One of the tracks from Santana’s recent album “Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All Time” was performed live on the American Music Awards by Carlos Santana and Gavin Rossdale. Sunday night on November 21 it was televised live on ABC TV at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.
Their performance from the album was the song “Bang A Gong” originally recorded by T. Rex. What exactly is the American Music Awards? How significant are they to the music industry? Why present it a few days before Thanksgiving and not near the Grammy telecast?
What are the American Music Awards? A historical look
In 1973 Dick Clark, the impresario of “American Bandstand”, was a highly-popular weekly music/dance television program at the time. Clark wanted to create a music awards show that was in direct competition to the Grammys.
Instead of an exclusive body of the music industry who vote on the nominees and winners, it would have music retailers and radio executives determine the nominees. Then the general public would vote for the winners.
The first American Music Awards, or AMAs, was televised in January 1974. It wasn’t until 2003 it was changed to November for its live telecast as not to compete with other major award shows during the Oscar season.
Santana won an AMA in 2000
Back then the AMAs were still held in January around the time of the Grammys. Santana was nominated for two American Music Awards in the categories of Favorite Pop Rock Band/Duo or Group and Favorite Pop Rock Album. His stellar album “Supernatural” won in the Album category. Its fellow nominees were Backstreet Boys “Millennium” and Britney Spears “Baby One More Time.”
Unfortunately Santana, nor other fellow nominee ‘N Sync, did not win favorite group. Obviously that was the year of the boy bands. Backstreet Boys won that category. Coincidentally they also performed at Sunday night’s American Music Awards.
Santana and Rossdale performance at the 38th American Music Awards
It was in the last half hour of the live telecast when they finally came onstage. This was right before the award presentation for Artist of the Year. Unfortunately Gavin Rossdale did not have a good night. He messed up some lyrics, was out of tune and not very much into his performance at all. Carlos Santana, on the other hand, was having a good time with his guitar mastery.
During the instrumental break in the middle of the song he was jumping up and down at times. At least everyone was standing up during their song. They showed a number of people in the audience getting into it. Rossdale did not deliver the raw passion that made the original such a great rock and roll song. Obviously this was an off night for the two performers. They have certainly done better.