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Rapper Kanye West Garners 7 Grammy Nominations to Top Adele

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Rapper Kanye West received seven nominations for Grammy Awards, the most of any artist, as the music industry prepared to hand out its top honors.

Adele Adkins, whose 4.67 million copies of “21” lead U.S. sales, drew six nominations, including best record, album and song, the Recording Academy announced live last night on CBS. The Foo Fighters and Bruno Mars were also put up for six awards on the one-hour show hosted by rapper-actor LL Cool J.

To make the Grammys more competitive, the academy last year combined overlapping categories and increased the number of nominees. Lady Gaga, Ludacris and Rihanna were among the performers on last night’s broadcast, the fourth time the nominations were aired live. The awards will be handed out Feb. 12 during a telecast, also on the CBS Corp. network.

“Now, the moment you have all been waiting for,” said Katy Perry, the pop star who introduced the album-of-the-year nominees, including Rihanna for “Loud.” The category has been won over the years by a “distinguished group of artists, from Frank Sinatra to Arcade Fire, from Judy Garland to Stevie Wonder,” said Perry, the recipient of two nominations.

Among his nominations, the 34-year-old West is a finalist for song of the year, best rap song and best rap album for “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” distributed by Universal Music Group. He has two nominations in two separate categories.

West’s album, released in November 2010, sold more than 1.2 million copies and was lauded by music critics including Bloomberg’s Mark Beech, who called it the rapper’s best work. “All of the Lights,” a track from the album featuring West with Rihanna, Kid Cudi and Fergie, is nominated for best song.

On Stage

The program drew an audience of 5.62 million, a 12 percent gain from last year’s telecast, CBS said today in an e-mailed statement, citing preliminary data from Nielsen Holdings NV. The show attracted 12 percent more viewers ages 18 to 49, a group targeted by advertisers, CBS said.

Lady Gaga opened the live broadcast from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles with “Marry the Night” from her album-of-the-year nominated “Born This Way.” She got three nominations overall.

The show also featured performances from Grandmaster Flash and country act The Band Perry.

Mars, the 26-year-old R&B performer, writer and producer who records for Warner Music Group’s Elektra label, is up for album, record and song of the year, as well as best pop solo performance and best pop vocal album. Record of the year recognizes a track’s artists, engineers and producers, while song of the year credits songwriters.

Best New Artist

The Foo Fighters, a rock band formed by former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, is nominated for album of the year for “Wasting Light,” which sold more than 620,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. The band is also up for best rock performance and rock song for “Walk.”

The Band Perry, Bon Iver, J. Cole, Nicki Minaj and Skrillex were nominated in the best-new-artist category.

Usher was on hand to honor the late Nick Ashford of the song-writing duo Ashford & Simpson, singing 1968’s “You’re All I Need to Get By” with Ashford’s widow Valerie Simpson. Tribute was also paid to Jerry Leiber, who co-wrote 1961’s “Stand by Me.”

The number of albums sold this year has increased for the first time since 2004, led by deep discounting and releases from artists such as Lady Gaga, the U.K.’s Adele and rapper Lil Wayne, Nielsen SoundScan said last month.

Industry sales of record albums, which include digital downloads, compact discs, some vinyl LPs and cassettes, rose 3 percent, Nielsen SoundScan said.

Artists who released albums from Oct. 1, 2010, to Sept. 30, 2011, are eligible for the 54th annual Grammys. Ballots are due Jan. 11, when they will be tabulated before the awards show, according to the Recording Academy.

NOMINEES IN TOP CATEGORIES:

ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
* 21 -- Adele
* Wasting Light -- Foo Fighters
* Born This Way -- Lady Gaga
* Doo-Wops & Hooligans -- Bruno Mars
* Loud -- Rihanna

RECORD OF THE YEAR:
* “Rolling In the Deep” -- Adele
* “Holocene” -- Bon Iver
* “Grenade” -- Bruno Mars
* “The Cave” -- Mumford & Sons
* “Firework” -- Katy Perry

SONG OF THE YEAR:
* “All Of The Lights” -- Jeff Bhasker, Malik Jones, Warren
Trotter & Kanye West, songwriters (Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi
& Fergie)
* “The Cave” -- Ted Dwane, Ben Lovett, Marcus Mumford &
Country Winston, songwriters (Mumford & Sons)
* “Grenade” -- Brody Brown, Claude Kelly, Philip Lawrence, Ari
Levine, Bruno Mars & Andrew Wyatt, songwriters (Bruno Mars) *
“Holocene” -- Justin Vernon, songwriter (Bon Iver)
* “Rolling In The Deep” -- Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth,
songwriters (Adele)

BEST NEW ARTIST:
* The Band Perry
* Bon Iver
* J. Cole
* Nicki Minaj
* Skrillex

To contact the reporters on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net; Nancy Moran in New York at nmoran@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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