1987 Mike Greene Grammys Speech
1987 was my first year as President of the Academy and the Grammys were held at L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium. Paul Simon’s Graceland won Album of the Year and there were no categories for Alternative, Hard Rock, Metal, Rap… well yawn, you get the picture. The Academy had always used music personalities to host the show (in the previous year it was Kenny Rogers) but this year I proposed that we use a young man who was on a late night network episodic called “Soap”. His character was named Jodie Dallas, and the little known actor-comedian’s name was Billy Crystal. It was Billy’s first hosting gig! Needless to say that many of the Academy’s trustees were apprehensive about the decision, but in hindsight, not a bad choice! I was petrified at the thought of giving this speech and was the most relieved person in the world when it was over! This speech was probably my most institutional and is a good one if you need to be lulled into taking a nap!
Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to present to you the President of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, who’s already getting a standing ovation. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Michael Greene.
Thank you. Before I start this speech, I would like for all of us to give a hand to something very special tonight and I think the embodiment of it is on this stage; to the diversity of talent in our music family. Music is one of the indelible watermarks of a time and a civilization, a powerful, powerful symbol of society’s triumphs and its failings. But music is also the life’s work of professionals and has become the lifeblood of a great international industry. That industry requires support and leadership, effective collective action to ensure that the legal environment keeps pace with technology, that artistic freedoms remain secure and that intellectual property, that’s our songs and their performances, are protected. Our industry also requires the understanding of consumers, those of you who are out there who purchase and enjoy recorded music. As we work to ensure that creative people are fairly compensated and remain free to pursue every excursion of their imaginations in these matters, the Recording Academy stands beside other industry organizations and reaches out to the larger society through our National Student Awards, Grammy in the Schools and other educational programs.