As tipped here last week, the Grammy Awards will return next year to New York for the first time since 1998. This morning (April 3), Recording Academy president/CEO Michael Greene confirmed that the 45th annual event will held Feb. 23, 2003 at the city’s famed Madison Square Garden, marking the first time the Grammy Awards will be broadcast on a Sunday.
The Grammys — which had a history of alternating host cities between New York and Los Angeles — left New York in 1998 after a much-publicized dispute between Greene and city’s then-mayor, Rudolph Giuliani. At the time, Greene vowed that future Grammy ceremonies would be hosted exclusively in L.A.
The ascension of new mayor Michael Bloomberg has given the Recording Academy an opportunity to revisit its stance on the city, and Bloomberg was on hand this morning to receive a instrument from guitar pioneer Les Paul’s collection, presented by Sony Music Entertainment chairman/CEO Tommy Mottola and Latin star Marc Anthony. The guitar, adorned with a Sept. 11-inspired painting by retired New York fireman Peter Ortel, will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to the Uniformed Firefighters Association Widows and Children Fund.
The worldwide outpouring of support for New York following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks also seemed to be a factor in the decision to return the Grammy awards to the Big Apple. Chairman/CEO of the Empire State Development Corporation Charles Gargano said state officials have been working hard to bring a host of culturally significant events to the city in the coming months, and the Grammy Awards is the first such event to make the commitment. The awards’ “presence will send a message to the world that New York is roaring back,” he said, “despite the challenges we have faced in the last seven months.”
“Think about this: the music industry’s biggest showcase will be broadcast on television’s most-watched night from the country’s biggest city and the world’s most famous arena,” said CBS president/CEO Leslie Moonves.