Dixie Chicks and Mary J. Blige were the big winners at the 49th Grammy Awards held in Los Angeles last night (February 11).
As previously revealed on NME.COM, the country outfit and R&B star picked up eight awards between them at the ceremony.
The Police kicked off the three-and-a-half-hour ceremony, running through ‘Roxanne’ so smoothly it was difficult to tell it was their first public performance in more than 20 years.
Later in the evening, Gnarls Barkley performed a stellar rendition of their hit song ‘Crazy’ dressed up as pilots and backed by a 16-piece orchestra. The duo walked away with prizes for Best Alternative Music Album for ‘St Elsewhere’ (beating off competition form Arctic Monkeys and Thom Yorke) and Best Urban/Alternative Performance for ‘Crazy’.
“I’ll give the Grammys to my parents, like I do everything else,” Gnarls Barkley mastermind Danger Mouse told NME.COM.
During the evening’s ‘American Idol’-style moment, Justin Timberlake performed a duet with newcomer Robyn Troup, winner of the highly publicised ‘My Grammy Moment’ talent contest.
Prince made a surprisingly brief appearance as a presenter, looking dapper in a white suit. He said only one word, “Beyonce,” when introducing the pop diva, who sang a tune from the film ‘Dreamgirls’.
Other notable presenters included former Vice-President Al Gore, and folk legend Joan Baez, who lauded the Dixie Chicks for not being ready to ‘make nice’ – a reference to their multiple award-winning song, ‘Not Ready To Make Nice’, which they then performed.
Music legends Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and Tony Bennett also joined in on the fun. An “overjoyed” Wonder introduced an extended medley from rising stars Corinne Bailey Rae, John Legend and John Mayer – and Robinson performed his own ‘Tracks of My Tears’.
During commercial breaks, musicians greeted each other like old friends, mixing and mingling on the floor of the Staples Center until they were called back to their seats.
The evening wouldn’t have been complete without a tribute to the legendary James Brown, who passed away less than two months ago. Newcomer Chris Brown did the honours, tap dancing during a brief but moving tribute.
Red Hot Chili Peppers closed the evening with a performance of ‘Snow (Hey Oh)’, during which a snowstorm of confetti rained down on the band and the audience.
Shortly afterwards, the Red Hot Chili Peppers won the award for Best Rock Album for ‘Stadium Arcadium’. The Los Angeles quartet thanked their producer Rick Rubin (who won several awards during the evening) as well as their mothers. Drummer Chad Smith closed the pop- and R&B-dominated evening with a message: “Start rock bands – we need more rock bands.”
You can read NME.COM coverage of this year’s awards straight from the Los Angeles ceremony online now:
* Carrie Underwood from American Idol is declared the Best New Artist of the year.
–By our Los Angeles staff.