Winehouse leads Grammy wins

Jeffrey Yerger

Ah, the Grammys – the epitome of all music award shows (sorry VMAs).

There have been many great moments in Grammy history. I mean, who could forget Elton John and Eminem’s controversial performance of “Stan” back in 2001? You just don’t get TV like that anymore.

This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Grammy Awards; it was filled with all the glamour and glitz you’d expect, as well as over-the-top performances to boot.

Artists like tabloid queen Amy Winehouse, Kayne West and the Foo Fighters were among the big nominees, but who filled their mantles with the most golden gramophones this year?

The awards ceremony was jam-packed with massive performances, and most were nothing short of spectacular.

The evening started off with the lovely and soulful Alicia Keys singing with … Frank Sinatra? Yes, that’s right, Sinatra was up there on screen and in spirit with Keys as they sang “Learnin’ the Blues” together.

Throughout the night, there were many tributes and performances dedicated to various music icons. Performers from Cirque de Soleil and “Across the Universe” came together and performed Beatles classics “A Day in the Life” and “Let It Be” in a stirring tribute to the band that changed the music world forever.

The ever-impressive Kanye West, donning glow-in-the-dark shades, performed his hit “Stronger” with Daft Punk before breaking out in a solo tribute to his late mother.

Beyonce and pop icon Tina Turner entertained the audience with their energetic rendition of “Proud Mary.” Even Aretha Franklin performed, making an r-e-s-p-e-c-t-ful tribute to gospel music.

Rock legends John Fogerty, a feeble Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard (who looked as scary as ever) played a medley of some classic rock-and-roll songs, with plenty of Little Richard’s trademark “wooooooo”s to go around.

A couple of unlikely pairs hit the stage tonight as well.

First, the Foo Fighters performed their hit “The Pretender” with legendary Led Zeppelin member John Paul Jones, who composed a string/horn section for the performance, giving the song new life.

Later on, Keys hit the stage again to perform her hit “No One,” only this time she was joined by John Mayer, who came on to jam and sing along with the chorus.

Speaking of unlikely, Winehouse performed a pair of songs for the ceremony all the way from London.

In what turned out to be a smooth performance (despite all the negative speculations), Winehouse put her heart and soul into “You Know I’m No Good” and “Rehab” (a place she’s ironically seen a lot of lately).

One of the best performances of the night was delivered by Josh Groban and Andrea Bocelli, who put on an emotional performance of “The Prayer” in honor of Luciano Pavorotti who passed away this year.

Of course, the big story was about the winners, and there were plenty of them.

West can’t be disappointed with this year’s outing, nailing the awards for Best Rap Solo Performance for “Stronger” and Best Rap Song for “Good Life.”

Rock was kept alive by three bands who are more than familiar with this Grammy business.

Bruce Springsteen and the E. Street Band won Best Rock Song for “Radio Nowhere,” the Foo Fighters nabbed the award for Best Hard Rock Performance and Best Alternative Album went to “Icky Thump” by the White Stripes. Keys, Justin Timberlake, Carrie Underwood and Rhianna each received Grammys of their own.

The artist who stole the show, however, was Winehouse, who won five awards for her breakthrough album “Back to Black,” leaving her speechless during her thank-you speech at the end of the night.

Winehouse claimed the prestigious awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist.

Finally, as the night came to a close, the Grammy for Album of the Year was given to a most unlikely artist, Herbie Hancock, for his album “River: The Joni Letters.”

As he accepted the prestigious award, he mentioned that the award had not been given to a jazz artist in 43 years.

That is certainly a respectable achievement by Hancock.

The theme of the night was best summarized by a most unlikely person, Rihanna, as she sang “Don’t Stop the Music.”

Music will never stop, and for many of us, it represents the only sense of normalcy in this world.

As Grammy winner for Best Country Album Vince Gill so elegantly put it, music is “the real place where democracy lives; every note is equal.”

This year’s Grammy Awards ceremony, with its performances and tributes, was certainly a celebration of the heritage and power of music, which is something we can all share.