Grammy night was shaping up to be a battle between Coldplay and the duo of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.
Plant and Krauss’ “Please Read the Letter,” produced by T Bone Burnett, won record of the year, one of the big Grammy honors. Coldplay won song of the year for their tune “Viva La Vida.” Both groups have albums in the other of Grammy’s big three, album of the year. “The whole game was a mystery,” said Plant in accepting the record of the year honor, adding that he, Krauss and Burnett gave the project three days, and if it didn’t work, “we’ll have lunch and I’ll go back to Wolverhampton.” See the stars on the red carpet » Coldplay took home song of the year — a songwriters’ honor — for “Viva La Vida,” from the band’s album of the same name. “Thank you and sorry to Sir Paul McCartney for blatantly recycling the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ outfits,” the band’s Will Champion said, noting the group’s colorful attire. The album won best rock album. Plant and Krauss earlier won best pop collaboration with vocals. The Grammys also had some backstage drama, as two scheduled performers, Rihanna and Chris Brown, pulled out of the awards. Los Angeles police were looking for Brown after receiving an early-morning domestic violence report. Authorities said Brown and a woman were involved in an argument in a vehicle. Read more about Brown After stopping his car, the argument escalated when Brown stopped the car and the woman got out, the Los Angeles Police Department said, citing the victim’s account. A representative for Brown at the ICM agency in Los Angeles could not immediately be reached for comment.
In Style: Top Grammys style moments
Earlier in the show, one big-voiced vocalist honored another as Whitney Houston presented Jennifer Hudson with the first Grammy Award of the evening, for best R&B album. “I’d like to thank my family in heaven and those who are with me today,” she said, her voice catching. “Everybody, thank you all,” she concluded. Hudson’s mother and brother were murdered last October. She brought down the house with an emotional performance of a new ballad, “You Pulled Me Through.” Sugarland won best country duo or group performance with vocals for “Stay.” The performances were a mixed bag — sometimes deliberately so. Four famed rappers — T.I., Kanye West, Jay-Z and Lil Wayne — were called the “Rap Pack” in a segment that followed a tribute to one of the Rat Pack singers, Dean Martin, who received a lifetime achievement award. With them was M.I.A., extremely pregnant but giving it her all. Stevie Wonder performed with the Jonas Brothers in a medley that concluded with Wonder’s “Superstition.” Estelle and Kanye West did the hit “American Boy.” Paul McCartney, backed by Dave Grohl on drums, did “I Saw Her Standing There” — the first track from the Beatles’ first album, “Please Please Me,” back in 1963. And backed by a giant screen proclaiming, “Let me in the sound” and other lyrics, U2 kicked off the 51st annual music awards with a rousing rendition of the band’s new single, “Get On Your Boots.” By then, there were already quite a number of people with awards. The Grammys have more than 100 categories, and most honors are given out before the show.
A few went to some of the most notable nominees. Lil Wayne, who received the most nominations with eight, won three Grammys, including honors for best rap performance and best rap song. Coldplay, which earned seven nominations, won best pop performance by a duo or group with vocals. Other winners included George Carlin, who won best comedy album Grammy for “It’s Bad for Ya,” a recording of his last HBO special. It was the late comedian’s fifth Grammy Award. His daughter, Kelly, accepted on his behalf, saying she’d take better care of it than Carlin did with his first Grammy — which was taken apart in a “chemically induced, altered state,” she said.