Santana Sweep Grammys In Stunning Career Comeback

Latin-rockers take eight awards; TLC, Sting, Twain, Dixie Chicks, Eminem also multiple winners.

LOS ANGELES — Capping a nearly supernatural career comeback, guitarist Carlos Santana's namesake band tied the record for the most Grammys ever won in a single night, nabbing eight trophies at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards here Wednesday.

"It feels so great to capture people's hearts more than anything,"

Santana said backstage, after accepting the evening's highest honor,

Album of the Year, for his star-studded, multiplatinum Supernatural. "This [shows] that quality and quantity can go together. If I can do it, people from the ghetto, the barrio, shanty towns can do it. This is for them."

The 52-year-old Santana also expressed his gratitude toward the album's

co-producer, Clive Davis, who is reportedly in danger of losing his

post as president of Arista Records. "Carlos has transformed every form

of music — whether it's pop, rock, hip-hop and certainly jazz — and has united families and people of all ages," Davis said.

Santana tied the record Michael Jackson set in 1983 for the most Grammys won in a single night.

Supernatural's first single, "Smooth" (RealAudio excerpt), nabbed the next-highest honors — Record of the Year and Song of the Year. The latter award, for songwriting, actually went to Itaal Shur and Matchbox 20 singer Rob Thomas, the tune's co-writers.

Thomas, who also sang "Smooth," spoke of Santana in reverent tones

backstage.

"Working with Carlos teaches you what the end goal is: When you're alone, and it's just you, do you feel good about what you do? Do you do things for the right reason?" Thomas said.

Also-Rans TLC Nab Three

Trailing Santana were hip-hop trio TLC, who scored three awards from

their six nominations, including Best R&B Album, for their multiplatinum Fanmail, and Best R&B Song and R&B Duo/Group with Vocal for "No Scrubs" (RealAudio excerpt). Double winners included British rocker Sting, country-pop singer Shania Twain, country trio the Dixie Chicks and rapper Eminem.

Eminem, who won Best Rap Album, for The Slim Shady LP, and Best

Rap Solo Performance, for "My Name Is" (RealAudio excerpt), skipped the ceremony, instead learning of his wins at a post-party held at Universal Studios. "I could give a f--- about the Grammys," he said, as he posed for photographers with his middle finger outstretched. "Not to disrespect, but I just don't give a f---."

The Dixie Chicks, who won Best Country Album for the second year running — this time, for Fly — were more gracious.

"I don't think we thought we'd be here two years in a row; this never

gets old," singer Natalie Maines said.

The evening's most prominent dark-horse victory belonged to teen pop

singer Christina Aguilera, who overtook critical and commercial favorites Macy Gray, Britney Spears and Kid Rock — as well as obscure blues singer Susan Tedeschi.

"It was something I totally did not expect," Aguilera said at an after-party held by BMG in Hollywood. "To actually hear my name being called — it took me a minute to get my bearings."

Smooth Sailing — Except For The Host

This year's Grammy Awards went smoothly, especially compared to other

recent ceremonies. Last year's were boycotted by rapper Jay-Z, while

the 1998 Grammys saw Wu Tang Clan rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard interrupting

the ceremony, to protest a loss by his group, and a shirtless man

disrupting a performance by Bob Dylan.

However, some outside events did intrude on the ceremony. Host Rosie

O'Donnell repeatedly made mocking reference to the felony weapons charges facing Sean "Puffy" Combs in New York, implying that the rapper is prone to violence.

She also mocked Whitney Houston, who evaded arrest in Hawaii last month when she allegedly was caught with marijuana in her possession.

As always, this year's Grammys featured elaborately staged performances

by the evening's biggest stars, including Santana, Britney Spears, Kid

Rock, Will Smith and TLC. The evening also saw an all-star Latin

performance, featuring Marc Anthony, Ricky Martin and Cuban singer Ibrahim Ferrer, who rose to worldwide fame late in life with the Buena Vista Social Club, featured in the acclaimed movie of the same name.

Detroit rapper Kid Rock played a solo piano performance of his Lynyrd

Skynyrd–inspired ballad "Only God Knows Why" before a purple curtain behind him opened to reveal his band, Twisted Brown Trucker. The unshaven Kid Rock, wearing a black muscle shirt and his trademark black derby, leapt on his piano and began the hard-rocking "Bawitdaba." He ended with a faithful cover of Grand Funk Railroad's "We're an American Band."

There's Always Next Year

Spears, whose highly choreographed performance included a version of

her breakthrough hit "... Baby One More Time," was among

the multiple nominees who went home empty-handed.

Last year's top-selling artist, the Backstreet Boys, lost all four

categories in which they were nominated.

"It was kind of disappointing in a way," June Carter, mother of Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, said at the BMG after-party. "Of course I was hoping that the Backstreet Boys would win. It's any parent's dream to have their child win a Grammy."

Another of last year's biggest new pop stars, Ricky Martin, also was

shut out in four categories. Martin was introduced to a mainstream pop

audience with his performance at last year's Grammy ceremony.

Singer/pianist Elton John, who received the prestigious Grammy Legend

Award, seemed unimpressed by the honor. "It doesn't mean a thing," he

said backstage, where he clowned around with fellow piano man Billy

Joel. Joel introduced John's spirited performance of "Philadelphia

Freedom," for which he was backed by the Backstreet Boys.

The Roots took their win for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group as

an opportunity to call attention to their use of instruments.

"Originally, black music was about musicianship," bassist Leon Hubbard

said afterward. "We're bringing musicianship and talent back to the

forefront. I guarantee you we're the only signed instrumental hip-hop

group in the world."

Covers And Others

Other winners include Beck, whose Mutations took the Best

Alternative Music Performance award; Black Sabbath, who took home Best

Metal Performance, for a live version of "Iron Man"; and Cher, whose

smash "Believe" won Best Dance Recording.

Cover recordings dominated several categories. Lenny Kravitz won Best

Male Rock Vocal Performance for his version of the Guess Who's "American Woman." Metallica won Best Hard Rock Performance for their rendition of "Whiskey in the Jar," a traditional song made famous by Thin Lizzy. And Sheryl Crow won Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for her cover of Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child o' Mine."

(Contributing Editor Corey Moss contributed to this report.)


VMAs 2017