Some Things Old And New At Grammy Awards
February 9, 2009 at 4:59 AM (PT)
The 51st annual GRAMMYS was an all-ages affair ultimately dominated by a Rock legend who took up with a younger bluegrass singer on a whim.
The unlikely pairing of ROBERT PLANT and ALISON KRAUSS that produced the hit album "Raising Sand," on SUNDAY won five GRAMMYS including Album of the Year. The former LED ZEPPELIN frontman, previously best known for his high-decibel shrieking and rock star theatrics, found more docile NASHVILLE melodies with KRAUSS. While accepting the GRAMMY for Album of the Year, the 37-year-old KRAUSS, perhaps wanting to remind the audience that PLANT's rock star hadn't entirely matured, said there's "never a dull moment" with the 60-year-old singer.
"Raising Sand," produced by T BONE BURNETT, bested fellow nominees LIL WAYNE, NE-YO, COLDPLAY and RADIOHEAD. Their "Please Read the Letter" also won record of the year.
LIL WAYNE, who led the field with eight nominations, won three awards, including Best Rap Album for "Tha Carter III," for which he literally hopped on stage to receive. (His tally came to four GRAMMYS if you count his inclusion on "Swagger Like Us," which won Best Rap Performance by a duo or group.)
COLDPLAY also took home three awards, including Best Rock Album for "Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends." "We've never had so many GRAMMYS in our life," said lead singer CHRIS MARTIN, perhaps so excited he got confused (they had already won four over the years). "We feel so grateful to be here. I'm going to tear up."
The GRAMMYS this year offered a CBS telecast without a host and -- unexpectedly -- without several performers.
RIHANNA and CHRIS BROWN, both nominated for awards and scheduled to perform, were absent after the LOS ANGELES Police Department announced that BROWN, who is dating RIHANNA, was the subject of an investigation into a felony domestic violence battery from SATURDAY night. BROWN turned himself into police late SUNDAY and was released after posting bail. Police booked the 19-year-old R&B singer on suspicion of making a criminal threat.
To fill in for RIHANNA's scheduled performance, THE RECORDING ACADEMY hastily put together an ensemble of AL GREEN, JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, BOYZ II MEN and KEITH URBAN performing GREEN's "Let's Stay Together."
Among the unseen awards was a posthumous award for GEORGE CARLIN in the comedy album category for "It's Bad for Ya," a recording of his final HBO comedy special. AL GORE -- adding to his extensive awards tally -- won for the audio book of his "An Inconvenient Truth."
Instead of focusing on the awards, though, THE RECORDING ACADEMY has increasingly turned the Grammys into an all-star revue, packing the three-and-a-half-hour long show with performance after performance, duet after duet.
Among them: U2 kicking things off with their new single "Get on Your Boots"; LIL WAYNE and ALLEN TOUSSAINT paying tribute to NEW ORLEANS; NEIL DIAMOND singing "Sweet Caroline"; RADIOHEAD performing with the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA marching band; JAY-Z joining COLDPLAY; a tribute to THE FOUR TOPS; and JENNIFER HUDSON singing a rousing, touching version of "You Pulled Me Through" that left her teary-eyed.
Other notable winners included: RICK RUBIN for Producer of the Year; ADELE for Best Female Pop Vocal performance ("Chasing Pavements"); DUFFY for Best Pop Vocal Album ("Rockferry"); Radiohead for Best Alternative Music album ("In Rainbows"); Metallica for Best Metal Performance ("My Apocalypse"); AL GREEN for Best R&B Performance by a duo or group with vocals, and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance; DAFT PUNK for Best Dance Recording, and Best Electronic Dance Album; GEORGE STRAIT for Best Country Album ("Troubadour"); and B.B. KING for Best Traditional Blues album ("One Kind Favor").
A complete list of winners is available here.