New York rolled out red carpet for the Grammys

By , Special to The Christian Science Monitor

The Grammys came back to New York last night for the first time in seven years, and the Big Apple went all out to celebrate the event. Mayor Edward I. Koch, who had worked for the past five years to woo the record-industry awards bash away from Los Angeles, proclaimed this ``Grammy Week'' and personally added the final touches to a giant G-clef painted on the Avenue of the Americas in front of Radio City Music Hall, where the 30th annual award presentation was held.

The earlier decision to hold the ceremonies in Los Angeles was made on the basis that most of the people in the industry were there already and would not have to make cross-country trips to a New York affair. This year, New York came up with the money, and showed a willingness to prepare for future hospitality.

Mayor Koch has formed a committee of members from New York's business and music communities whose task is to try to ensure that the Grammys will be presented in this city every other year.

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At the colorful ceremonies last night, Billy Crystal was scheduled to be host again in a three-hour presentation telecast live on CBS.

The featured acts were to include Michael Jackson, in his first live Grammy performance, doing ``Man in the Mirror''; Los Lobos singing ``La Bamba''; and a New York City music segment with George Benson, Celia Cruz, Miles Davis, and others.

The hoopla this week also involved a private party Tuesday night at Manhattan's ``in'' dance club, the Palladium, for 5,000 people, including Grammy nominees, members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), record company executives, and celebrities.

Yesterday and today a special program, entitled ``Grammys in the Schools,'' is being given in some of the city's public schools.

Artists and technicians from the record industry are giving workshops designed to acquaint pupils with the skills they would need for a career in the music business.

Some students are being encouraged to write their own songs with the help of professionals, while others are getting a behind-the-scenes look at the technical side of creating and recording music.

Among the events scheduled are a rap-music session with an eighth-grade class from Queens, by Run/DMC producer Lawrence Smith, and workshops with trumpeter Jon Faddis, producer/musician Bob James, Latin band leader Tito Puente, and songwriter/singer Lou Reed.

The one sour note in the gala awards event itself was that the Grammy backup band didn't appear on stage this year.

Instead, all the music, with the exception of the featured groups and artists, was pre-recorded. However, John Glasel, president of New York Local 802, American Federation of Musicians, told the press, ``I have assurances from the NARAS committee that this will never happen again.''

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