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Your Grammy Highlights: Jennifer Hudson Returns, Coldplay Soar

February 9, 2009 11:54 AM ET

Amid fizzling sales and dwindling business, the music industry responded with a Grammy show thick on collaborations, stirring performances and once in a lifetime moments.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss took home the most hardware, but the night's performances provided the bulk of this morning's Grammy water cooler conversation. If you need a refresher, you can find images from these unforgettable moments in our Grammy gallery or skim through some of our favorite moments:

• U2 show off their new "Boots" — The band jumpstarted the Grammy telecast with the first single from No Line on the Horizon.

• Jennifer Hudson's triumphant return — After a year of unimaginable personal tragedy, Hudson returned to the Grammy stage for a breathtaking performance of "You Pulled Me Through." It's hard to imagine there was a dry eye in the house (or among the millions of viewers at home).

• McCartney and Grohl revisit the Beatles — The night before the 45th anniversary of the Beatles debut on the Ed Sullivan Show, McCartney and Grohl showed that "I Saw Her Standing There" can still electrify a room.

• Coldplay and Jay-Z — An intimate performance of "Lost" took on a new urgency when Jay hit the stage.

• Radiohead & the USC marching band — On a night full of remarkable guest spots, Radiohead went above and beyond recruiting the USC Trojan Marching Band for a rousing performance of "15 Step."

• J.T. & the Reverend — A last minute add to the Grammy lineup, this rousing rendition of "Let's Stay Together" — which also packed in Boyz II Men and Keith Urban — simply soared.

• Taylor Swift & Miley Cyrus — A stool, a guitar and a little help from a friend was all Swift needed to turned the Staples Center into a cozy little coffee bar with her deeply personal performance.

• Neil Diamond gets "Sweet" — Hail the man who can get an arena full of industry cynics to chat "bah bah bah" during the undeniably infectious "Sweet Caroline."

• Kanye and Estelle remind us that less is more — The night's "Rap Pack" summit certainly boasted star power, but Kanye's performance with Estelle through the sultry groove of "American Boy" was arguably tighter, brighter and more stylish.

• Adele & Sugarland — With "Stay" and "Chasing Pavements," British soul met Nashville twang on the common ground of yearning and heartbreak.

• New Orleans rising — Whoever decided to put Lil Wayne, Allen Toussaint, Terence Blanchard and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band on the stage at the same time deserves a medal.

• The Jonas Bros. & Stevie Wonder — We're still trying to wrap our heads around this one.

So what do you think? What was the highlight of this year's Grammy Awards?

Need some more reminders of what went down Grammy night? Check out Rolling Stone's Grammy hub for all the latest reports and photos from the big show.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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