Grammys say go, go, go
EmptyThe melding of eras was the theme of the 50th anniversary Grammy Awards on Sunday, but it will be remembered as the night Amy Winehouse was crowned as the new queen of pop present.
And the night a 67-year-old jazzman walked off with album of the year.
Herbie Hancock pulled off one of the biggest Grammy upsets in memory when "River: The Joni Letters," his reimagining of Joni Mitchell songs from 20-40 years ago, took the night's biggest prize. The album spent two weeks on the Billboard 200, peaking at No. 118.
It was only the second jazz set to win album of the year, following the Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto collaboration "Getz/Gilberto" in 1965.
"What a beautiful day this is in Los Angeles," Hancock said in accepting the award at Staples Center. He acknowledged the rarity of a jazz record winning, citing such as Miles Davis and John Coltrane having been overlooked. "I'd like to thank the academy for breaking the mold today," he said.
Later backstage, Hancock was asked about whether he thought his album was the conservative choice. He looked genuinely shocked. "I think I play music that's further out than any of these musicians ever heard," he said.
Hancock's shocker trumped a near sweep by Winehouse, who led the field with five awards, and continued the frustration of Kanye West in the major categories. He settled for a second-place haul of four — all in rap categories.
Winehouse, the young British singer-songwriter with the vintage sound and very modern tabloid image, had gone 5-for-5 before the last award was announced. Her haul included record and song of the year for "Rehab" and best new artist.
Earlier in the week, the U.S. embassy in London had denied Winehouse a visa to attend the Grammys, but after word came Friday that the visa had been granted, her reps said she wouldn't be attending, citing "logistics involved and timing complications." Instead, the show featured her two-song performance live from Riverside Studios in London — at 4 a.m. GMT.
Brad Paisley had the misfortune of arriving on the media-room stage during Winehouse's show. He looked at a monitor and promptly walk offstage. When she finished, he returned to applause. During his chat, however, Winehouse won record of the year and keyboards were aflutter — likely not with Brad Paisley quotes.
Meanwhile, West had led the field with eight nominations going in. He walked off with four, bringing his career tally to 10. But despite all three of his discs having been nominated for album of the year, his career shutout in the Big 4 categories remained intact.
West did, however, make the most of his spotlight time, giving the most notable acceptance speech of the night. He ran on a bit at the podium after winning best rap album for "Graduation," and the music came up on him. He acknowledged it, then continued. The play-off music ebbed and flowed a bit, then West began to talk about his mother, who died in November. He looked up from the podium and said, "It would be in good taste to stop the music now."
He went on further, basically telling the Recording Academy and everyone else that he deserved the big prize. But later, fellow album of the year nominee Vince Gill one-upped West. The singer's "These Days" won best country album, which was presented to him by Ringo Starr and Dave Stewart.
"I just got an award given me by a Beatle," he said. Turning to West, he added: "Have you had that happen yet, Kanye? The rapper grinned on camera.
Other multiple winners included Bruce Springsteen and gospel group the Clark Sisters with three each, and two apiece for Carrie Underwood, Alicia Keys, Chaka Khan, Justin Timberlake and Foo Fighters.
Grammy Lifetime Achievement awards went to the Band, Burt Bacharach, Earl Scruggs, Itzhak Perlman, Max Roach and Doris Day. Motown architect Berry Gordy was named Grammy Industry Icon.
The past and present mingled early and often during the 3 and1/2-hour show. Keely Smith duetted with Kid Rock on "That Old Black Magic," and Andy Williams, who has hosted the show several times, was among the presenters.
The night opened with a clip of Frank Sinatra at the Grammys in the early '60s. Then Keys took the stage and sang a virtual duet with him on "Learnin' the Blues." It was the first of several inspired pairings of performers and presenters on the awards' golden anniversary.
The original lineup of the "Purple Rain" funksters the Time was onstage for the first time in 15 years, doing "Jungle Love" in a medley with Rihanna — no Prince intro, though — or Alice Cooper, for that matter.
Among the other notable performances: Beyonce and Tina Turner, spanning a tad more than a generation, burned up "Proud Mary"; West ran through a medley with Daft Punk; John Fogerty was joined by Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis; and East met West and classical met jazz when Chinese pianist Lang Lang and Hancock led an orchestra in "Rhapsody in Blue," which included a memorable keyboard face-off between the headliners.
It was veterans day during the nontelevised portion of the show, presented during the afternoon down the street at the Convention Center. Among big-name sexagenerian-and-up winners of the 100 categories handed out were Willie Nelson and Ray Price, Joni Mitchell, Springsteen, Khan, the Eagles (who won in a country category for a song written in 1972) and Robert Plant (with Alison Krauss).
But the stars of the preshow were a trio with a combined age of 258. The halftime entertainment offered Pinetop Perkins on piano, Honeyboy Edwards on guitar and Koko Taylor on vocals doing "Let the Good Times Roll." Perkins, 94, and Edwards, 92, later took the stage to accept the best traditional blues Grammy for an album they recorded with Henry James Townsend and Robert Lockwood Jr., both of whom died in 2006.
Preshow co-host Frampton made the afternoon's sole mention of the WGA strike, as he struggled through some clunky canned banter on the TelePrompTer. "I'm super happy to be here," he said with a grimace. "Where are those writers?"
Among the posthumous winners were Johnny Cash, jazz saxman Michael Brecker and Gerald Levert. Brecker picked up a pair of Grammys, to bring his total to 15 dating to 1988. Meanwhile, Levert's win for traditional R&B vocal performance was a first for his famous family, including his group LeVert and LSG and his father Eddie Levert's '70s hitmakers the O'Jays.
LIST OF WINNERS
Record Of The Year
Rehab Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson, producer; Tom Elmhirst, engineer/mixer track from: Back to Black [Universal Republic Records]
Album Of The Year
River: The Joni Letters Herbie Hancock Leonard Cohen, Norah Jones, Joni Mitchell, Corinne Bailey Rae, Luciana Souza & Tina Turner, featured artists; Herbie Hancock & Larry Klein, producers; Helik Hadar, engineer/mixer; Bernie Grundman, mastering engineer [Verve]
Song Of The Year
Rehab Amy Winehouse, songwriter (Amy Winehouse); track from: Back to Black [Universal Republic Records; Publisher: EMI Music Publishing]
Female Pop Vocal Performance
Rehab Amy Winehouse; track from: Back to Black [Universal Republic Records]
Male Pop Vocal Performance
What Goes Around … Comes Around Justin Timberlake; track from: FutureSex/ LoveSounds [Jive]
Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
Makes Me Wonder Maroon 5; track from: It Won't Be Soon Before Long [Octone/A&M Records]
Pop Collaboration With Vocals
Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On) Robert Plant & Alison Krauss; track from: Raising Sand [Rounder Records]
Pop Instrumental Performance
One Week Last Summer Joni Mitchell; track from: Shine [Hear Music]
Pop Instrumental Album
The Mix-Up Beastie Boys [Capitol Records]
Pop Vocal Album
Back to Black Amy Winehouse [Universal Republic Records]
LoveStoned/I Think She Knows Justin Timberlake; Nate (Danja) Hills, Timbaland & Justin Timberlake, producers; Jimmy Douglass & Timbaland, mixers; track from: FutureSex/LoveSounds [Jive/Zomba]
Electronic/ Dance Album
We Are the Night The Chemical Brothers [Astralwerks]
Traditional Pop Vocal Album
Call Me Irresponsible Michael Buble [143 Records/Reprise]
Solo Rock Vocal Performance
Radio Nowhere Bruce Springsteen; track from: Magic [Columbia]
Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
Icky Thump The White Stripes; track from: Icky Thump [Third Man/Warner Bros.]
Hard Rock Performance
The Pretender Foo Fighters; track from: Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace [Roswell/RCA Records]
Final Six Slayer; track from: Christ Illusion [American Recording/Columbia]
Rock Instrumental Performance
Once Upon a Time in the West Bruce Springsteen; track from: We All Love Ennio Morricone [Sony Classical]
Radio Nowhere Bruce Springsteen, songwriter (Bruce Springsteen); track from: Magic [Columbia; Publisher: Bruce Springsteen]
Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace Foo Fighters [Roswell/RCA Records]
Best Alternative Music Album
Icky Thump The White Stripes [Third Man/ Warner Bros.]
Female R&B Vocal Performance
No One Alicia Keys [J Records/MBK Entertainment]
Male R&B Vocal Performance
Future Baby Mama Prince; track from: Planet Earth [Columbia/NPG Records]
R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
Disrespectful Chaka Khan featuring Mary J. Blige; track from: Funk This [Burgundy/ Sony/BMG]
Traditional R&B Vocal Performance
In My Songs Gerald Levert; track from: In My Songs [Atlantic]
Daydreamin' Lupe Fiasco featuring Jill Scott; track from: Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor [1st & 15th/Atlantic]
No One Dirty Harry, Kerry Brothers & Alicia Keys, songwriters (Alicia Keys); [J Records/ MBK Entertainment; publishers: Lellow Productions/EMI April Music, Book of Daniel Music/EMI Music Publishing, D. Harry Prods.]
Funk This Chaka Khan [Burgundy Records]
Contemporary R&B Album
Because of You Ne-Yo [Def Jam Recordings]
Rap Solo Performance
Stronger Kanye West; track from: Graduation [Roc-A-Fella Records]
Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group
Southside Common featuring Kanye West; track from: Finding Forever [Geffen]
Umbrella Rihanna featuring Jay-Z; track from: Good Girl Gone Bad [Def Jam Recordings]
Good Life A. Davis, F. Najm & K. West, songwriters (J. Ingram & Q. Jones, songwriters); (Kanye West featuring T-Pain); track from: Graduation [Roc-A-Fella; publishers: Very Good Beats/Hip Hop Since 1978, Warner-Tamerlane Punlishing, Yellow Brick Road Music/Eiseman Music]
Graduation Kanye West [Roc-A-Fella Records]
Female Country Vocal Performance
Before He Cheats Carrie Underwood; track from: Some Hearts [19 Recordings/Arista Nashville]
Male Country Vocal Performance
Stupid Boy Keith Urban; track from: Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing [Capitol Records Nashville]
Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
How Long Eagles [Eagles Recording Co. II]
Country Collaboration With Vocals
Lost Highway Willie Nelson & Ray Price; track from: Last of the Breed [Lost Highway Records]
Country Instrumental Performance
Throttleneck Brad Paisley; track from: 5th Gear [Arista Nashville]
Before He Cheats Josh Kear & Chris Tompkins, songwriters (Carrie Underwood); track from: Some Hearts [19 Recordings/Arista Nashville; publishers: That Little House Music, Mighty Underdog Music/Sony/ATV Cross Keys Publishing]
These Days Vince Gill [MCA Nashville]
The Bluegrass Diaries Jim Lauderdale [Yep Roc Records]
New Age Album
Crestone Paul Winter Consort [Living Music]
Contemporary Jazz Album
River: The Joni Letters Herbie Hancock [Verve]
Jazz Vocal Album
Avant Gershwin Patti Austin [Rendezvous Entertainment]
Jazz Instrumental Solo
Anagram Michael Brecker, soloist; track from: Pilgrimage [Heads Up International]
Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group
Pilgrimage Michael Brecker [Heads Up International]
Large Jazz Ensemble Album
A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina) Terence Blanchard [Blue Note]
Latin Jazz Album
Funk Tango Paquito D'Rivera Quintet [Paquito Records]
Blessed & Highly Favored The Clark Sisters; track from: Live — One Last Time [EMI Gospel]
Never Gonna Break My Faith Aretha Franklin & Mary J. Blige (featuring the Harlem Boys Choir); track from: Bobby: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [Island Def Jam]
Blessed & Highly Favored Karen Clark-Sheard, songwriter (The Clark Sisters); track from: Live — One Last Time [EMI Gospel; publisher: K. Sheard's Melody]
Rock Or Rap Gospel Album
Before the Daylight's Shot Ashley Cleveland [204 Records]
Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album
A Deeper Level Israel and New Breed [Integrity Music]
Southern, Country Or Bluegrass Gospel Album
Salt of the Earth Ricky Skaggs & the Whites [Skaggs Family Records]
Traditional Gospel Album
Live — One Last Time The Clark Sisters [EMI Gospel]
Contemporary R&B Gospel Album
Free to Worship Fred Hammond [Verity]
Latin Pop Album
El Tren de Los Momentos Alejandro Sanz [Warner Music Latina]
Latin Rock Or Alternative Album
No Hay Espacio Black:Guayaba [Machete Music]
Latin Urban Album
Residente O Visitante Calle 13 [Norte]
Tropical Latin Album
La Llave de Mi Corazon Juan Luis Guerra [EMI Televisa]
100% Mexicano Pepe Aguilar [EMI Televisa]
Before the Next Teardrop Falls Little Joe & La Familia [TDI Records]
Detalles Y Emociones Los Tigres del Norte [Fonovisa Records]
Te Va a Gustar El Chapo [Disa]
Traditional Blues Album
Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen: Live In Dallas Henry James Townsend, Joe Willie "Pinetop" Perkins, Robert Lockwood Jr. & David "Honeyboy" Edwards [The Blue Shoe Project]
Contemporary Blues Album
The Road to Escondido JJ Cale & Eric Clapton [Reprise Records/Warner Music Group]
Traditional Folk Album
Dirt Farmer Levon Helm [Dirt Farmer Music/Vanguard Records]
Contemporary Folk/ Americana Album
Washington Square Serenade Steve Earle [New West Records]
Native American Music Album
Totemic Flute Chants Johnny Whitehorse [Silver Wave Records]
Hawaiian Music Album
Treasures of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar various artists; Daniel Ho, George Kahumoku Jr., Paul Konwiser & Wayne Wong, producers [Daniel Ho Creations]
Zydeco Or Cajun Music Album
Live! Worldwide Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience [AIM Trading Group P/L]
Mind Control Stephen M