U2 dominates Grammy night
Bono once called his group U2 the "best band in the world" and it lived up to that reputation in Los Angeles on Wednesday night, taking home five Grammy Awards, including album and song of the year.
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The Irish rockers won two of the most coveted awards at the annual music honours: album of the year (for How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb) and song of the year (for Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own ).
"This is a really, really big night for our band," said lead singer Bono, before he singled out each of the category's other nominees â Kanye West, Paul McCartney, Mariah Carey and Gwen Stefani â for acknowledgment.
Earlier in the evening, U2 also won best rock album, best rock song for City of Blinding Lights and best group rock performance for Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, which was written about his late father.
"He's the atomic bomb [of the album title]," Bono said. "I've been shouting about him and screaming about him for the last few years and maybe tonight is a time to stop ... I want to thank my father Bob for giving me voice and a bit of attitude to use it."
Rock group Green Day scored a surprise win when the Boulevard Of Broken Dreams took the prestigious record-of-the-year honour, beating the heavily favoured Carey and West, as well as Gorillaz and Stefani.
"I just want to acknowledge that pop radio playing rock music is a very big deal to me, so thank you very much," said Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong.
Newcomer John Legend was a frequent face at the podium, winning best new artist and being recognized both for his album Get Lifted (best R&B album) and his hit Ordinary People (best male R&B vocal performance).
"This is a song that didn't sound like anything else on hip-hop and R&B radio," Legend said about his spare, piano-based ballad. "It worked â and we made it a hit."
Carey, West and Alison Krauss were also among the leading winners.
Pop diva Carey, who started the night a frontrunner with eight nominations, won just three Grammys during a pre-telecast ceremony: best contemporary R&B album for The Emancipation of Mimi, as well as best R&B song and best female R&B vocal performance for We Belong Together.
Acclaimed rapper and producer West, also an eight-time nominee, ultimately took home trophies for his songs Diamonds from Sierra Leone (best rap song) and Gold Digger (best rap solo performance), as well as his album Late Registration (best rap album).
Perennial Grammy favourites Krauss and Union Station also netted more golden gramophone hardware: the popular bluegrass act won best country collaboration with vocals (Restless), best country instrumental performance (Unionhouse Branch ) and best country album for Lonely Runs Both Ways.
Krauss, the 34-year-old singer-fiddler who leads the band, has been credited with bringing bluegrass to a mainstream audience, but also criticized by some of the genre's purists.
Nevertheless, Wednesday's wins lifted her total overall Grammy haul to 20, the most ever by a female singer.
Pop singer Kelly Clarkson, the first winner of American Idol, escaped the long shadow of the TV reality competition by winning two Grammys: best female pop vocal performance for Since U Been Gone and best pop vocal album for Breakaway.
"Thank you to everybody that has supported me this year ... I'm sorry I'm crying again on national television," Clarkson said, battling tears.
Damian Marley, the son of reggae icon Bob Marley, was among the few performers present for the non-televised pre-show, with his album Welcome to Jamrock winning best reggae album and the title song earning best urban/alternative performance.
Multiple Grammy winners Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys kicked off the ceremony with a few impromptu bars of his hit Higher Ground as a dedication to late civil rights leader Coretta Scott King, whose funeral was in Georgia on Tuesday.
A series of duets and joint performances peppered the evening, including Madonna, who opened the show, and Gorillaz, U2 and Mary J. Blige, Faith Hill and Keith Urban, Herbie Hancock and Christina Aguilera.
A series of stars, including Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, soul singer Joss Stone and pop band Maroon5, were among those who delivered a crowded tribute to Sly and the Family Stone.
Sporting a spiky blond hairdo, Sly Stone made his first major public appearance in more than a dozen years, as he sang along during the group's performance of I Want to Take You Higher. However, the 61-year-old funk pioneer left the stage before the musical tribute was over.
Rap star Jay-Z performed with Linkin Park, not long after the rapper and rock group took the award for best rap/song collaboration for the mash-up Numb/Encore. They were joined onstage by surprise guest Paul McCartney, Carey, Coldplay and Clarkson.