Hancock wins album of the year
(CNN) — Amy Winehouse had a great night at the Grammys, winning five awards, but in a shocking finish, the big award — album of the year — went to Herbie Hancock for “River: The Joni Letters.”
Hancock paid tribute to a number of his predecessors, most notably mentor Miles Davis, after the award was announced by Grammy-winning producer Quincy Jones.
Winehouse won the record and song of the year awards for “Rehab.”
Winehouse, who had just performed a medley of “You Know I’m No Good” and “Rehab” live via satellite from London, England, seemed unaware the cameras were on her as she and her band whooped it up after winning record of the year. But she recovered, giving a rousing thank-you speech.
Winehouse, who was let out of rehab to perform at the Grammys, could use some good news; she’s been in the news in recent months more for her public misbehavior than her music. The singer and songwriter received six nominations going into the evening.
Kanye West, who received eight nominations total, won best rap album for his “Graduation,” giving him four for the evening as well. He won three Grammys before the broadcast, including best rap solo performance for “Stronger.” Most of the 100-plus honors are given out before the show.
West gave a powerful performance of “Stronger” and “Hey Mama.” The latter song, in particular, was written for his mother and appeared on West’s 2005 album “Late Registration.” Donda West died November 10 of a heart attack after surgery.
“I appreciate all the support, I appreciate all the prayers,” he said regarding his mother while accepting the best rap album award. Then, addressing his mother, he said, “I know you want me to be the number one artist in the world. And, Mama, all I’m gonna do is keep making you proud.” Gallery: Check out the stars in their finery ª
Vince Gill’s “These Days” won best country album, an award presented to him by Ringo Starr.
“I just had an award given to me by a Beatle,” Gill said with wonder, and then looked at West — who’s often been vocal at a perceived lack of mainstream industry acceptance — in the audience. “Have you had that happen yet, Kanye?”
West smiled as the audience burst into laughter.
The Foo Fighters’ “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace” won best rock album.
“This doesn’t get old,” frontman Dave Grohl said, dedicating the Grammy to his daughter Violet, who “inspired me to write this record.”
The first award of the night, female R&B performance, went to Alicia Keys, who also opened the show with a “duet” with a virtual Frank Sinatra, captured on video in an old performance. The pair sang “Learnin’ the Blues.”
“I hope to one day be as classic as he [is],” she told CNN on the red carpet.
Keys won two Grammys going into Sunday night’s broadcast to go along with eight wins in previous years.
“To win a Grammy is the highest honor for a musician,” she said. “It’s a big honor and an exciting night forever.”
The night was full of unusual performances, including a Beatles tribute including pieces from Cirque du Soleil and the film “Across the Universe,” and a lighthearted duet of “That Old Black Magic” between Keely Smith and Kid Rock.
Aside from Winehouse and West, album of the year nominations went to Herbie Hancock for his “River: The Joni Letters,” the Foo Fighters for “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace” and Vince Gill for his four-disc set “These Days.”
Other winners of the evening included Bruce Springsteen, who received three Grammys, including best rock song for “Radio Nowhere,” as well as the White Stripes, Timberlake and Mary J. Blige.
Also earning a Grammy was Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, who defeated two presidents — Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter — to take home the award for best spoken-word album. Obama won for his book, “The Audacity Of Hope: Thoughts On Reclaiming The American Dream.”
Hancock wins album of the year