Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Lil Wayne and Coldplay were the big winners at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards on a night of all-star performances, big surprises and some pre-ceremony drama. Plant & Krauss grabbed five Grammys, including the night's biggest award, Album of the Year for Raising Sand. "In the old days we would have called this selling out, but it's a good way to spend a Sunday," Plant said while accepting the show's final honor. The Led Zeppelin frontman and bluegrass singer also won Record of the Year for "Please Read the Letter" and Best Pop Collaboration for "Rich Woman," both tracks from Raising Sand. Coldplay scooped up three awards, including Best Rock Album and Song of the Year for "Viva La Vida." During their Song acceptance speech, the band half-joked, "Thank you and sorry to Paul McCartney for blatantly recycling the Sgt. Pepper outfits."
The man with the most nominations, Lil Wayne, took home four awards, most notably (and predictably) Best Rap Album for Tha Carter III, but also Best Rap Song for "Lollipop," Best Rap Solo Performance for "A Milli" and his verse on "Swagga Like Us" scored him Best Rap Performance By A Group. Radiohead nabbed the prize for Best Alternative Album for In Rainbows, which also won Best Deluxe Packaging. (Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor, whose Ghosts I-IV was up for the latter category, responded via Twitter: "Ghosts DESTROYS In Rainbows deluxe package. No debate.") Metallica won Best Metal Performance, while the Mars Volta grabbed the prize for Hard Rock Performance and Kings of Leon received the honor for Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Weezer, Justice, Bruce Springsteen, Ne-Yo, Duffy and John Mayer also left the Staples Center with new Grammy hardware.
Aside from blink-182's announcement that they are indeed reuniting, the show's performances were the night's biggest stories, and there were plenty of them. (For photos of all the show's winners and performances, check our 2009 Grammy gallery.)
U2 kicked off the show with their new "Get On Your Boots," which strangely segued into Whitney Houston's introduction for Best R&B Album (won by Jennifer Hudson). After Chris Brown and Rihanna dropped out of the show Sunday afternoon under unclear circumstances, the next performers were their emergency fill-ins: Al Green, Justin Timberlake, Boyz II Men and Keith Urban. Coldplay's Chris Martin performed Viva's "Lost!" with a cameo by Jay-Z before the rest of the band joined in for "Viva La Vida." Carrie Underwood, who rocked out "Last Name," also took the stage, along with Jennifer Hudson, Kid Rock — who broke out a medley of "Amen" and "All Summer Long" (dedicated to Lynyrd Skynyrd keyboardist Billy Powell) — Katy Perry, who emerged from a banana with "I Kissed A Girl" and Kenny Chesney.
The night was stocked with A-list collaborations, and none was bigger than Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl taking on the Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There." Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus sang the former's "Fifteen," the Jonas Brothers and Stevie Wonder teamed for "Burnin' Up" and "Superstition," Kanye West and Estelle dueted on "American Boy" and Justin Timberlake and T.I. hit the stage for "Dead and Gone."
T.I. also took part in the night's huge rap showcase (dubbed the Rap Pack by Queen Latifah, who made references to the famous Rat Pack) as Tip, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne and an extremely pregnant M.I.A. performed an extended "Swagga Like Us." The legacy of the Four Tops was honored as Jamie Foxx, Ne-Yo, Smokey Robinson and original member Duke Fakir sang a medley of the quartet's hits, including "Reach Out I'll Be There" and "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)." Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood then had the Staples Center jaws dropping with their rousing performance of In Rainbows' "15 Step" with a huge assist from the USC Marching Band.
Wrapping up the all-star night of performances was MusiCares Person of the Year Neil Diamond, strolling deep into the audience for "Sweet Caroline," while John Mayer, B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Keith Urban paid tribute to Bo Diddley. Finally, Lil Wayne wowed the crowd with his Tha Carter III track "Tie My Hands," featuring Robin Thicke and fellow New Orleans native Allen Toussaint. Wayne then started a rave-up for his beleaguered hometown, featuring Terence Blanchard and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss rounded out the performances with Raising Sand's "Rich Woman" and "Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)."
The full winners' list can be found on the Grammys Website, while a partial list is below.
Check out Rolling Stone's Grammy hub for all the latest reports and photos from music's biggest night.
2009 Grammy Winners:
Album of the Year: Raising Sand - Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
Rock Album: Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends - Coldplay
Rap Album: Tha Carter III - Lil Wayne
Record of the Year: "Please Read The Letter" - Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
Song of the Year: "Viva La Vida" - Coldplay
New Artist: Adele
Pop Collaboration With Vocals: "Rich Woman" - Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
Male Pop Vocal Performance: "Say" - John Mayer
R&B Album: Jennifer Hudson - Jennifer Hudson
Producer of the Year, Non-Classical: Rick Rubin
Female Pop Vocal Performance: "Chasing Pavements" - Adele
Pop Vocal Album: Rockferry - Duffy
Pop Instrumental Performance: "I Dreamed There Was No War" - Eagles
Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: "Viva La Vida" - Coldplay
Alternative Music Album: In Rainbows - Radiohead
Solo Rock Vocal Performance: "Gravity" - John Mayer
Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: "Sex on Fire" - Kings of Leon
Hard Rock Performance: Wax Simulacra - The Mars Volta
Metal Performance: "My Apocalypse" - Metallica
Rock Song: "Girls in Their Summer Clothes" - Bruce Springsteen
Rap Solo Performance: "A Milli" - Lil Wayne
Rap Performance by a Duo or Group: "Swagga Like Us" - Jay-Z and T.I. featuring Kanye West and Lil Wayne
Rap/Sung Collaboration: "American Boy" - Estelle featuring Kanye West
Rap Song: "Lollipop" - Dwayne Carter, Darius Harrison, James Scheffer, Stephen Garrett and Rex Zamor
Female Country Vocal Performance: "Last Name" - Carrie Underwood
Country Collaboration with Vocals: "Killing the Blues" - Robert Plant and Alison Krauss,
R&B Song: "Miss Independent" - Mikkel S. Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen and Shaffer Smith
Contemporary R&B Album: Growing Pains - Mary J. Blige
Female R&B Vocal Solo: "Superwoman" - Alicia Keys
Male R&B Vocal Solo: "Miss Independent" - Ne-Yo
R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: "Stay With Me (By the Sea)" - Al Green featuring John Legend
Traditional R&B Vocal Performance: "You've Got the Love I Need" - Al Green featuring Anthony Hamilton
Urban/Alternative Performance: "Be OK" - Chrisette Michele featuring will.i.am
Dance Recording: "Harder Better Faster Stronger" - Daft Punk
Electronic Dance Album: Alive 2007 - Daft Punk
Bluegrass Album: Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass: Tribute to 1946 and 1947 - Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder
Traditional Blues Album: One Kind Favor - B.B. King
Traditional Folk Album: At 89 - Pete Seeger
Contemporary Folk/Americana Album: Raising Sand - Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (Rounder)
Contemporary World Music Album: Global Drum Project - Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain, Sikiru Adepoju and Giovanni Hidalgo
Compilation Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: Juno - Various Artists
Score Soundtrack Album for Motion Television or Other Visual Media: The Dark Knight
Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: "Down to Earth" - WALL-E - Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, Musical Show Album: In the Heights - Kurt Deutsch, Alex Lacamoire, Andres Levin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Joel Moss and Bill Sherman, producers; Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer/lyricist
Remixed Recording: "Electric Feel (Justice Remix)" - Justice
Short Form Music Video: "Pork and Beans" - Weezer, Mathew Cullen
Long Form Music Video: "Runnin' Down a Dream" - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Recording Package: Death Magnetic - Bruce Duckworth, Sarah Moffat and David Turner
Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package: In Rainbows - Stanley Donwood, Mel Maxwell and Christiaan Munro