Rock and ceol – the Irish at the Grammys

The 64th Grammy Awards take place this Sunday evening in Las Vegas. However, aside from one obvious band, Irish artists didn’t do as well as you might think on music’s biggest backslapping night…

You’ll often – rightly – hear that Ireland punches way above its weight on the global music scene, but when it comes to the Grammys, Irish artists haven’t fared as well as expected despite fervent fans. inspiring and, more importantly, selling a lot of records.

Hozier lost to Sam Smith in 2015

Which is odd considering the huge influence Ireland has had on some of the oldest forms of American music, not to mention many other American institutions and traditions.

Ireland’s less-than-multi-platinum Grammys record is also curious given the American Recording Academy’s policy of having one – a small golden gramophone trophy – for everyone in the audience. This year, there are a staggering 86 award categories.

That’s not to say the event wasn’t short of shocking on-stage incidents. A serial stage invader and, in Obama’s immortal words, “jackass,” Kanye West is banned from performing at this year’s event.

Like all awards ceremonies, the Grammys have lost some of their luster, but what hurts the Recording Academy the most is the drop in viewership. More importantly, the Grammys have fallen into disrepute for many reasons over the past few years, including allegations of racial bias.

The extraordinary scenes at last week’s Oscars when Will Smith slapped presenter Chris Rock are something you might have expected to see when two feuding music groups settle their “beef” in public, but lately the The Grammys were a decidedly lame affair with men and women in suits triumphing over the more rock ‘n’ roll instincts of real talent.

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That’s not to say the event wasn’t short of shock incidents. Serial stage invader and, in Obama’s immortal words, “jackass”, Kanye West is banned from performing at this year’s event and organizers will be keen to avoid their own “slap-gate” on Sunday night at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.

Plus, who might want to attack host Trevor Noah, the nice comedian and pundit who returns as host this year?

A veil of grief will also hang over this year’s ceremony following the tragic death last week of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins.

When it comes to Ireland at the Grammys, one could of course apply Jack Charlton’s rule and claim many victories since the ceremony began in 1959 (after all, Irish-American Billie Eilish is still in contention this year ) but let’s make a sober assessment of the Irish at the Grammys, pop fans.

This Sunday evening we will fly the flag for Dublin playwright Conor McPherson, who is nominated alongside producers Simon Hale and Dean Sharenow for North country girlthe acclaimed Broadway play based on the songs of ten-time Grammy winner Bob Dylan.

These standout gentlemen of the road, The Chieftains, will always have something to keep in the downstairs restroom, having won an impressive six Grammys between 1979 and 1994.

There are no Grammys to guess which Irish band has won by far the most Golden Gramophones over the past 33 years.

With a truly impressive 46 nominations and a total of 22 wins, U2 are not only Ireland’s most Grammy-winning band, but also the most awarded band of all time.

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It’s easy to see why. Love ’em or hate ’em, only a churl wouldn’t be impressed with the band’s accomplishments over the past forty years. Always on message and always healthy, America and the Recording Academy, the costumes and artists who run the Grammys, have long embraced U2 in their midst.

Here’s a band that has long celebrated and castigated America’s mythical sense of itself, and the Academy likes it. Many.

You could call Van Morrison the Paul Newman or the Marty Scorsese of the Grammy Awards. The Belfast cowboy has been in exile too long and his two victories came long after he had done his best work.

And let’s not forget that U2 also does, or did, something the Grammys have always loved: selling records and making big bucks for the American music industry.

From their first win in 1988 for album of the year for Joshua tree to their Grammy Hall of Fame win in 2014, they deserve it.

But what other Irish artists have done well at the Grammys?

These standout gentlemen of the road, The Chieftains, will always have something to keep in the downstairs restroom, having won an impressive six Grammys between 1979 and 1994.

Nine-time nominated Celtic demi-goddess Enya carves seductive choral ambient tapestries that she hates to be described as New Age music, even though she has won four Grammys in the New Age Music category.

His Clannad siblings won the award in the same category for their album Landmarks in 1999.

In the same vein of swirling Gaelic mysticism, composer Bill Whelan won a well-deserved Grammy for Best Musical Performance Album for river dance in 1997.

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Five-time nominee Sinéad O’Connor has only won once. In 1991, she received the award for Best Alternative Music Performance for I don’t want what I don’t have. However, she became the first artist in Grammy history to refuse to accept his gong by simply not showing up. Good for her!

You could call Van Morrison the Paul Newman or the Marty Scorsese of the Grammy Awards. The Belfast cowboy has been in exile too long and his two victories came long after he had done his best work.

In 2002, future Irish pop Samantha Mumba saw her song Baby, come (it’s our night) nominated for the all-important Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical Gong, but went home empty-handed, while in 2007 Celtic Woman was given the nod for Best World Music Album for her album, destiny.

And spare a thought for Hozier. He was nominated for the ubiquitous not to mention the era take me to church for Song of the Year in 2015 but frankly someone should have called the LAPD when he lost to Stay with me by Sam Smith.

Alan Corr @CorrAlan2

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