1997 MTV Video Music Awards Rock NYC

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Once again proving its stronghold on the televised music world, MTV held its annual Video Music Awards ceremony Thursday night from New York's Radio City Music Hall. The ceremony was typical, albeit entertaining. In a tribute to the Notorious B.I.G., Puff Daddy and the Family were joined on stage by a full gospel choir to sing their chart-topping hit, "I'll Be Missing You." And then, with a roar from the crowd, Sting appeared beneath a spotlight to add his lyrics to "Every Breath You Take," the song from which the background samples are taken for Puffy's tune.

Bruce Springsteen, who in the early 1970s was called the new Bob Dylan, joined the newest Dylan, Jakob and the Wallflowers on stage for a rockin' rendition of "One Headlight." But it was U2 that stole the show with an emotional version of their new single "Please." The song came across much stronger in the small venue in comparison with the huge stadiums U2 has been playing during this year's PopMart tour. They abandoned their enormous stage setup and got back to what's important -- the music.

The big winners of the evening were Beck with five MTV Moon Men, including Best Male Video for "Devil's Haircut," and Jamiroquai, the English pop-funk-dance sensation who took home four awards including the biggie -- Best Video of the Year for "Virtual Insanity."

There must have been something in the water at Radio City because people were acting a little strange. Fiona Apple went up to accept her award for Best New Artist in a Video, beating out Wallflowers, Jamiroquai, Hanson and Meredith Brooks, she opted to use her time to tell the world watching that, in so many words, the music world is bull*#@t and that people should not follow trends set by musicians. Instead she told people to "Go with yourself."

Some big surprises of the evening -- the Spice Girls beat Prodigy and the Chemical Brothers for the Best Dance Video and in a huge statement to the American music biz, the People's Choice Award went to Prodigy for Breathe. Maybe electronica actually is catching on in the States.