Although they market to adolescents, adults run the music industry, and the industry insiders in the Recording Academy have tended lately to favor adult tastes in handing out Grammy awards. Thus, the Grammys have honored veterans of the glory days of rock (Steely Dan) and new talents that appeal to adults (Norah Jones).
This year, the Academy-no doubt embarrassed over debacles such as giving the best metal group prize to Jethro Tull, the 1970s-era rock 'n' roll flutist-enlisted more voters of the younger generation. So rap and, especially, rhythm & blues dominated this year's awards. The biggest winner was Beyoncé, with five Grammys, who can be thought of as a black Britney Spears except that she has a really good voice. The Goth-rock group Evanescence, claimed by contemporary Christian music fans until falling from their good graces, won best new artist. The family-honoring "Dancing with My Father" from Luther Vandross won best song.
The TV show was a tedious, energyless exercise featuring stiff, awkward reading of cue cards in between musical performances. The most musically significant awards, as usual, were given before in an untelevised ceremony. Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter were given posthumous awards. The sublime bluegrass fiddler and vocalist Alison Krauss won three more Grammys, ranking her at No. 18 with the most awards. The best country album went to Living, Loving, and Losing, a tribute album to the music of the Louvin Brothers, known both for their pioneering pop harmonies and their hellfire and brimstone gospel music.