It turns out that 2008 was not a huge year for the environment when it came to the Grammy awards, at least when it comes to the top categories. Still, the 50th anniversary of the music industry's biggest awards show did honor greens.
Although the tortured siren Amy Winehouse cleaned up the big wins with best new artist and best record, song and female pop vocal performance (Rehab), she isn't known for going green.
Best album of the year did have a solid green tinge, however, in the form of River: The Joni Letters by jazz great Herbie Hancock. The work is Hancock's homage to the great Canadian singer/songwriter and visual artist Joni Mitchell, who was a lion in the 60s folk era, helping spur eco (and other) consciousness in a generation. Her hit Big Yellow Taxi is considerened by some to be a green anthem, with its famous incantation "They paved paradise And put up a parking lot."
River also includes contributions from Leonard Cohen, Norah Jones, Corinne Bailey Rae, Luciana Souza, Tina Turner and Joni Mitchell herself.
Joni Mitchell was also awarded best pop instrumental performance, for One Week Last Summer from Shine.
Well-known green warrior John Mayer was nominated for best male pop vocal performance (for belief), but lost to Justin Timberlake.
Best traditional folk album was won by Levon Helm for Dirt Farmer, a great work steeped in care for the Earth. The former drummer for The Band, and longtime Woodstock resident, is well known for his green ethos.
It is also worth noting that Barack Obama, a politician with a strong record on the environment, also won his first Grammy, for reading his book, The Audacity Of Hope: Thoughts On Reclaiming The American Dream.
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