Published February 15, 2006
The Grammys did not produce any kind of big bounce for the night’s overall winner, U2.
Indeed, the No. 1 album of the week is Jack Johnson’s soundtrack to the “Curious George” movie. Go figure. The album threw a monkey wrench into the plans of many Grammy winners who probably thought exposure on the show would pay off in sales.
U2’s “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” wound up selling a paltry 28,000 copies after the Grammy show aired, lodging it between 45 and 50 on the week’s chart according to hitsdailydouble.com.
Maybe the band would have been better off not performing “Vertigo,” a track from the 2005 Grammys, and “One,” their lovely ballad from time forgotten. Maybe if they’d done their current hit, “Original of the Species,” it might have triggered sales.
Of course, performing “One” with Mary J. Blige was designed to cross-promote the group into the black audience. It didn’t work for them, but it worked wonders for Mary J. Her album “The Breakthrough” was up 24 percent from last week and finished second, despite the fact that Mary J. — even though we love her — couldn’t actually sing the song.
Two other female singers who appeared on the Grammys also did well from the show. Mariah Carey’s sales were up 90 percent from last week; she sold 89,000 copies of her “Mimi” CD and jumped from 16 to 7.
Kelly Clarkson, the mall-order Linda Ronstadt of this generation, went from 23 to 8, up 107 percent, for her “Breakaway” album.
But others did not achieve such greatness from the show. Jamie Foxx should have learned something from his misbegotten “Music Man” skit with Kanye West. It didn’t help him at all. Jamie’s “Unpredictable” fell by 21 percent, from 4 to 10.
That’s weird, because all he had to do was sing “Love Changes” with Mary J. and sales would have gone through the roof. But “Gold Digger” is obviously starting to get on people’s nerves. Or maybe it’s just that they realize that without the Ray Charles song, “What I Say,” the track would be moot.
The Grammy show looked great in person, but maybe it didn’t translate on screen. Lack of a host was definitely a problem — the show didn’t have focus. And maybe there were too many performers. On paper, you’d think having Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Madonna and Mariah, in addition to Foxx, West and Blige would be a smash. But some people are telling me it looked like a mess.
I think the biggest problem is that the Grammy deadline is Oct. 1 for a show that airs in February. Music is not like the movies; it’s more ephemeral. And letting actors take advantage of the deadline rules is a huge detriment. U2 and Maroon 5 are living off of albums released a long time ago. The audience knows that; the average viewer probably thought U2 was there just to recall the 2004 release of “Bomb.”
There should be a Grammy rule that if a single is released before its album, and thus makes the deadline on its own, then the album is not eligible when it’s released later.
U2’s “Vertigo” came out before Oct. 1, 2005, making it a Grammy nominee. “Bomb” followed after that, putting in contention this year. Forget it! Artists should have to pick one or the other. To amend a saying for the rock world: You can’t always have your coke and snort it too.
And so many artists of interest are missing entirely from the Grammys and from radio: Ryan Adams is one. Ray LeMontagne. Death Cab for Cutie. Why was Chris Brown featured at Clive Davis’ party and not on the actual Grammys? Same for James Blunt, who is finally hot right now?
It’s time to rethink how some of this is done before it’s too late. Because if the Grammy show can be beaten by “American Idol” and produce dismal record sales as well, then what’s the point?
The Elton John AIDS Foundation just announced that Grammy winner John Legend will perform at Elton’s annual Oscar party this year at the Pacific Design Center on March 5.
Sir Elton himself will be an honoree of the We Are Family Foundation on April 25 here in New York. Quincy Jones and Tommy Hilfiger will also be honored, as will Comcast.
Legendary record producer Nile Rodgers (Chic) and Nancy Hunt started We Are Family right after 9/11 to educate people about racism. Five years later, they’ve proven that they are serious in this endeavor. Many congrats.
If you recall, Michael Jackson didn’t want to participate in a video and charity single produced by Rodgers in late September 2001 because he wanted to do his own. We all know how that worked out.
The original We Are Family singers for the video included Diana Ross, Ashford & Simpson, Phoebe Snow, Anjelique Kidjo, Luther Vandross, Roberta Flack, Dionne Warwick, Little Steven van Zandt, Jackson Browne and Sister Sledge, for whom Rodgers wrote the hit single of the same name in the early '80s.
The talented Danny Schecter directed the documentary, Spike Lee did the video, and Tommy Boy Music prez Tom Silverman made sure it was all seen and heard. You can read all about this phenom organization at their Web Site.
Julie Kenney, whose Jewels & Pinstripes is the foremost gift bag compiler, should have paid close attention to our Sundance story yesterday.
Kenney skipped Sundance this year, choosing instead to concentrate on the MusiCares show and the Grammys. This was a wise move: Sundance swag, with the exception of Motorola, was very pedestrian this year.
At MusiCares, Kenney gave celebs a lot of things they couldn’t get elsewhere: spa treatments and lotions, as well as art by Romero Britto, an iPod cover, a Bluetooth computer mouse by MoGo, a custom-made Ike Behar shirt and a rolling duffel from Ebags.
MusiCares presenters also got a choice between Advent and Bose speaker systems. Presenters also got a discount card for a free private plane ride. It was just unclear whether it was one way or round trip!
PS: And who from Park City really deserves some good swag? How about Ted Ligety, the 21-year-old American who got the gold medal yesterday in Torino for the Men’s Combined Skiing. Our other local “Downhill Racer” Robert Redford must be very proud!