Suzanne Vega wasn’t nominated, so she didn’t stick around. Jewel,
Busta Rhymes and BB King were, so they stayed to answer the same
question ad nauseam: How does it feel to be nominated for a Grammy?
King — a seven-time Grammy Award winner and 1997 nominee for Best
Rock Instrumental Performance — provided the standard response,
“It means a lot to be part of the program and even more to be
An eclectic panel of musicians, which also included David
Sanborn, Steven Curtis Chapman and Richard Marx, were on hand at
the Ed Sullivan Theater to announce the nominees for
the 39th Grammy Awards to be awarded on Feb. 26 at New York’s
Madison Square Garden.
Producer Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds received the most mentions,
nabbing a record-tying 12 nominations for his work on the “Waiting
to Exhale” soundtrack, Toni Braxton’s “Secrets,” and others.
Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS) validated the
Smashing Pumpkins commercial success with seven nominations,
including Record of the Year (“1979”) and Album of the Year
(“Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness”).
Other alternative acts receiving mainstream consideration
included Beck for Album of the Year (“Odelay”), the sometimes
indistinguishable tandem of Garbage and No Doubt for Best New
Artist, and Tracy Bonham for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance
Nominated for Best Rock Album were Sheryl Crow (“Sheryl Crow”),
the Dave Matthews Band (“Crash”), No Doubt (“Magic Kingdom”),
Bonnie Raitt (“Road Tested”) and Neil Young with Crazy Horse
(“Broken Arrow”). Best Alternative Music Performance nominees
include: Tori Amos’ “Boys for Pele,” Beck’s “Odelay,” Tracy
Bonham’s “The Burdens of Being Upright,” R.E.M.’s “New Adventures
in Hi-Fi” and the Pumpkins “Mellon Collie and the Infinite
Conspicuously absent from all categories are Pearl Jam’s
commercial flop but critically-acclaimed “No Code” and Metallica’s
venturous, chart-topping “Load.”
Conspicuously present was Howard Stern show henchman Stuttering
John Melendez who managed to upset the fragile Jewel (nominated
for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance) with
off-the-wall questions like: “What was Sean Penn like in bed?” and
“Are you going to sleep with any more unstable actors?” Jewel gave
Stuttering John a playful slap before her annoyed handlers whisked
But it was Rhymes, far more tolerant of Stuttering John’s ersatz
questions, that was the toast of the room. Upon hearing Sanborn
announce his name as a nominee for Best Rap Solo Performance, the
rapper let out a roof-rocking yelp. Later, the loquacious Rhymes was
giddy upon receiving consideration for the “Woo-Hah!! Got You All
in Check” single.
“Busta Rhymes feels incredible to be nominated,” the rapper
said, naturally referring to himself in the third person.