RSVP / THE GRAMMYS : What's Next for Cinderella After the Ball?


Maybe Sheryl Crow was onto something.

The singer had just won three Grammys, including record of the year. She was the combination Cinderella/First Lady of the A&M;/Polygram party. She seemed to have an MTV or "Entertainment Tonight" film crew glued permanently to her hip. She was peaking on the kind of rarefied experience life offers exclusively to astronauts, presidential candidates and pop stars.

So what's next? "I'm going to retire tomorrow while I'm still hot," said the high-flying Crow.

Interesting career move. At least she'd have fond memories of her last night in show business.

A&M;/Polygram's lavish affair was set on their lot near La Brea and Sunset, among the Tudor-esque buildings that Charlie Chaplin first built for his film studio. Added was a basketball-court-sized black tent that guests entered through and partied in. This connected to a sound stage done dramatically in white, from walls to chair coverings.

In the white room, an eight-piece R&B; band played by a black-and-white dance floor. Connecting to this was one more tented room, quieter than the first two, where Jamaican food was served to the accompaniment of piped-in bird songs. It seems that after a night of rock 'n' roll, the trilling of whippoorwills and cardinals is quite soothing.

"We don't have anything like this in tennis," said an awed Martina Navratilova as she viewed the sumptuous surroundings. "I don't eat it, but it's incomprehensible that you could serve caviar to 1,000 people."

Actually, it was 1,200. But what's a few more fish eggs among friends?

Among those dining were Robert De Niro, Melissa Etheridge, Chris Cornell, Michael Douglas, Billy Joel, B.B. King, Henry Rollins, KISS' Gene Simmons (who mentioned his group is now a single gold record shy of tying the Beatles), Suzanne Vega and A&M; CEO Al Cafaro, who said he was "on top of the world."

"I'm thrilled with the Grammys," said the label chief about the much-criticized awards. "Everyone wants them to make marketing sense. They never will. They can't be manipulated by us in the business--and we're great manipulators."

Seated nearby was Soundgarden's Kim Thayil, whose group won awards for metal and hard rock performance. The lead guitar player said he was "proud, surprised and maybe happy." He also said he'd reached the where's-the-free-beer? stage of the party. However, he made no mention about retiring.

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