February 8, 2009, STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, California, home to the 51st annual Grammy Awards. Music fans and Grammy followers were in for a shock. Surprise wins by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss knocked over big favorite genres of hard-core rap and rock with their gentle renditions of old rockabilly and country songs. Their album “Raising Sand”, took home the Album of the Year and Best contemporary folk/American album, they also walked away with Best Pop Collaboration for “Rich Woman” and Best Country Collaboration for “Killing the Blues”. The Album “Raising Sand” shrugged off stiff competition from Lil Wayne and Coldplay, who were the two top sellers of 2008.
Lil Wayne topped the night’s nomination list with eight nominations in six categories and he ended winning four of them, including Best Rap Album, Best Solo Rap Performance and Best Rap song. He also notched up another win in best rap performance by a duo or group, for “Swagga Like Us.”
Best Rock Album went home with Coldplay for their “Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends”, they also walked away with Best Pop performance by a duo or group with vocals and Song of the Year for “Viva la Vida.” The awards have been battling bad ratings for a couple of years and decided to boost the show’s ratings by roping in the highest number of performers in the history of the show, aimed mainly at capturing younger audiences.
U2 performed “Get On Your Boots” in front of giant screens showing kaleidoscopic imagery, the song was only officially released after their live performance at the awards. The organization also had a lot of surprises in store when it came to the performances. A very pregnant M.I.A performed at the show, most people don’t take to the stage when nine months pregnant, but this feisty Sri Lankan-British rapper took to the stage with rap dream team, Jay-Z, T. I., Kanye West and Lil Wayne, whose song “Swagga Like Us” has M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes,” as sample, the song itself had been up for record of the year.
Two artists who didn’t turn up for the ceremony were favorites Rihanna and Chris Brown. There were reports saying Brown had a run in with the law on a case of domestic violence. We all know how that story ended. Rihanna’s slot was filled in by Al Green who sang his 1970’s hit “Let’s Stay Together” aided by R&B veterans Boyz II Men and Keith Urban. Coldplay and Jay Z made a another hit combo, while teen sensations Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus performed a duet on Ms. Taylor’s “Fifteen”. The lone Beatle Paul McCartney collaborated with Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters) on the drums for a rendition of “I Saw Her Standing There”
Jennifer Hudson who recently lost her mother and brother choked back the tears when she accepted the award for Best R&B album, for her self-titled debut album.
Metallica took the Grammy for Best Metal Performance for their latest album “Death Magnetic.” Rick Rubin won the Producer of the Year award for his work on the albums of Metallica, Weezer, among others. Other winners included Adele who took home Best New Artist and Best Female Performance for her song “Chasing Pavements.” Estelle won best rap/sung collaboration for her song “American Boy,” featuring Kanye West.
The ratings for the Grammys have been dropping steadily and the organizers were under pressure to step up the heat. Grammy awards have been opening up accounts on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to rope in younger audiences. The economic depression has been partly to blame for the lack of ratings as fewer CD’s are being sold and as music piracy takes its toll on the music industry. Even though the Grammy’s were extravagant in their proceedings for the 2009 awards, the fallen economy and ratings did not seem to budge from its position.