Bono was part of not one, but two scandals at the 1994 ceremony.
When U2 won Best Alternative Record for zooropa, Bono couldn’t help but drop an F-bomb during the band’s acceptance speech, saying, “I’d like to give a message to the young people of America. We shall continue to abuse our position and f**k the mainstream .” While the show was supposed to be on a 10-second delay, the curse made it into the live broadcast.
Later in the night, Bono headed back onstage to introduce Frank Sinatra, who was being presented with a lifetime achievement award. After a standing ovation, an emotional Sinatra took to the stage, where he began to deliver his speech.
“That’s the best welcome I ever had,” Sinatra said. “This is like being in baseball—the bases are loaded and you’re at bat, and you don’t know what you’re going to do.”
The broadcast then awkwardly cut to commercial while Sinatra was speaking. While some thought that it was an accident, Michael Greene, head of the Recording Academy, said that one of Sinatra’s assistants told them they feared Sinatra would talk for an hour, so they cut him off to avoid running over.
Soon after Sinatra was interrupted, Billy Joel, knowing they wouldn’t cut to commercial in the middle of a song, stopped his performance of “The River of Dreams,” looked at his watch, and said, “Valuable advertising time going by, valuable advertising time going by. Dollars, dollars, dollars,” with a smirk before resuming the song.