55th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Music's Biggest Night
Photo Courtesy of The Recording Academy® /Wireimage.com © 2013
It was a case of sharing the wealth at the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards.
While there were no dominant winners, Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys took home four GRAMMYs, one individual as Producer of the Year and three with the band (Best Rock Performance, Rock Song and Rock Album). Several artists and groups took home three: Jay-Z & Kanye West won Best Rap Song, Best Rap /Sung Collaboration and Best Rap Performance; Skrillex nabbed Best Dance Recording, Best Dance/Electronica Album and Best Remix Non-Classical; while Gotye won Record of the Year with ‘Somebody That I used to Know” (featuring Kimbra), Alternative Music Album and Pop Duo/Group Performance.
Other significant winners include the bands Fun. which won as Best New Artist and Song of the Year (for “We Are Young”) and English folk rockers Mumford & Sons, which took Album of the Year for Babel.
This was a show of spectacular set pieces around a connecting thread that linked the music past, present and future.
Hosted by rapper and actor LL Cool J, the show included salutes to Dick Clark and Bob Marley, Dave Brubeck and Levon Helm. Meanwhile, Kelly Clarkson celebrated Lifetime Achievement Award honorees Patti Page and Carole King.
There is short but important tradition of Latin artists performing at the GRAMMYs dating to the 30th Annual GRAMMY Awards in New York City in 1988 which featured Tito Puente and Celia Cruz and los Lobos. For his appearance tonight Colombian pop rocker Juanes, who earlier had won Best Latin Pop Album for MTV Unplugged, appeared solo, simply accompanying himself with his acoustic guitar and paid tribute to Elton John singing a bilingual version of "Your Song."
Another highlight was the return to performing at the GRAMMYs of Justin Timberlake, who last had appeared in 2009. His much anticipated appearance lived up to hype, offering and impeccably staged versions of “Suit & Tie” and “Pusher Love Girl” featuring Jay-Z.
Other highlights include Taylor Swift’s high-energy opening number “ We are never ever getting back together;” a stirring performance by The Black Keys performing “Lonely Boy” with New Orleans master Dr. John and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band. And then there was the tribute to Bob Marley, which fittingly featured Bruno Mars and Sting. “We wouldn’t be here without him,” said Mars, acknowledging their debt.
Besides Juanes, in the Pre-telecast ceremony, held at the imposing Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, several Latin artists were celebrated. The collective Quetzal won Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album for Imaginaries; Lila Downs won Best Regional Mexican Music Album for Pecados y Milagros (which won the Latin GRAMMY for Best Folk Album); Marlow Rosado y La Riqueña won Best Tropical Latin Album for his celebration of classic salsa in Retro; and the Clare Fischer Lan Jazz Big Band won Best Latin Jazz Album for “¡Ritmo!”
Best GRAMMYS Ever? Best GRAMMYS ever” said Timberlake in an unscripted moment, answering his own question. Of course, only time will tell – but at its best, Music Biggest Night lived up to its name.