High on my list of things to do in Los Angeles was to visit the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live. This entertainment complex adjacent to the Staples Center downtown also contains the Microsoft Theater, a bowling alley, the Congo Room, etc. Ruth & I found out that it’s not a good idea to be in this area when a large convention is in progress. We went back the next day to see the Grammy Museum, and I was disappointed. It’s simply overwhelming!
There are 3 levels to explore and almost every exhibit is temporary, so you surely won’t see the same museum we saw. If you appreciate all forms of American music and have patience, definitely visit it. Everyone begins on Level 4 with a history of the Grammys shown via videos that move forward from Frank Sinatra to Beyonce. Examples of the evolving awards are in a row. The two temporary and very well presented exhibits on this floor dealt with the careers of John Denver and the legendary Ella Fitzgerald. Ella won 13 Grammys and her exhibit opened on what would have been her 100th birthday. The tribute to her closes on September 10, 2017. Ruth enjoyed seeing Ella’s gowns, and I liked observing Denver’s handwritten lyrics. His memorial will be up until the end of this summer.
Level 3 began with a display about the Latin Grammys. I knew very little about them and was immediately fascinated. Streaming performances made the show look far more entertaining than the regular Grammy Awards. I learned later that the 18th annual Latin Grammy Awards will air on Univision on November 16. They will be given out at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Watching the performances, I had 2 reactions. The problem with the Grammy Museum in general is that it attempts to tell something about all forms of music with too many performers. This is both impossible and exhausting. And secondly, why don’t the folks in charge have several awards presentations: The Jazz Grammies, The Pop Grammies, the Hip Hop and Gospel Grammies, and so on?
I did learn. There was an exhibit about the birth of the popular song. Some consider Stephen Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home” to be the first pop hit. I could have accessed but didn’t have time for songs I favored. I saw historic examples of all the systems of recorded music and was shocked by this youthful photo of Thomas Edison. I watched Frank Sinatra’s appearance at the 1st Grammy Awards in 1959. He was nominated for 6 but won only 1.
Level 2 contained a huge Museum Store and the newest temporary exhibit called “Marty Stuart’s Way Out West: A Country Music Odyssey”. I was told it will be up for at least 4 months. Also on this level was The Clive Davis Theater. That evening Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues, which has sold more than 70 million albums, was scheduled to both talk about his career and perform. It was sold out. Sheryl Crow was there on June 7.
I personally believe that The Grammy Museum should focus on what it does best, interpret the music industry for us. I really enjoyed, for example, the Songwriters Hall of Fame. At present it’s a scattershot monument to egos and musical success.