Ray Charles’ Genius racked up plenty of company in the form of gramophone-shaped statuettes.
The late soul legend won a total of eight awards at the 47th annual Grammy Awards Sunday night, including Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for Genius Loves Company and Record of the Year for “Here We Go Again” with Norah Jones.
Jamie Foxx, who is considered a lock for the Best Actor Oscar later this month for his portrayal of Charles in biopic Ray, took the stage with Alicia Keys for a tribute to Charles. Later in the show, Bonnie Raitt and Billy Preston also paid musical homage to the singer.
Keys, who, between performing and accepting awards, was a frequent presence on the Grammy stage, left the ceremony with a total of four trophies, including Best R&B Album for The Diary of Alicia Keys and Best R&B Song for “You Don’t Know My Name.” (The few people who didn’t know it sure know it now.) Top nominee Kanye West was upset by Maroon 5 in the Best New Artist category, but came away from the ceremony with three of the 10 Grammys for which he was nominated, including Best Rap Album for The College Dropout and Best Rap Song for “Jesus Walks.”
After bitterly complaining that he was “definitely robbed” at the American Music Awards where he walked away empty-handed, West said people had been waiting to see what he would do if he didn’t win at the Grammys.
“I guess we’ll never know,” he said, hoisting his trophy for Best Rap Album high, shortly after he performed a dazzling rendition of “Jesus Walks.”
“Yeah!” singer Usher had plenty to exclaim about-he collected a total of three trophies over the course of the night, including Best Contemporary R&B Album for Confessions. Usher also earned the distinction of being dubbed the “Godson of Soul” by the Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown, after the two took the stage together to perform.
Jones, who shared Record of the Year and Pop Collaboration Grammys with Charles, also won Best Female Vocal Performance for “Sunrise.”
“I’m going to cry, actually,” Jones said as she accepted the Record of the Year trophy. “I think it just shows how wonderful music can be. It’s at a hundred percent with Ray Charles.”
Green Day, nominated for six awards, took home Best Rock Album for the chart-topping American Idiot. The band’s rowdy performance at the ceremony was censored for the telecast.
Loretta Lynn won Best Country Album for Van Lear Rose, her collaboration with White Stripes frontman Jack White. Lynn and White also won Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for “Portland, Oregon.”
U2 won Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song for the iPod-pushing tune “Vertigo,” as well as Best Short Form Music Video. Drummer Larry Mullen used his acceptance speech to again apologize for a recent online snafu that blocked many members of the band’s fan club from securing tickets for their upcoming tour.
An absent Britney Spears captured her first Grammy for Best Dance Recording for “Toxic” and a missing Prince won Best Male R&B Performance for “Call My Name” and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for “Musicology.”
In the “finally” category, first-time Grammy winner Rod Stewart took home Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Stardust… The Great American Songbook Vol. III. Brian Wilson, another Grammy virgin, won Best Rock Instrumental Performance for “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow.”
“I waited 42 years for this Grammy and it was well worth the wait,” Wilson told reporters backstage. “It represents triumph and achievement in music that I feel that I deserved, and I’m really glad I won.”
Queen Latifah presided over the night, pulling triple duty as host, performer and nominee for Best Jazz Vocal Album for The Dana Owens Albums.
The night kicked off with a jamming three-stage performance by five of the nominated acts of the night-the Black Eyed Peas, Los Lonely Boys, Maroon 5, Franz Ferdinand and Gwen Stefani, with backing vocals by Eve.
It was the first in a series of memorable performances-not the least of which was Jennifer Lopez and Mark Anthony’s public debut as a (we think) married couple on the Latin love ballad “Escapemonos,” which they performed from a stage set tricked out like an intimate boudoir. In addition to crooning to J. Lo in Spanish, Anthony also took home a Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album for Amar Sin Mentiras.
There was no need for any catcalls of “Freebird!!! Freeeeeeeeebird!”-Lynyrd Skynyrd served up the ultimate jukebox song with a crew of collaborators including Gretchen Wilson, Keith Urban and Tim McGraw during a mlange of country-fried classics.
A bald-headed Melissa Etheridge took the stage with Joss Stone in her first appearance since completing chemotherapy to pay a strong-voiced tribute to Lifetime Achievement Grammy recipient Janis Joplin. Etheridge, who is battling breast cancer, earned a standing ovation for the moving performance.
Artists including Stevie Wonder, Steven Tyler, Norah Jones, Bono and Velvet Revolver took the stage to perform the Beatles’ “Across the Universe” in support of tsunami relief. The song was made available for immediate download through iTunes.