It’s amazing what a simple YouTube search can do for the creative process. With the entire world watching an expected emotional Grammys tonight on the heels of Whitney Houston’s passing, let’s take a trip in time to that same award show in 1983. The clip is worth the price of historical admission for a variety of reasons. Like, so:
— Rick James being Rick James while presenting the Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. As David D. noted, once Rick broadcasted, “This is a good place to go under when it gets wet,” we were in for something truly memorable. And if you didn’t think the man who made “Mary Jane” a permanent staple in pop culture could get even more ignorant, saying “I’m trying to get some” to Grace Jones on national television was even better. Does anyone doubt that Rick eventually got with Grace though? This is Rick James in 1983 we’re talking about.
— The talent in that category is something we may never, ever see again. Stevie Wonder’s “Do I Do,” Luther Vandross’ “Forever, For Always, For Love,” Ray Parker Jr.’s “The Other Woman,” Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” and George Benson’s “Turn Your Love Around” are ALL classics. How the hell does something like that happen?
— Seeing Marvin Gaye so ecstatic to take home the award is both beautiful and eerie. Beautiful in the sense that a man who gave the world so many timeless odes prior to “Sexual Healing” finally reached the mountaintop of musical achievements. Also, he finally appeared to have come full circle from the demons which had him basically flee the country only a few years earlier. Eerie in the sense he’d be dead not even two years later.
Indeed this is a classic moment packing more of a punch 29 years later largely due to many of its key contributors are no longer living. Enjoy the Grammys tonight if that’s what you’ll be indulging in (I’ll be flipping back and forth between this and Heat/Hawks and Jazz/Grizzlies). Chances are we’ll be YouTube’ing tonight’s show 10 years from now paying homage to everyone that isn’t here. People don’t live forever, but timeless music does.