Guitar great Les Paul pretty much summed it up when he told a backstage press conference, "A lot of rock and roll is like a United Airlines dinner." In fact, the annual Grammy Awards show, staged in New York for the first time in seven years, was as bland as anything on a Styrofoam tray. The superstar audience at Radio City Music Hall sat nearly catatonic through the commercial breaks and perked up only slightly when the cameras roved to check out their fashion statements. "I can't imagine this," said comedian Jackie Mason, whose own artless comments about blacks and Jews only added to the general stupefaction. "I told all my best jokes."
Though the stars loosened up somewhat at various Grammy parties around town, the only people who seemed to be having fun during the ceremony were the guys from U2, whose LP The Joshua Tree copped Album of the Year. Sitting front and center, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes, Bono and the boys made good on the claim that "we're not mainstream, we're slipstream." Mainstream, however, was the order of the night, and Michael Jackson was its star. Though his LP Bad picked up only one minor Grammy, Michael sizzled through two numbers. Then his new Pepsi commercials were unreeled, simulcast at the Music Hall and to 33 million viewers at home. At that point, the carbonation was needed.
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