May 23, 2008

High Flying, Adored

It's been a week for awards—you probably heard about this year's Polar Music Prize going to Renee Fleming and Pink Floyd; or perhaps Amy Winehouse showing up late to pick up an Ivor Novello Award, a situation Ivor Novello probably would have turned into a wry, bittersweet song; or perhaps my own favorite, Jazzie B, OBE.

But have any of them been "examining the historical background and long-term implications of important public policy issues"? Andrew Lloyd Webber (don't make any jokes until you listen to Evita again—OK, go ahead and make jokes, but do listen to Evita again, it's better than you remember) is the latest recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service. Presented by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (named for the most insufferable academic snob we ever stuck in the White House), the award is given "to individuals who have served with distinction in public life and have shown a special commitment to seeking out informed opinions and thoughtful views." (Although they did give the award to Dick Cheney a couple years ago—there's obviously some wiggle room in the criteria.) Musical types are rare on the honor roll, which is dominated by politicians and world leaders, but Lloyd Webber does follow in the footsteps of Wayne Newton (huh?—hey, he works like a dog for the USO) and Dolly Parton (no explanation necessary, really.)


Lisa Hirsch said...

Excuse me, I feel faint.

Robert F. Jones said...

And let us not forget Céline Dion awarded the Legion d'honneur:,8599,1808715,00.html

Matthew said...

On the other hand, the French did name an orchid after Jessye Norman, which earned them a lot of slack in my book.

Henry Holland said...

So, Pink Floyd, who, except for a one-off Live 8 gig a year or two ago, have been defunct since the mid-90's and hadn't made a really good band album since 1977's Animals gets the prize this year? Whose next, the Peter Gabriel-era Genesis?

Favorite Ivor Novello award moment: Harrison Birtwistle's acceptance speech after winning the classical award in 2006 (and having to listen to a bunch of pop acts beforehand):

Why is your music so effing loud? You must all be brain dead. Maybe you are: I didn’t know so many cliches existed until the last half-hour. Have fun. Goodbye.

Hahahaha. Take *that*, Arctic Monkeys!

Matthew said...

Darcy James Argue and I joked about this when the Dave Clark Five were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—that sooner or later, every single act that originated in the 50s or 60s is going to get some sort of award. It's the perks of getting in on the ground floor. (Maybe it's a disguised music ed award—raise your hand if you learned how to count 7/4 from Pink Floyd records. I know I did.)