A couple of days ago, I made an unexpected discovery. 45 years ago, my father won a Grammy.
I hardly knew my father. He walked out when I was 5 years old and returned to the USA, where he made a career as a recording engineer in New York. He visited us briefly during the 1960s, and in the early 1970s he moved to Miami with his partner, Tom. After we moved to the USA, we saw them a couple of times in Massachusetts and Florida. Eventually Tom succumbed to AIDS, in the most painful way, and my father lost interest in life and died in January 1995.
My friend Kate happened to mention my father on Friday, and later that day I decided, on a whim, to Google for him. There were lots of hits, so I narrowed my search: “Robert Arnold recording engineer”. Up came this Wikipedia entry:
The Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical has been awarded since 1959. The award had several minor name changes… From 1961 to 1962 it was awarded as Best Engineering Contribution – Popular Recording
Wow. Not just any recording, but a legendary event:
April 23, 1961 – a legendary night not only for Judy Garland, but for the entertainment industry in general. This night, attended by the normal folks and the glitteratti of show business, has gone down in history as one of the greatest nights in show business. Judy was in perfect shape both vocally and performance-wise. The creme-de-la-creme of show business were there, and all were “reaching out to touch Judy Garland” as Rex Reed would state years later. All who were there would talk about it as if it were a revival of some sort.
Capitol wisely decided to record this concert. The two-record set would spend 95 weeks on the charts, 13 of those weeks at #1. The record would garner FIVE Grammy Awards: Best Solo Vocal Performance, Female; Album Of The year (the first time an album by a female artist or a concert recording won this award); Best Album cover; Best Engineering Contribution, Popular Recording; A Special Artists And Repertoire Award given to the set’s production Andy Wiswell).
He never mentioned it – not to me, or to my mother or brother. I certainly never saw any kind of plaque or trophy when I made an (admittedly half-hearted) attempt to sort out his things after he died. Who would have thought it?
I wonder what other surprises Google has for me? But first, I think I need to buy myself a copy.