Grammys 2022: Where Was the Rock?
For more than three hours last night, the Grammy Awards took over CBS to celebrate the biggest music releases from the past year. While a long list of artists took to the stage – including rap, country, Latin, hip-hop, R&B and jazz – rock was conspicuously absent from the proceedings.
All of the rock categories, including the metal and alternative awards, were presented during the “Premiere Ceremony,” a pre-telecast event in which the Recording Academy honored more than 80 other winners deemed less worthy of television airtime.
Foo Fighters swept the three rock categories this year: Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance. The band was originally scheduled to perform during the televised portion of the awards but pulled out following the recent death of drummer Taylor Hawkins.
The Recording Academy opted against replacing Foo Fighters, leaving a giant rock hole in the program. Such a decision would be understandable if there weren’t obvious alternate options, but that wasn’t the case this year. Two legendary acts – AC/DC and Paul McCartney – were multi-nominees. Wolfgang Van Halen, a rising star from a family of rock royalty, could have also fit the bill. In recent years, Elton John, Sting, U2 and Aerosmith each performed alongside other artists. Was nobody up for collaboration this year? Red Hot Chili Peppers just released a new album that is being hailed as a welcome return to form. They’re previous Grammy winners whose fan base largely aligns with that of the Foo Fighters. Did the Recording Academy even call?
Some may argue that the Grammy telecast, already bloated with performances, simply couldn’t fit in another act. However, this year they introduced a new feature, having artists from lesser-known categories perform into and out of commercial breaks. Even if the Grammys didn’t want to give rock music a full three- or four-minute performance, surely they could have found a couple of 30-second spots to highlight what remains one of the most popular musical genres in the world.
In fairness, there appeared to be some subtle efforts to sneak rock artists into the event: Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker played alongside H.E.R. and Lenny Kravitz, a video tribute to Hawkins was accompanied by playback of Foo Fighters’ “My Hero” and country star Chris Stapleton certainly looked and sounded like a golden god as he delivered a powerful rendition of his song “Cold.”
Ultimately, the 64th Grammy Awards were a relatively enjoyable affair. Trevor Noah was a fine host, many (but not all) of the performers gave commendable performances and Las Vegas provided a wonderful background for the event. It was flashy, glamorous and everything producers promise out of "music’s biggest night." But it didn't rock.