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Adele, Kanye West Win as Houston’s Death Shadows Grammys

Feb. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Adele, Kanye West and the Foo Fighters won multiple Grammy awards as the music industry honored its biggest stars on a night marked by the loss of singer Whitney Houston.

Adele’s “21” won best pop vocal album and the singer won best pop solo performance for “Someone Like You” at the 54th Grammy Awards, telecast by CBS Corp. today from Los Angeles. West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” was named the top rap album and the Foo Fighters’ “Wasting Light” best rock album at the Recording Academy event.

Organizers added Jennifer Hudson to the lineup to perform a tribute to Houston, who died yesterday at 48 in Beverly Hills. Houston’s death generated an outpouring from fans and her peers, and shone an added spotlight on the Grammys.

“We have had a death in our family,” host LL Cool J said from the stage. “The only thing that feels right is to begin with a prayer, for a woman who we loved, for our fallen sister, Whitney Houston.”

West has 7 nominations, most of any artist. Adele, with six nominations including best album for “21,” will perform for the first time since throat surgery last year.

“I’m getting real emotional,” Adele said from the stage. “I should thank my doctors, since they did bring my voice back.”

Houston’s Death

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band opened the live show with the single “We Take Care of Our Own,” from the album “Wrecking Ball,” due out in the U.S. on March 6. The Beach Boys, reuniting for a 50th anniversary tour, will perform with Foster the People and Maroon 5, fellow acts from Southern California. Last year’s show drew the most viewers since 2001, according to data from Nielsen.

Houston, a natural talent who won six Grammy awards in a career slowed by drugs and alcohol, was found unresponsive yesterday afternoon in her room at the Beverly Hilton hotel, where she was planning to attend the annual pre-Grammys party held by Clive Davis, the Arista Records founder.

Sales of Houston’s albums soared with her death. “Whitney - The Greatest Hits” was the top album at Apple Inc.’s ITunes online store. Two other Houston albums were in the top 10, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Houston’s first Grammy came in 1985 for her vocal performance of “Saving All My Love for You.” She won the same award in 1987 for “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).” Her soundtrack for the movie “The Bodyguard” and the album’s single, “I Will Always Love You,” earned her three Grammys in 1993, including album of the year.

She received a Grammy for best female R&B vocal performance for “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay” in 1999.

Alternative, Dance

Bon Iver won best alternative music album and Skrillex took best dance album. The Foo Fighters, the rock band formed by former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, also won best hard rock/metal performance for “White Limo” and best rock song for “Walk.”

West, a previous winner of 14 Grammys including best rap solo performance in 2007 for “Stronger,” also won the best rap song and best rap/sung collaboration for “All of The Lights.” “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” was distributed by Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group.

Jay-Z and West won the best rap performance Grammy for “Otis” from “Watch the Throne.”

The Recording Academy will grant 78 Grammys, down from 109 a year ago. Jesse Jackson, president and founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition advocacy group, called on the academy to revisit its decision because many urban-music categories were eliminated.

Sales Bump

Albums and tracks by Grammy winners and performers often spike after the telecast. The day after last year’s show, nine of the top-10 best selling albums on iTunes were from artists who had won or performed.

U.S. music sales rose 6.9 percent last year as consumer purchases of albums increased for the first time since 2004, propelled by digital downloads, according to Nielsen and Billboard magazine. Sales of digital albums climbed 19.5 percent, fueled by demand for Adele’s “21,” the year’s best-selling album with 5.8 million copies sold in all formats.

The Foo Fighters, signed to Sony Corp.’s RCA record label, and Bruno Mars, who records for Warner Music Group’s Elektra label, are each up for six Grammys.

Mars is nominated 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.

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

Recording artists who released albums between Oct. 1, 2010, and Sept. 30, 2011, are eligible for the 54th annual Grammys.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at

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