Two silent robots shared the spotlight at the 56th annual Grammy Awards ceremony
in Los Angeles.
In a musical milieu usually ruled by volume and bravado, the two members of Daft Punk stand out by defying convention. The French electronic duo never appears without its robotic headgear, and rarely grants interviews. On Sunday, however, the spotlight found Daft Punk. The two musicians took home five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year for Random Access Memories
and Record of the Year, for Get Lucky
In his acceptance speech, Get Lucky
singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams was kind enough to extend the robotic duo’s best wishes.
“On the behalf of the robots, [I’d] just like to say first of all, man - thank you, thank you, thank you,” said Williams.
Formed in the early 1990s, Daft Punk won its first two Grammy Awards in 2009 and has now collected seven.
Another major award winner was all of two months old when Daft Punk released its 1997 debut album, Homework
. Lorde enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame last year, topping charts worldwide with her stripped-down hit single Royals
. On Sunday night, the 17-year-old New Zealander - born Ella Yelich-O’Connor - shared Song of the Year honors with her collaborator, Joel Little.
Lorde also took home the Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance.
Other winners in the pop categories included Bruno Mars, who took Best Pop Vocal Album for Unorthodox Jukebox
, and Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams, and Nile Rodgers, victorious in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category with Get Lucky
While Lorde represents a new generation of pop talent, many of the rock categories seemed to look back at earlier stars. Black Sabbath took Best Metal Performance for God Is Dead?
; Led Zeppelin won Best Rock Album for the live set Celebration Day
; and the Best Rock Song trophy went to Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear for Cut Me Some Slack
. Accepting the award, Paul explained how his participation arose from a phone call by Dave Grohl.
“He said to me, ‘Come along and we’ll do a jam on Long Tall Sally
,’ and I said ‘no, we’ve been there, we’ve done that, we should just make something up,’ and this is it,” explained Paul.
Carrying the modern rock banner was the Las Vegas band Imagine Dragons, which took Best Rock Performance for the best-selling rock single of 2013, Radioactive
Imagine Dragons turned in a visually imaginative performance of Radioactive
with rapper Kendrick Lamar. Other highlights of the telecast included Lorde’s mysterious black fingertips on her performance of Royals
; a reunion of veteran country performers Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Merle Haggard, along with Blake Shelton; Metallica’s explosive performance of One
featuring classical pianist Lang Lang; and an inspirational rendition of Same Love
, by rapper Macklemore. Featuring his producer Ryan Lewis, the performance also included Queen Latifah officiating the on-stage marriages of 34 couples. Also taking part were singer Mary Lambert and Madonna, who sang an excerpt from her 1986 hit Open Your Heart
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis completed their big night by making good on four of their seven Grammy nominations: Best New Artist; Best Rap Album; Best Rap Performance; and Best Rap Song. For Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance, the pair beat out legendary rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West.
In an ironic twist, the Associated Press reported that members of the Recording Academy’s rap committee originally felt that Macklemore and Ryan Lewis should be barred from the rap categories, owing to their success in mainstream and pop
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis performed their song “Same Love” with Queen Latifah, Madonna and Mary Lambert. Queen Latifah is certified to perform marriages in California, and she conducted a wedding for 33 couples during the performance. Some of the couples were straight and some were gay.
“As I look out on this audience, I'm delighted to see the faces of 33 couples who've chosen this moment to celebrate their vows with us here with us in Los Angeles," she told the audience.
Backstage, she said it had been an honor.
“To be able to do something special for people, to be able to change someone's life, which is what I love to do every day, that's what I was able to be part of tonight,” she told reporters.
Despite losing to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis in more than one category, all was not lost for Jay-Z. He appeared on stage with wife Beyonce for a hot opening act which included plenty of fireworks and steamy dance moves. He also took home his 19th Grammy award for Best Rap Collaboration for his song Holy Grail
, featuring Justin Timberlake. Justin Timberlake also took home the Grammy for Best R&B song for Pusher Lover Girl
In other R&B categories, Alicia Keys won Best R&B Album for Girl on Fire
while Rihanna’s Unapologetic
won Best Urban Contemporary Album. Texas Blues Guitarist Gary Clark Jr. won best Traditional R&B Performance for his song, Please Come Home
In the Country music categories, it was a very good night for one newcomer.
Her name might have been unfamiliar yesterday, but by the end of the evening, even casual music fans were talking about Kacey Musgraves. The 25-year-old Texan’s major label debut Same Trailer Different Park
earned her four Grammy nominations, including two in the Best Country Song category. Even with those odds, it’s likely some in the audience were surprised when Musgraves walked away with two Grammys at the end of the evening, including Best Country Song for Merry Go ‘Round
, written with Josh Osborne and Shane McAnally. The young singer and songwriter certainly sounded surprised when she accepted the award.
Kacey Musgraves also won the very important Best Country Album Grammy, beating out Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton and Taylor Swift. In the end, it was not a good night for Swift - quite a contrast to her recent Grammy triumphs. She has been nominated for a total of nineteen Grammys and has won seven awards. In 2009, at the age of 20, Taylor Swift became the youngest ever Album of the Year winner when she took home that trophy for Fearless
. This year, she performed the piano ballad All Too Well
during the award show, but as the night unfolded, those tuning in to the Grammy telecast were treated to shots of Taylor sitting in front row, smiling bravely and applauding as others ran to the stage to pick up trophies in the four categories she had been was nominated in.
But it was a good night for some familiar faces; close to twenty years after winning two Grammys as lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish, Darius Rucker has some new hardware for his trophy shelf as Wagon Wheel
beat tracks by Lee Brice, Hunter Hayes, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton to give Darius Rucker the 2014 Grammy for Best Country Solo Performance. The Best Country Duo/Group Performance Grammy went to The Civil Wars for their song From This Valley
Eric Felten, Ray McDonald, Mike O'Sullivan, Shawna Oduor, and Catherine Cole contributed to this report