Ray Charles Dominates 2005 Grammys - Rolling Stone
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Ray Charles Dominates 2005 Grammys

Charles wins eight posthumous awards to dominate show

Rock & roll royalty filled Staples Center in Los Angeles Sunday night for the 47th annual Grammy Awards, but it was a man who wasn’t there — in body, anyway — who would dominate the proceedings. Ray Charles, the soul/rock/gospel/country/jazz legend who passed away in June, was honored eight times, including Album of the Year for Genius Loves Company and Record of the Year for his Norah Jones duet “Here We Go Again.”

This year’s show started with a bang: five bands on four stages in the first five minutes alone. Black Eyed Peas kicked it off with, appropriately enough, “Let’s Get It Started,” and they did, quickly passing the musical baton to a pirated-up Gwen Stefani and Eve; jeans-and-bandanas-clad Texas rockers Los Lonely Boys; smooth rockers Maroon 5, led by lead singer Adam Levine in tennis shoes and a retro suit; and finally glam Scotsmen Franz Ferdinand, who launched into their anthem “Take Me Out.” Finally, all the bands launched into a simultaneous from separate parts of the over-sized stage, making for a high-pitched start to the evening and eliciting the first of many standing ovations from the crowd. Following the pattern established in this multi-band medley, all performances were kept short, shorn of multiple choruses.

“That is a welcome fit for a queen,” said bejeweled host Queen Latifah, decked out in a (royal) red dress, as she entered to strong applause. “It is not only the forty-seventh year of the Grammys, but also the fiftieth birthday of rock & roll!”

John Travolta, Steven Tyler and Christina Milian presented the first Grammy Lifetime Achievement award to blues pianist Pinetop Perkins. Other recipients included Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Carter Family and Jelly Roll Morton.

Many awards were presented and announced before the show, and the selections made clear that no living artist would dominate this year’s awards, as Ray Charles’ presence was felt early on. Alicia Keys, after performing “If I Ain’t Got You,” was joined by Jamie Foxx, and the two sang Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind,” backed by an enormous string and horn section conducted by Quincy Jones. Foxx, who also played piano, went into falsetto at the end, matching Keys’ impassioned vocals, while Jones turned to the audience to show off a T-shirt with Charles’ picture under his black jacket.

Presenters were lumped together to promote upcoming movies and television series on presenting network CBS, and chemistry between the people onstage was practically non-existent. Acceptance speeches were not much better, with most artists merely running through a lengthy list of agents, attorneys and managers. Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, snaring Best Rock Album for American Idiot, started out with the usual suspects but finished strong: “Rock & roll,” he said, “can be dangerous and fun at the same time.”

The much-promoted “first-ever” duet between newlyweds Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, on “Escapemonos,” lacked fireworks, even though it was performed on an elaborate bedroom set.

The prize for Best Pop Duo or Group went to Los Lonely Boys for “Heaven.” “Thanks to the good lord up above,” the trio said almost in unison. And Hoobastank and Tyra Banks were paired to present the Best New Artist award to Maroon 5. The rockers were sure to thank vanquished competitor Kanye West “for being unbelievable” — before diving into the expected list of thank-yous.

The energy level got a serious boost when Green Day, after an introduction from an effusive Quentin Tarantino, played “American Idiot” before a massive, unfurled American flag, complete with pyrotechnics.

Alicia Keys snagged Best R&B Album for The Diary of Alica Keys, and that led to a lengthy soulful segment, including performances by Mavis Staples and John Legend, Kanye West and the legendary Blind Boys of Alabama. West was a showstopper with his rendition of “Jesus Walks” on a stage resembling a Southern church, complete with dancers in the pews, culminating with him rising up above the crowd, white angel’s wings affixed to his back.

Fittingly, West was then announced as the winner for Best Rap Album for his debut, The College Dropout. “Y’all might as well get the music ready,” he said, taunting the producers of the event, “‘cos this is gonna take a while.” After thanking God and the near-fatal car accident he experienced before recording the album, West declared how he would spend the rest of the evening. “I plan to celebrate and scream and pop champagne! Because I’m at the Grammys!”

Snubbed by country radio, Loretta Lynn was not snubbed by the academy. Her Van Lear Rose won for Best Country Album, and she and producer Jack White accepted the award. “This is what this business is all about,” she said. “Ain’t it?” White added, “You’re an American treasure, Loretta.”

U2, who had performed “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” earlier in the evening, took the award for Best Performance By a Rock Duo or Group for “Vertigo,” earning a long standing ovation. “This is for my little daughter,” said the Edge. Bono chimed in that it was “the best Grammys I’ve ever seen,” while Larry Mullen Jr. took the opportunity to apologize to the band’s fans for the recent concert-ticket snafu.

Midway through the program, several diverse stars joined in an all-star rendition of the Beatles’ “Across the Universe.” Bono, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, Norah Jones, Brian Wilson, Scott Weiland and Steven Tyler all traded vocals, backed by Velvet Revolver and Alison Krauss on violin. The earnest, if uneven, performance was immediately made available for downloading at iTunes, with proceeds going to tsunami relief efforts.

Shortly after an intimate performance of his single “Daughters,” John Mayer was presented Song of the Year by Wonder and Jones. “I’m proud to be a musician and a songwriter,” he said. “It’s still not the right choice for a single — but I want to dedicate it to my grandmother who had an awesome daughter named ‘my mom.'”

The act that came close to matching the opening number was Usher’s impressively choreographed performance of “Caught Up.” “You take some of the sleekness of Sam Cooke, some of that deep soul of James Brown and some of the funky street smarts of Prince, and you get one helluva man. The superstar from ATL Georgia is that man,” Latifah said by way of introducing the year’s breakaway star. Starting out on his own, silhouetted on a black suit and hat with a single spotlight and enveloped in white smoke, Usher immediately recalled a younger Michael Jackson with his drama and incredibly smooth moves. Halfway through the number, he was joined by James Brown, and the two talents traded vocals and dance steps on Brown’s classic “Sex Machine.” At the close of the song, with the crowd cheering, Usher applauded Brown, calling out, “The godfather!” “The new godson!” Brown answered.

But when it came to the evening’s grand finale — Record and Album of the Year — the star was Ray Charles. Celebrity couple Lance Armstrong and Sheryl Crow awarded Record of the Year to Charles and Norah Jones for “Here We Go Again,” prompting Jones to give a teary tribute to the late great, saying, “How many millions of people has he made smile?” And Album of the Year also went again to Charles for the posthumous Genius Loves Company compilation of duets from which the Jones collaboration was drawn.

The cascade of applause that showered Charles’ longtime manager, Joe Adams, indicated that musicians of all genres didn’t mind losing to a genius on this night.

The complete list of the 47th Annual Grammy Awards winners:

Record of the Year
“Here We Go Again,” Ray Charles and Norah Jones

Album of the Year
Genius Loves Company, Ray Charles and Various Artists

Song of the Year
“Daughters,” John Mayer (Mayer)

Best New Artist

Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
“Sunrise,” Norah Jones

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance
“Daughters,” John Mayer

Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal
“Heaven,” Los Lonely Boys

Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals
“Here We Go Again,” Ray Charles and Norah Jones

Best Pop Instrumental Performance
“11th Commandment,” Ben Harper

Best Pop Instrumental Album
Henry Mancini: Pink Guitar, Various Artists

Best Pop Vocal Album
Genius Loves Company, Ray Charles and Various Artists

Best Dance Recording
“Toxic,” Britney Spears

Best Electronic/Dance Album
Kish Kash, Basement Jaxx

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
Stardust . . . The Great American Songbook Volume III, Rod Stewart

Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance
“Code of Silence,” Bruce Springsteen

Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal
“Vertigo,” U2

Best Hard Rock Performance
“Slither,” Velvet Revolver

Best Metal Performance
“Whiplash,” Motorhead

Best Rock Instrumental Performance
“Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow,” Brian Wilson

Best Rock Song
“Vertigo,” Bono, Adam Clayton, The Edge and Larry Mullen (U2)

Best Rock Album
American Idiot, Green Day

Best Alternative Music Album
A Ghost Is Born, Wilco

Best Female R&B Vocal Performance
“If I Ain’t Got You,” Alicia Keys

Best Male R&B Vocal Performance
“Call My Name,” Prince

Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals
“My Boo,” Usher and Alicia Keys

Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance
“Musicology,” Prince

Best Urban/Alternative Performance
“Cross My Mind,” Jill Scott

Best R&B Song
“You Don’t Know My Name,” Alicia Keys, Harold Lilly, Kanye West (Alicia Keys)

Best R&B Album
The Diary of Alicia Keys, Alicia Keys

Best Contemporary R&B Album
Confessions, Usher

Best Rap Solo Performance
“99 Problems” Jay-Z

Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group
“Let’s Get It Started,” The Black Eyed Peas

Best Rap/Song Collaboration
“Yeah!” Usher featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris

Best Rap Song
“Hey Mama,” Will Adams, Anthony Henry (The Black Eyed Peas)

Best Rap Album
The College Dropout, Kanye West

Best Female Country Vocal Performance
“Redneck Woman,” Gretchen Wilson

Best Male Country Vocal Performance
“Live Like You Were Dying,” Tim McGraw

Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal
“Top of the World,” Dixie Chicks

Best Country Collaboration with Vocals
“Portland Oregon,” Loretta Lynn and Jack White

Best Country Instrumental Performance
“Earl’s Breakdown,” Nitty Gritty Dirt Band featuring Earl Scruggs, Randy Scruggs, Vassar Clements and Jerry Douglas

Best Country Song
“Live Like You Were Dying,” Tim Nichols, Craig Wiseman (Tim McGraw)

Best Country Album
Van Lear Rose, Loretta Lynn

Best Bluegrass Album
Brand New Strings, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder

Best New Age Album
Returning, Will Ackerman

Best Contemporary Jazz Album
Unspeakable, Bill Frisell

Best Jazz Vocal Album
R.S.V.P. (Rare Songs, Very Personal), Nancy Wilson

Best Jazz Instrumental Solo
“Speak Like a Child,” Herbie Hancock

Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group
Illuminations, McCoy Tyner with Gary Bartz, Terence Blanchard, Christian McBride and Lewis Nash

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
Concert in the Garden, Maria Schneider Orchestra

Best Latin Jazz Album
Land of the Sun, Charlie Haden

Best Gospel Performance
“Heaven Help Us All,” Ray Charles and Gladys Knight

Best Rock Gospel Album
Wire, Third Day

Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album
All Things New, Steven Curtis Chapman

Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album
Worship & Faith, Randy Travis

Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album
There Will Be A Light, Ben Harper and the Blind Boys of Alabama

Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album
Nothing Without You, Smokie Norful

Best Gospel Choir or Chorus Album
Live . . . This is Your House, Carol Cymbala, director

Best Latin Pop Album
Amar Sin Mentiras, Marc Anthony

Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album
Street Signs, Ozomatli

Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album
Ahora Si, Israel Lopez “Cachao”

Best Salsa/Merengue Album
Across 110th Street, Spanish Harlem Orchestra featuring Ruben Blades

Best Mexican/Mexican-American Album
Intimamente, Intocable

Best Tejano Album
Polkas, Gritos y Acordeones, David Lee Garza, Joel Guzman and Sunny Sauceda

Best Traditional Blues Album
Blues To the Bone, Etta James

Best Contemporary Blues Album
Keep It Simple, Keb’ Mo’

Best Traditional Folk Album
Beautiful Dreamer — the Songs of Stephen Foster, Various Artists

Best Contemporary Folk Album
The Revolution Starts . . . Now, Steve Earle

Best Native American Music Album
Cedar Dream Songs, Bill Miller

Best Hawaiian Music Album
Slack Key Guitar Volume 2, Various Artists

Best Reggae Album
True Love, Toots and the Maytals

Best Traditional World Music Album
Raise Your Spirit Higher, Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Best Contemporary World Music Album
Egypt, Youssou N’Dour

Best Polka Album
Let’s Kiss: 25th Anniversary Album, Brave Combo

Best Musical Album for Children
cELLAbration! A Tribute to Ella Jenkins, Various Artists

Best Spoken Word Album for Children
The Train They Call the City of New Orleans, Tom Chapin

Best Spoken Word Album
My Life, Bill Clinton

Best Comedy Album
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Presents . . . America: A Citizen’s Guide To Democracy Inaction, Jon Stewart and the Cast of The Daily Show

Best Musical Show Album

Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
Garden State

Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
The Lord of The Rings — The Return of the King, Howard Shore

Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
“Into The West,” from The Lord of the Rings — The Return of the King, Annie Lennox, Howard Shore, Fran Walsh

Best Instrumental Composition
“Merengue,” Paquito D’Rivera

Best Instrumental Arrangement
“Past Present and Future,” Slide Hampton

Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)
“Over the Rainbow,” Victor Vanacore

Best Recording Package
A Ghost Is Born, Peter Buchanan-Smith and Dan Nadel, art directors (Wilco)

Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package
Once in a Lifetime, Stefan Sagmeister, art director (Talking Heads)

Best Album Notes
The Complete Columbia Recordings of Woody Herman and His Orchestra and Woodchoppers (1945-1947), Loren Schoenberg

Best Historical Album
Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues, 1945-1970, Daniel Cooper and Michael Gray

Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical
Genius Loves Company, Robert Fernandez, John Harris, Terry Howard, Pete Karam, Joel Moss, Seth Presant, Al Schmitt, Ed Thacker (Ray Charles and Various Artists)

Producer of the Year, Non-Classical
John Shanks

Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical
“It’s My Life (Jacques Lu Cont’s Thin White Duke Mix),” Jacques Lu Cont (No Doubt)

Best Surround Sound Album
Genius Loves Company, Al Schmitt, surround mix engineer (Ray Charles and Various Artists)

Best Engineered Album, Classical
Higdon: City Scape; Concerto for Orchestra, Jack Renner (Robert Spano)

Producer of the Year, Classical
David Frost

Best Classical Album
Adams: On the Transmigration of Souls

Best Orchestral Performance
Adams: On the Transmigration of Souls, Lorin Maazel, conductor

Best Opera Recording
Mozart: Le Nozze Di Figaro, Rene Jacobs

Best Choral Performance
Berlioz: Requiem, Robert Spano

Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra)
Previn: Violin Concerto “Anne-Sophie”/Bernstein: Serenade, Andre Previn

Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without Orchestra)
Aire Latino (Morel, Villa-Lobos, Ponce, Etc.), David Russell

Best Chamber Music Performance
Prokofiev (Arr. Pletnev): Cinderella — Suite for Two Pianos/Ravel: Ma Mere L’Oye, Martha Argerich, piano and Mikhail Pletnev, piano

Best Small Ensemble Performance (with or without Conductor)
Carlos Chavez — Complete Chamber Music, Vol. 2 Jeff von der Schmidt, conductor

Best Classical Vocal Performance
Ives: Songs (The Things Our Fathers Loved; The Housatonic At Stockbridge, Etc.), Susan Graham

Best Classical Contemporary Composition
Adams: On the Transmigration of Souls, John Adams

Best Classical Crossover Album
LAGQ’s Guitar Heroes, Los Angeles Guitar Quartet

Best Short Form Music Video
“Vertigo,” Alex and Martin, director (U2)

Best Long Form Music Video
“Concert For George,” David Leland, director (Various Artists)



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