BMI songwriters, composers and artists made a historically impressive showing February 10 at the 2008 Grammys as they swept the most elite categories of music’s biggest night. Neo-soul chanteuse Amy Winehouse claimed five trophies, including Record, Song and Best New Artist of the Year, while Mark Ronson received Producer of the Year recognition for his stunning work on Winehouse’s Back to Black. Progressive rapper and creative tour de force Kanye West took home four prestigious awards, including Rap Album of the Year, and in an especially poignant moment, jazz icon Herbie Hancock received the evening’s most coveted honor, Album of the Year, for River: The Joni Letters, his tribute to Joni Mitchell.
Unable to attend the ceremony due to a tardy issuance of her visa, Winehouse watched, accepted awards and performed twice via satellite in London. Her innate vintage cool and authentic emotion echoed through her performances of Record and Song of the Year, “Rehab,” along with “I’m No Good.” After claiming the most Grammys of any artist throughout the evening, including Best New Artist, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Pop Vocal Album, Winehouse’s ubiquitous artistic shadow was most certainly in attendance.
- Amy Winehouse
- Kanye West
- Herbie Hancock
Charismatic rap star Kanye West further emphasized his staying power with wins in Rap Album and Solo Rap Performance of the Year. Honored both as a songwriter and recording artist, West also earned Rap Song of the Year bragging rights for “Good Life.” In addition to garnering accolades for his solo work, West claimed Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for his collaboration with Common on “Southside.”
“What a beautiful day this is in Los Angeles!” Herbie Hancock’s visible surprise while accepting his Album of the Year trophy provided a sublimely extemporaneous moment during the telecast. The first jazz project in 43 years to win Album of the Year, Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters features collaborations with numerous contemporary stylists, including Norah Jones and Corinne Bailey Rae. The project also garnered Best Contemporary Jazz Album honors.
- Mark Ronson
- Foo Fighters
- The White Stripes
BMI’s preeminent rock family enjoyed a successful night as well. The unfaltering Foo Fighters took home Best Hard Rock Performance honors for driving single “The Pretender,” while their Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace earned Rock Album of the Year. Critical darlings and rock purists The White Stripes claimed Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for the title track to Icky Thump, which also garnered Best Alternative Album bragging rights for the enigmatic duo.
Beloved jazz saxophonist and composer Michael Brecker received posthumous awards for Best Jazz Instrumental Album (Individual or Group) and Best Jazz Instrumental Solo. Perennial favorites The Clark Sisters also secured honors for Best Gospel Performance and Best Gospel Song.
Additional winners included Carrie Underwood for Best Female and Keith Urban for Best Male Country Vocal Performances; Calle 13 for Best Latin Urban Album; Ray Price and Willie Nelson for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals; Juan Luis Guerra for Best Tropical Latin Album; Vince Gill’s These Days for Best Country Album; Rihanna’s “Umbrella” for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration; Maroon 5 for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals; and Alison Krauss for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.