Santana comes up with slew of nominations

Grammys: TLC and Backstreet Boys find themselves in more than one category. Locally, a Baltimore Symphony recording with violinist Hilary Hahn makes the list.

January 05, 2000|By J.D. Considine | J.D. Considine,SUN POP MUSIC CRITIC

When Carlos Santana released his first album, way back in 1969, neither Ricky Martin, Backstreet Boys nor the members of TLC had even been born. So how must the veteran rocker feel to be competing against those young sprats for the Record of the Year Grammy?

Probably about the same as Cher.

When the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced its nominations for the 42nd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles yesterday, the slate for the top three awards -- Record, Song, and Album of the Year -- shaped up as a battle of the ages. Cher's Eurodisco comeback hit, "Believe," is only in the running for Record of the Year, but Santana is represented in all three categories, with the song "Smooth" up for Record and Song of the Year, while "Supernatural" competes in the Album category.

With seven other nominations, in categories ranging from Best Rock Album to Best Pop Instrumental Performance, Santana is the year's most nominated artist. Winners will be announced on Feb. 23 (CBS will carry the awards ceremony live from Los Angeles).

But the guitarist is not the only star up for all of the top three awards. TLC's "No Scrubs" is nominated for Record of the Year, while "Unpretty" and "Fanmail" are competing in the Song and Album categories. Likewise, Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way" is a Record and Song of the Year contender, while "Millennium" is in the running for the Album Grammy.

Although the Song and Record categories were dominated by big pop hits such as Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca" (which is nominated for both awards), the Album field is much broader, with country stars the Dixie Chicks and jazz singer Diane Krall competing against Santana, TLC and Backstreet Boys.

In the Best New Artist category, a loophole in the rules which asks voters to consider "the first recording which establishes the public identity of [an] artist" finds first-time album artists Christina Aguilera, Macy Gray and Britney Spears compet- ing against veteran blues guitarist Susan Tedeschi (with two albums out) and rapper Kid Rock (four albums and an EP).

Along with TLC, composer/conductor Pierre Boulez received a total of six nominations, while Western Swing revivalists Asleep at the Wheel picked up five, including Best Country Album for "Ride with Bob," a tribute to legendary fiddler Bob Wills.

Backstreet Boys, the Dixie Chicks, Emmylou Harris, Whitney Houston and Lauryn Hill earned four nominations each.

As usual, there were some surprises on the ballot. Krall's Album of the Year nod is the most obvious, but there will also be quite a lot of consternation and snickering over the nomination of an unprintably titled Nine Inch Nails song under Best Metal Performance. We can bet that award won't be announced on live television.

Once again, the Grammy voters seem confused about the difference between folk and rock. Ani DiFranco is nominated in both folk and rock, but for two different albums: "Up Up Up Up Up Up," which earned her a place in the Best Rock Female, and "Fellow Workers," which is a Best Contemporary Folk Album contender.

But Tom Waits' critically acclaimed album "Mule Variations" is nominated both as a rock album (Best Male Vocal Performance) and a folk album (Best Contemporary Folk Album). Makes you wonder why they don't just make Folk/Rock a category, doesn't it?

Perhaps the most loosely defined category is Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, which somehow finds room for Marc Anthony, Lou Bega, Andrea Boccelli, Ricky Martin and Sting. Clearly, all five are male and popular, but beyond that it's hard to hear much in common in their music.

Locally, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's recording of Beethoven's Violin Concerto and Bernstein's Serenade is nominated for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (with Orchestra). The album, which features violinist Hilary Hahn and conductor David Zinman, is competing against recordings by the Chicago Symphony, the Halle Orchestra, and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal.

"We're very honored and delighted that this recording was nominated for a Grammy," said BSO president John Gidwitz yesterday. He was "particularly thrilled" because this was the first orchestral album that Hahn -- a frequent soloist with the BSO -- had made.

"It's very exciting to see the results of this long working-together process blossom into this celebrated recording," he said.

One-time Baltimoreans Tori Amos and Tupac Shakur picked up nominations, with Amos up for Best Rock Female and Best Alternative Music Performance Grammys, while 2Pac is nominated under Best Rap Solo Performance. Also in that rap category is Will Smith's "Wild Wild West," which features local R&B stars Dru Hill.

Also locally, Dinorock's "Dreamosaurus" album, produced by Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, is contending for Best Musical Album for Children.

Select list of Grammy nominations

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