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RockNotes: Three Faces of Evil, Only One Good

1. THE GRAMMYS: I feel like I've been reading this article my whole life. Anyone who takes the Grammys seriously as a measure of musical greatness is a tool, a dupe, or both. Paying attention is only important insofar as the ongoing importance of monitoring the enemy. Just consider: Neil Young won his first Grammy ever last night - and it was for the packaging of his boxed set. As several observers have noted, that ties him with Britney Spears - whose win was actually for a recording.


"Veering away from their stated mission 'to honor artistic achievement ... without regard to album sales or chart position,' the 52nd annual Grammy Awards instead embraced the American Idol pop mainstream Sunday during one of the longest but least substantial nights in their history," Jim DeRogatis writes today.

That sort of implies the Grammys have had a substantial night.


"In another one of those Grammy shockers, Taylor Swift won the night's biggest award - album of the year for Fearless - after a nationally televised performance Sunday that pointed out how richly she didn't deserve it," Greg Kot writes.

How is it a shocker that someone like Taylor Swift would walk away a big Grammy winner? That's who she is and what the Grammys are; a perfect match.

I've always said the top five records put out by a Chicago label in any given year easily best the top five nominated for Grammys, and I'll stand by that.

Hell, the top five records put out by any single Chicago label are probably better than any five nominated for Grammys.

2. TICKETMASTER: "After a year of quiet deliberations behind closed doors while everyone from angry congressmen to consumer advocates to Bruce Springsteen shouted in opposition outside, the U.S. Department of Justice on Monday gave its blessing to the merger of two of the most controversial companies in the music industry: giant national concert promoters Live Nation and monopolistic ticket brokers Ticketmaster," DeRogatis writes.

"Widely considered to be the first major test of the Obama administration's stance on antitrust issues, the Justice Department's ruling is similar to many issued during the Clinton and Bush years, including the settlement of the Microsoft case. The government is trusting an ever-expanding big business to police itself and act in consumers' interests.

"For followers of politics as practiced in Chicago, it is hard not to suspect some successful influence peddling. In addition to employing the most high-powered Democratic lobbyists in Washington, Live Nation's board members include Hollywood super agent Ari Emanuel, brother of Rahm Emanuel, President Obama's chief of staff and former North Side congressman, while Ticketmaster's board of directors included the president's Harvard classmate and transition team leader Julius Genachowski, until he resigned to become chairman of the FCC."

Even Springsteen is disappointed in Obama.

3. OZZY: "If Armageddon began tomorrow, I'd lay odds that Ozzy Osbourne would be one of the last men standing," Teresa Budasi writes. "By his own account, the godfather of heavy metal has been awarded a lifetime of lucky breaks. In his new memoir, I Am Ozzy (Grand Central, $26.99), he accounts for, takes responsibility for and is remorseful for all the drunken, drugged-out, crazy, irresponsible and sometimes violent episodes that make up the story of his life - a life he inexplicably has lived to tell about."

There's obviously a lot of darkness and depression in Ozzy's life, but there's also charm and dynamism.

"It's no wonder MTV plucked Osbourne and his family to star in their own reality show in 2002. I Am Ozzy reads like a long-running hit sitcom - The Monkees meets Spinal Tap meets The Beverly Hillbillies meets Arthur - with Osbourne's character a cross between David St. Hubbins and Dudley Moore's drunken Arthur Bach.

"Hey, remember the one where the sofa caught fire and Mum's false teeth went flying through the window? Or the time Ozzy and his bandmates got so freaked out after watching The Exorcist that they all slept in the same hotel room?"



Comments welcome.


Posted on February 1, 2010

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