Grammys Are Coming Back to NY — Why Were They Away for So Long?
20 years ago, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was quoted in the New York Times as saying:
If they [the Grammys] want to go back to L.A., they can…we could replace the Grammys in about a day. You say we're going to lose $40 million? We'll replace that with three other things in a day. I'm serious.
Well regretfully, they did go back to Los Angeles and have only been back one time in 20 years since then. Prior to this, the show would alternate between New York and Los Angeles pretty much regularly.
Leading up to this, the mayor was a big supporter of the Grammy organization. In 1997, he went so far as to change the New York Knicks playing schedule and even closed down a subway line to make the show happen at Madison Square Garden.
In 1998, a lot changed. Prior to that year, New York and Los Angeles engaged in a healthy competition to host the show. But February of 1998 brought bad blood into the scenario. There was a small dispute regarding Rudy Giuliani being allowed to announce a list of nominees at the ceremony, as well as some confusion about the presenter, country star, Clint Black being sick and not being able to make the show. The Mayor was thought to be a likely substitute for Clint Black. Later, the Recording Academy, or (Grammy Awards) stated that according to the rules, only recording artists were allowed to do so. The dispute spiraled into a full-fledged argument because of the way the issue was being handled by both offices. A lot of bickering ensued between a rep for the mayor’s office and the Recording Academy’s reps.
The Mayor ended up skipping the academy’s press conference and threatened to boycott. The mayor felt as though his office’s rep was treated harshly, the academy president denied it, and the situation went nuclear, hence the mayor threatened to boycott.
There was always a rivalry between NY and LA for the Grammys, but this tiff was a gift to the city of LA. What iced the whole thing was when the president of the Recording Academy sent roses to one of the women in the mayors' office with whom he argued, along with a card reading:
I am sorry for the confrontation this morning. I hope to have the opportunity to clear the air.
The New York Times said the roses and the card were sent back.
Basically, the rest is history, as the show went on live from Los Angeles 19 out of 20 years since then. Fast forward to 2018. The website for the Grammys reads:
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his office have worked tirelessly on the GRAMMY telecast's return to Madison Square Garden, which is estimated to bring $200 million in economic benefit to the city.
So January 28th we’re hosting the 60th annual Grammy Awards live from Madison Square Garden. James Corden will host the show on CBS and I'm a fan. The Grammys are just cooler when they’re in New York, and I hope we get to host them a lot more in the future.