I woke up with a Grammy hangover today, my head aching with images and performances that I witnessed last night. Did I actually see Pharell try and make that ridiculously wonderfully catchy “Happy” into a minor dirge? Did I actually watch the great and all powerful Kanye sing a song while standing on what appeared to be a lighted manhole cover? Was that really Kristin Wiig in a wig doing that dance with the Dance Mom’s girl in a wig while Sia in a wig sang that cool Chandelier song? And did Beck actually win not one but two awards instead of Beyonce? Oh, and don’t get me started on Kanye again – will someone please duct tape that dude to his chair? Yes, we know you think Beyonce rules the world. Get over it and sit down.
So all these images were swirling in my head, but the one important impression that last night’s Grammy show left me was this: did I witness not one but two pairings of older male singers singing what are considered “love songs” with two very young female singers? Tom Jones and Jesse J and Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga….I did see that, and it kinda bums me out. Not because I didn’t love Tom Jones and Tony Bennett’s performances. They were both terrific and God knows, I hope I still sound like that when I’m 74 and 88 respectively. And Jesse and Gaga were good too…No, what bothered me is this: where are the duets featuring older (no, let’s use the word “seasoned” – it doesn’t sound so derogatory)…where are the duets featuring a “seasoned” female artist paired with a young male artist? What does this say about the music industry’s ability to see women once they’ve reached a seasoned age?
Okay, we did get to see Madonna getting all down with her bad self. But she wasn’t singing a love song with one of the 20 something male pop singers. And she’s only 56, certainly no where near octogenarian Tony B. When I posted on Facebook last night, someone said, well Annie Lennox and Mary J Blige sang songs with younger artists. Uh, hello??? Annie Lennox is 60. And Mary is 44. While I guess you could argue that Annie’s using her AARP card to get movie discounts by now, Mary is in no way a “seasoned” artist by comparison. It’s ageism and it sucks.
So I decided to put together some duets that I wish I could see on the Grammys but never will. Any of the women listed below could hold their own against any one of their young male counterparts. In fact, I’d venture to say these women would have the young’uns for lunch and still have room for seconds…
Let’s start off in the country category. I’d love to see a duet with Wanda Jackson and Luke Bryant. Or Loretta Lynn and Jason Aldean. How would our “bro country” guys fare when paired with these country spitfires? Hmmm??
And in the Crooner category, I’d like to see Barbra Streisand and Michael Buble mix things up. Or how about jazz singer Nancy Wilson and John Legend. Wouldn’t that be cool? In R&B, what about Gladys Knight and Sam Smith? Or Tina Turner and Justin Timberlake? And let’s not forget Aretha! She could be paired with…anyone, frankly. Wouldn’t it be fun to see Bruno Mars and Aretha do something together? I think the Queen of Soul could “Uptown Funk You Up”, don’t you?
Or Carole King and John Mayer? I’d pay good money to see something where Grace Slick sang with Jim James from My Morning Jacket. And how about folk? I think Joan Baez could show a few things to Ed Sheeran about delivery and stage presence.
And while we’re at it, where’s Martha Reeves…Petula Clark…Brenda Lee? And don’t even get me started on the “seasoned” artists who haven’t yet reached 70…Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Debbie Harry, Diana Ross, Pat Benatar, Chrissi Hynde, Stevie Nicks, Cher… And if she hadn’t sadly retired due to her illness, Linda Ronstadt.
Geez, Tom Jones and Tony Bennett are both grandfathers…Don’t you think it’s about time we had some Grannys on the Grammys? I do!