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Open Letter to the Grammys: Give Metal and Hard Rock the Respect They Deserve

Ozzy Osbourne Jeff Hanneman Trent Reznor
Spencer Kaufman, Loudwire (Osbourne and Reznor) / Kevin Winter, Getty Images (Hanneman)

We recently published an open letter to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, asking them to consider some of the greatest hard rock + metal acts ever for induction. But now we point our dissatisfaction at the 2014 Grammy Awards, which took place Sunday night, Jan. 26, and featured one rock and metal snub after another.

Dear Grammy Awards Producers,

After years past of some bizarre nominations in the hard rock and metal categories, it seemed like you finally had it right going into the 2014 ceremony. The Best Metal Performance field was well represented by acts like Black Sabbath, Anthrax, Killswitch Engage, Dream Theater and Volbeat (featuring King Diamond). Moreover, the list of performers, while mostly rooted in pop music, did seem promising with Metallica and an all-star collaboration between Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age and Dave Grohl on the bill. However, once the ceremony started, it all started to go south when it came to honoring hard rock and metal. What went wrong? Let us count the ways …

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath!

The Grammy Awards has been known to reward questionable older acts over newer and more active bands in past ceremonies. Remember when the flute-powered Jethro Tull’s ‘Crest of a Knave’ beat out Metallica‘s ‘… And Justice for All’ for Best Hard/Rock Metal Performance in 1989? However, this year marked an occurrence where a legendary act like Black Sabbath — the godfathers of metal themselves — actually had an incredibly relevant and triumphant year. And on top of that, they deservingly won the Best Metal Performance award for ‘God Is Dead?’ But when did TV viewers get to see Sabbath accept their award? They didn’t! Instead it was presented during the online-only pre-ceremony while Black Sabbath were still making their way into the building for the main event. Pop star Cyndi Lauper had to accept for them. Cyndi Lauper! All respect to Daft Punk, but did we really need to see them accept three awards during the main telecast?

Not to mention, why didn’t Sabbath perform during the ceremony? Even if the show only had room for one metal performance, shouldn’t Sabbath have gotten the nod over Metallica, who didn’t release any new material last year. Preferably, both acts would have gotten to perform, or how about Metallica joining Sabbath onstage? What if Ozzy and Co. started out with ‘God Is Dead?’ and then were joined by ‘Tallica for a rousing rendition of ‘War Pigs’? Now, that would have been a sight to see. Instead we were treated to a bit of a hot mess, as Metallica were joined onstage by classical pianist Lang Lang. Perhaps a good idea in concept, but it was more chaotic than entertaining.

In Memoriam: A Metal ‘Angel’ Forgotten

While we understand that the Grammys can’t include every single musician who passed away in the last 12 months as part of the annual ‘In Memoriam’ segment, there’s one musician we fully expected to be represented during the montage — late Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman. After watching the segment the first time, we thought we may have missed the mention of Hanneman, yet we went back and watched it two more times. No mention at all! Here’s a man who was the chief songwriter in one of the world’s most legendary bands, penning some of the greatest metal tunes of all time, including ‘Angel of Death,’ ‘Raining Blood’ and ‘South of Heaven,’ among others. And did you forget that Slayer actually won two Grammys — one for Best Metal Performance in 2007 for ‘Eyes of the Insane’ and another for the same award in 2008 for ‘Final Six.’

On top of that, we thought we may see a mention of classic Iron Maiden drummer Clive Burr, who passed away in March of 2013. Alas, he was sorely missing from your ‘In Memoriam’ segment, as well. Late Deftones bassist Chi Cheng did appear ever so briefly in the montage, but the absence of Hanneman and Burr is inexcusable.

NIN-tentional Disrespect?

For rock fans sitting through three and a half hours of mostly pop performances, the highlight of the 2014 ceremony was set to be a collaboration between Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Dave Grohl and Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham. The collaboration came at the very end of the show, with Trent Reznor starting things off by leading the all-star cast of musicians through the NIN song ‘Copy of A.’

However, only seconds after the rock heroes switched into QOTSA’s ‘My God Is the Sun,’ Grammy producers decided to thank their sponsors and roll the credits while the rock luminaries performed in the distant background. Moreover, the telecast ended halfway into the performance. Considering that the show was already running 15 minutes late, what was the harm in staying on the air a couple more minutes? Would the Grammys have done that to Beyonce or Taylor Swift had one of them closed out the show? We think not. And apparently Trent Reznor agrees with us, sending out a profanity-laced Tweet shortly after the performance.

Summary

While we’ll keep our language a little less profane than that of Mr. Reznor, we’ll reference the NIN mastermind when we say: Hey Grammy producers, get your heads out of your holes and start giving metal and hard rock the respect they deserve!

Sincerely,

Your Friends at Loudwire

Do you agree with the points we made in our open letter to the Grammys? Share your opinions in the comments section below.

See Our Full 2014 Grammy Awards Coverage Here

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