Lady Antebellum Wins 5 Grammys, Arcade Fire Top Album

Lady Antebellum Collects 5 Grammys
Lady Antebellum swept several country categories including best album for “Need You Now,” and snagged song of the year and record of the year for the title track on a night of surprises. Photographer: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

The Nashville trio Lady Antebellum won five Grammys and Arcade Fire took home album of the year honors at the music industry’s biggest awards show.

Jay-Z and Lady Gaga each won three awards at the Recording Academy ceremony, telecast yesterday from Los Angeles by CBS Corp. The Grammys drew 26.7 million viewers, a 3.1 percent gain from last year and the most since 2001, CBS said today, citing Nielsen Co. data.

Lady Antebellum, formed in 2006, swept several country categories including best album for “Need You Now,” and snagged song of the year and record of the year for the title track on a night of surprises. Best new artist Esperanza Spalding and Arcade Fire each beat better-known competition.

“It was a good night for Nashville,” said Ted Cohen, a former top digital executive at EMI Music whose Tag Strategic advises companies on digital strategy. “Artistry was rewarded in many categories over celebrity.”

Winning best song and best album was a “huge” accomplishment for Lady Antebellum, Cohen said.

“It does feel like we’ve arrived,” said band member Charles Kelley backstage. “We’re probably never going to have another night like this in our career.”

Nominees and performers at the Grammys had an immediate spike in album sales on Apple Inc.’s iTunes the day after the show. Nine of the top-10 selling albums, including three from Justin Bieber, are from Grammy artists. Sales of the Black Eyed Peas jumped 25 percent after the group’s Super Bowl performance on Feb. 6, Nielsen SoundScan said last week.

Top Upsets

Lady Antebellum, which records for EMI Group Plc’s Capitol Records, was a 2009 nominee for best new artist and performed last year. The band’s showing brings attention to London-based EMI after it was taken over by lender Citigroup Inc. this month. The company is being targeted by suitors including Warner Music Group Corp.

In the top categories, upsets ruled. For record of the year, Lady Antebellum was up against Eminem’s duet with Rihanna, “Love the Way You Lie,” and the Jay-Z collaboration with Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind.” For song of the year, the band outdid Eminem, who was nominated in 10 categories.

Record of the year recognizes a track’s artists, engineers and producers, while song of the year credits songwriters.

Arcade Fire overcame competition for album of the year from Lady Gaga, Eminem and Katy Perry. Spalding, a 26-year-old bassist and jazz vocalist from Portland, Oregon, was up against better-known Drake and teen pop star Justin Bieber for best new artist.

“Once this is over we’re all still colleagues and friends,” Spalding said backstage. “I beat him but he sold more records than me.”

Esperanza Spalding

The Grammys provided a showcase for other lesser-known performers such as Cee Lo Green and singer Miranda Lambert, who won for best female country performance for “The House That Built Me.”

“I feel really lucky that I got acknowledged on this stage in front of so many people that will hopefully go and experience my music,” Spalding said.

Eminem, Jay-Z and Lady Gaga each had multiple wins. Arcade Fire, based in Montreal, was honored for its third album, “The Suburbs.” The album, which had no single, was recorded for Merge records, an independent label.

Eminem won the award for best rap solo and best rap album for “Recovery,” which sold more than 3 million copies. The 38-year-old entertainer, signed to Universal Music Group’s Interscope Records, performed “Love the Way You Lie” with Rihanna on the show.


“I want to thank Rihanna too for helping to propel the album to what it’s doing,” Eminem said. “Thank you to the fans.”

Eminem, born Marshall Mathers, won 11 Grammys in previous years, including best rap album for “Relapse” in 2009, “The Eminem Show” in 2002, “The Marshall Mathers LP” in 2000 and 1999’s “The Slim Shady LP.”

This year, Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger performed on the telecast for the first time. Barbra Streisand sang “Evergreen,” and Bob Dylan played “Maggie’s Farm” with Mumford & Sons, a best new-artist nominee, and the Avett Brothers in a tribute to acoustic music. Cee Lo Green was joined by the Muppets and Gwyneth Paltrow for “Forget You,” the G-rated version of his song-of-the year nominee.

Aretha Franklin was honored with a show-opening tribute from five singers that included Jennifer Hudson singing “Respect” and Florence Welch of Florence & the Machine singing “Think.”

Alicia Keys

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys were recognized for best rap song and best rap collaboration for “Empire State of Mind.” Jay-Z, whose given name is Shawn Carter, also was honored with Swizz Beats for their performance of “On to the Next One” in the rap duo or group category.

Lady Gaga, whose given name is Stefani Germanotta, won for best pop vocal album for “The Fame Monster,” best female pop performance and best short music video for the song “Bad Romance.” The 24-year-old singer, signed to Vivendi SA’s Universal Music, has sold 1.35 million copies of “The Fame Monster,” released in November 2009, according to data from Nielsen Soundscan.

Artists who released albums between Sept. 1, 2009 and Sept. 30, 2010 were eligible for this year’s awards.

Jeff Beck, the 66-year-old guitarist who played with the Yardbirds, won three Grammys -- for best rock instrumental performance, best pop instrumental and best pop collaboration, for work including “The Imagine Project” with Herbie Hancock.

The Grammy for best Classical Contemporary Composition went to Michael Daugherty for “Deus Ex Machina,” edging out, among others, Symphony No. 4 by Arvo Part, who dedicated the work to jailed Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

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