Bruce’s Busy Weekend
The second weekend in February will be an eventful one for Bruce Springsteen. On Feb. 8, the rock icon will receive the Person of the Year award at the annual MusiCares dinner and concert in Los Angeles. Two nights later, he may well pick up one or more Grammys for his latest album, Wrecking Ball.
Nine of the 22 previous Person of the Year honorees have won Grammys that same year. Bonnie Raitt won three awards in 1992, the year she became the first female Person of the Year honoree. Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder each won two Grammys in their years as the honoree; Gloria Estefan, Elton John, Sting, Brian Wilson, Aretha Franklin and Neil Young each won one.
Is it a case that if an artist agrees to do the dinner (which is the primary fund-raising event for the Recording Academy's MusiCares charity), they'll be more apt to win a Grammy? It's not that simple, but it can't hurt. The artists who are chosen for Person of the Year have all been A-listers (see the list below) and most have been long-time Grammy favorites. All but three of the Person of the Year honorees had previously won Grammys. And those three artists (Estefan, Wilson and Young) finally won in the year of their MusiCares honor. So while there are a lot of factors at work here, I think it's fair to say that being the honoree puts artists front-of-mind and may give them an extra edge.Before we go any further, let me note that Springsteen undoubtedly agreed to do the MusiCares event not as part of a Grammy campaign strategy (the very idea sounds absurd) but because his name-power will enable the event to raise a lot of money, which will help a lot of people.
Besides, Springsteen has won 20 Grammys, so it's not as if he needs any help in bringing home the hardware. Only one Person of the Year honoree had won more Grammys at the time of his or her selection: Quincy Jones, with 26.
The Person of the Year award recognizes both creative accomplishments and charitable work. MusiCares' mandate is to ensure "that music people have a place to turn in times of financial, medical and personal need."
Springsteen has a pretty good chance of becoming the fourth Person of the Year honoree to wind up in the running for Album of the Year that same year. He would follow Raitt, who was nominated for her chart-topping 1991 album Luck Of The Draw; Bennett, who was nominated (and won) for his generation-bridging 1994 album MTV Unplugged; and Paul Simon, who was nominated for his comparatively minor 2000 album You're The One.
Springsteen has been an Album of the Year finalist twice, though he has yet to win the award. He was nominated for 1984's Born In The U.S.A. (which lost to Lionel Richie's Can't Slow Down) and for 2002's The Rising (which lost to Norah Jones' Come Away With Me). (By coincidence, both Richie and Norah Jones also have albums that are eligible this year.)