey In The Jar" – Metallica from Garage Inc.

 

Best Metal Performance

Rob ZombieFor solo vocals, or Duos/Groups with vocals. Singles or Tracks only.

x "Iron Man" – Black Sabbath from Reunion

"Bad Blood" – Ministry from The Matrix - Music From The Motion Picture and from Dark Side Of The Spoon

"Enter Sandman" – Motorhead with zebrahead from: ECW Extreme Music

"Starf***ers, Inc." – Nine Inch Nails from The Fragile

"Superbeast" – Rob Zombie from Hellbilly Deluxe

 

Best Rock Instrumental Performance

Includes Rock, Hard Rock and Metal Instrumentals. Singles or Tracks only.

"What Mama Said" – Jeff Beck from Who Else!

"Espionage" – Green Day from Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me - Music From The Motion Picture

"Bodyrock" – Moby from Play

x "The Calling" – Santana Featuring Eric Clapton from Supernatural

"Windows To The Soul" – Steve Vai from The Ultra Zone

Actually, Rob D's "Clubbed To Death" from The Matrix Soundtrack has my vote for best instrumental, but Green Day's track from Austin Powers wasn't bad either.

 

Best Rock Song

A Songwriter(s) Award. Includes Rock, Hard Rock & Metal songs. For Song Eligibility Guidelines see Category #3. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

"Angels Would Fall" – Melissa Etheridge & John Shanks, songwriters (performed by Melissa Etheridge) from Breakdown

"The Promise" – Bruce Springsteen, songwriter (performed by Bruce Springsteen) from 18 Tracks

"Room At The Top" – Tom Petty, songwriter (performed by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers) from Echo

x "Scar Tissue" – Flea, John Frusciante, Anthony Kiedis & Chad Smith, songwriters (performed by Red Hot Chili Peppers) from Californication

"Special" – Doug Erikson, Shirley Manson, Steve Marker & Butch Vig, songwriters (performed by Garbage) from Version 2.0

Sadly missing from this list are Marvelous 3's "You're So Yesterday," Tal Bachman's "She's So High," Collective Soul's "Heavy," Sammy Hagar's "Mas Tequila" and a number of others. Springsteen's "The Promise" is a ballad for crying out loud, not a rock song!

 

Best Rock Album

For solo artists, duos or groups, vocal or instrumental. Includes Hard Rock and Metal. Compilation albums by various artists are not eligible. Award to the Artist and to the Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s) and/or Mixer(s) of 51% or more playing time of album.

Breakdown – Melissa Etheridge

Significant Other – Limp Bizkit

Echo – Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers

Californication – Red Hot Chili Peppers

x Supernatural – Santana

Again, this list doesn't reflect the real rock albums released over the past year by The Offspring, Beth Hart, Sammy Hagar, Collective Soul or Tal Bachman.

 

Best Alternative Music Performance

Tori AmosFor solos, duos or groups, vocal or instrumental. Compilation albums by various artists are not eligible. For Albums only.

To Venus And Back – Tori Amos

x Mutations – Beck

You've Come A Long Way, Baby – Fatboy Slim

Play – Moby

The Fragile – Nine Inch Nails

 

Best Rap Solo Performance

For a vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.

"Gimme Some More" – Busta Rhymes from E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event - The Final World Front)

"My Name Is" – Eminem from The Slim Shady LP

"Vivrant Thing" – Q-Tip from Violator The Album

Wild Wild West – Will Smith (Featuring Dru Hill & Kool Mo Dee) from Wild Wild West - Music Inspired By The Motion Picture

"Changes" – 2Pac from Greatest Hits

 

 

Best Rap Album

For solo artists, duos or groups. Compilation albums of various artists are not eligible. Award to the Artist and to the Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s) and/or Mixer(s) of 51% or more playing time of album.

E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event - The Final World Front) – Busta Rhymes

Da Real World – Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott

x The Slim Shady LP – Eminem

I Am – Nas

Things Fall Apart – The Roots

 

Best Female Country Vocal Performance

For a vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.

"Ordinary Heart" – Emmylou Harris from Happy, Texas - Music From The Motion Picture

"Let Me Let Go" – Faith Hill from Faith

"Forget About It" – Alison Krauss from Forget About It

"I Love You" – Martina McBride from Emotion and from Runaway Bride — Music From The Motion Picture

x "Man! I Feel Like A Woman!" – Shania Twain from Come On Over

 

Best Male Country Vocal Performance

Lyle LovettFor a vocal performance. Singles or Tracks only.

"Don't Come Cryin' To Me" – Vince Gill from The Key

"Choices" – George Jones from Cold Hard Truth

"That's Right (You're Not From Texas)" – Lyle Lovett from Live In Texas

"Please Remember Me" – Tim McGraw from A Place In The Sun

"Crazy Little Thing Called Love" – Dwight Yoakam from Last Chance For A Thousand Years

 

Best Country Song

A Songwriter(s) Award. For Song Eligibility Guidelines see Category #3. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

"Amazed" – Marv Green, Chris Lindsey & Aimee Mayo, songwriters (performed by Lonestar) from Lonely Grill

x "Choices" – Mike Curtis & Billy Yates, songwriters (performed by George Jones) from Cold Hard Truth

"Come On Over" – Robert John "Mutt" Lange & Shania Twain, songwriters (performed by Shania Twain), from Come On Over

"Ready To Run"– Marcus Hummon & Martie Seidel, songwriters (performed by Dixie Chicks) from Fly and from Runaway Bride - Music From The Motion Picture

"Two Teardrops" – Bill Anderson & Steve Wariner, songwriters (performed by Steve Wariner) from Two Teardrops

 

Best Country Album

For solo artists, Duos or Groups, vocal or instrumental. Compilation albums by various artists are not eligible. Award to the Artist and to the Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s) and/or Mixer(s) of 51% or more playing time of album.

Ride With Bob – Asleep At The Wheel

x Fly – Dixie Chicks

Trio II – Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt & Dolly Parton

Cold Hard Truth – George Jones

Forget About It – Alison Krauss

If you haven't heard Alison Krauss' beautiful adult contemporary country CD, stop reading this article and go buy it now.

 

Best Soundtrack Album

Austin PowersAward to the Artist(s) and/or Producer(s) of a majority of the tracks on the album, or to the individual(s) actively responsible for the concept and musical direction and for the selection of artists, songs and producers, as applicable. Albums only.

American Beauty – Various Artists

Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me – Various Artists

The Matrix – Various Artists

The Prince Of Egypt – Various Artists

x Tarzan – Phil Collins

 

Best Song Written For Motion Picture, TV, Other Visual Media

A Songwriter(s) award for a song (melody & lyrics) written specifically for a motion picture, TV or other visual media, and commercially released on a recording for the first time during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.

x "Beautiful Stranger" from Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me – Madonna & William Orbit, songwriters (performed by Madonna)

"Music Of My Heart" from Music Of The Heart – Diane Warren, songwriter (performed by 'N Sync & Gloria Estefan)

"The Prince Of Egypt (When You Believe)" from The Prince Of Egypt – Stephen Schwartz & Babyface, songwriters (performed by Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston)

"The Time Of Your Life" from A Bug's Life – Randy Newman, songwriter (performed by Randy Newman)

"You'll Be In My Heart" from Tarzan – Phil Collins, songwriter (performed by Phil Collins)

 

Best Boxed Recording Package

The Blue Note Years - 60th Anniversary Box Set – Karen Greenberg, Gordon H Jee & Mark Kingsley, art directors (Various Artists)

The Complete Jazz At The Philharmonic On Verve 1944 - 1949 – Giulio Turturro, art director (Various Artists)

Hot Rods & Custom Classics - Cruisin' Songs & Highway Hits – James Austin, Hugh Brown & Julie Vlasak, art directors (Various Artists)

John Coltrane - The Classic Quartet - Complete Impulse! Studio Recordings – Hollis King, art director (John Coltrane)

x Miles Davis - The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions – Ron Jaramillo & Arnold Levine, art directors (Miles Davis)

Hot Rods & Custom Classics may be the coolest box set ever, let alone one released in 1998-99. With fuzzy dice, decals and more, this set was fun without ever putting on the CDs of '50s cruisin' classics that it promoted.

 

Best Short Form Music Video

For an individual track or single promotional clip. Award to the Artist and to the Video Director/Producer.

"All Is Full Of Love" – Bjφrk

"Everything Is Everything" – Lauryn Hill

x "Freak On A Leash" – Korn

"Back At One" – Brian McKnight

"Unpretty" – TLC