Brad Blanks (Sort Of) Remembers GRAMMYs Red Carpets Past + His Favorite Performances

February 8, 2019
Brad Blanks GRAMMY Trophy

(Brad Blanks)


By Brad Blanks/Shannon in the Morning

Growing up in Australia as a kid that loved the hits of the '80s it was always a thrill to see your favorite musicians perform on the GRAMMYs telecast. Of course we always got the telecast down under a day late and knew all the winners and losers from listening to the radio. The words “no spoilers” didn’t exist back in the '80s and '90s so we just had to suck it up and enjoy the show. 

See Also: WCBS-FM DJs Look Back At Their Favorite GRAMMYs Memories

My top 3 favorite performances at the GRAMMYs have been:

1. At the height of his powers Michael Jackson dominated the 1988 GRAMMYs and would easily be my favorite performance.

Stringing together “The Way you Make me Feel” then into a seven minute “Man in the Mirror” was incredible. 

Brad Blanks GRAMMY Trophy
(Brad Blanks)

2. Coming off the back of the fantastic move The Bodyguard, Whitney Houston rolled out the hit song from the movie "I Will Always Love You”.

She also won the Record of the Year with super producer David Foster and the soundtrack for the movie won Album of the Year. Many years later I was at David Foster’s house in Malibu for a party. As the party progressed I thought it would be a good idea to drink a beer out of his GRAMMY. At the time I thought it was a nice gesture to pay homage to one of greatest performers even, Whitney Houston. 

Brad Blanks and Bruce Springsteen
Brad & Bruce (Brad Blanks)

3. Bruce Springsteen leading the tribute to The Clash's Joe Strummer at the Garden for the 2003 GRAMMYs.

I was sitting there at the Garden watching this performance and was in awe watching Dave Grohl, Elvis Costello, and Steven Van Zandt just dominate.   

When I moved to New York City, I started to cover the GRAMMYs for Scott Shannon. My first GRAMMYs was in 2002 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Jon Stewart hosted the big night. It was a thrill to be backstage and see all the acts come through to be interviewed after they won a GRAMMY. This was Alicia Key’s coming out party. She won five GRAMMYs that night including Best New Artist and Best Song for “Fallin". It will be great to see her return to the big dance as the host this Sunday night. 

U2 won a few GRAMMYs that night but the big winner was a guy called T Bone Burnett who produced the soundtrack for the movie O Brother Where Art Thou and won Album of the Year. This was the first movie soundtrack to win the Album of the Year GRAMMY since The Bodyguard Soundtrack. Can the Black Panther soundtrack pull it off this year? Probably not.   

I walked out of the Staples Center after the GRAMMYs that night with a couple of interviews that I had collected for the radio the next morning. I was excited for the after parties I was about to attend when I saw a few GRAMMY Awards sitting on a car roof. There was a guy and his lady fumbling around about to get in the car. I rushed over and asked for an interview with a GRAMMY winner. I had no idea who he was until he said his name T Bone Burnett. He had just won four awards and was more than happy to have a chat on one of the greatest nights of his career. 

The following year the GRAMMYs moved back to New York City after five years into Madison Square Garden. As I mentioned above this was the night where Springsteen, Grohl and Costello lit the place up. It was a thrill to have the GRAMMYs in New York. When I arrived at the Garden I ran into my childhood favorite, Aussie songstress Kylie Minogue on the red carpet. I accidentally nearly stood on her… yes she is very tiny. Looking for my seat inside the Garden I was a bit lost. Also lost was Michael J Fox who I ran into and shook his hand firmly and told him how much I loved Alex P. Keaton and Marty McFly. Yes, he is very tiny too. 

After the show a few of my buddies and I shuffled across the street to the Hammerstein Ballroom where there was a post-party that we were going to crash. As we were entering the venue John Mayer walked in at the same time. He had been hanging at the radio station that week and remembered us. He said we were with him to the ladies on the door and we walked straight in. Being one of the first people in the room, we walked straight over and placed ourselves in the VIP roped-off area. We had no place at all being there but the booze was flowing and the place was quickly filling up quickly. I got talking to a guy who had a big bushy mustache who was holding a GRAMMY. It turned out to be Lloyd Maines, country music legend, who was the father of Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks. He produced their album “Home” which won Country Album of the Year. We had a few beers and introduced me to the “Chicks”. Top ladies.  You can tell I was happy from the photo right? 

(Brad Blanks)

My night kept kept getting better where I was in a nervous stand off with the legend himself, Bruce Springsteen. I wanted to have a chat to him and eventually got the courage to say hello. It was an awkward interlude which resulted in this photo. One amazing night at the GRAMMYs.

Now I’ll be watching the GRAMMYs on my couch in the hope of seeing another legendary performance like Michael’s, Whitney’s or Bruce’s. 

And cheering on Alicia Keys hosting gig, 17 years after winning Best New Artist? Who said that award was a curse to one’s career? Evanescence (2004) beating 50 Cent, Milli Vanilli (1990) who had it rescinded and Maroon 5 who won over Kanye West in 2005……a successful career until the curse struck last week at their Super Bowl half time performance!

Related: WCBS-FM's Top 5 Rock & Roll GRAMMYs Moments