Grammys logjam

Boss battles youngsters for tune trophies

See list of nominationsIt was an unprecedented eight-way tie for the most Grammy nominations Tuesday, as the Recording Academy feted a broad swath of musical talent ranging from hardcore rap to guitar rock to sultry pop.

Bruce Springsteen, Norah Jones, Eminem, Avril Lavigne, Sheryl Crow, Nelly, Ashanti and Raphael Saadiq received five nods each from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences for the 45th annual Grammy Awards.

Four of those nominees made it into the album of the year race: Springsteen’s “The Rising”; Eminem’s “The Eminem Show”; Jones’ debut, “Come Away With Me”; and Nelly’s “Nellyville” made the grade, as did “Home” by the Dixie Chicks, one of their four nominations.

Awards will be handed out Feb. 23 at New York’s Madison Square Garden, where nominations were announced Tuesday morning.

Record of the year category shares three names with the album of the year slot: Eminem’s “Without Me,” Jones’ “Don’t Know Why” and Nelly’s “Dilemma” (with Kelly Rowland). “How You Remind Me” by Nickelback and Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” round out the category.

It will be the first time on the Grammy stage for many of the acts in the five-nomination club, as evidenced by the new artist field. Ashanti, Lavigne and Jones are in the running as are singer-songwriter John Mayer and teen diva Michelle Branch. (Jones began her first major tour in 2002 opening shows for Mayer.)

Jones nabbed nominations in three of the four main categories and her chief songwriter, Jesse Harris, nabbed a song of the year nom, making her Blue Note disc the only work represented in all four main categories. Eminem, Nelly and Springsteen, none of whom qualifies for new artist, received two mentions each in the big three.

Harris’ “Don’t Know Why” will compete in the song category against Springsteen’s “The Rising,” “A Thousand Miles” by Carlton, “Complicated” by Lavigne and the Matrix, and “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” by Alan Jackson.

Besides the Dixie Chicks, artists with four nominations each are Jackson; Nickelback singer Chad Kroeger; and Remy Shand, who is up for R&B song and R&B album.

Shand, a neo-soul singer whose debut album, “The Way I Feel” (Motown), saw only meager sales, is the most nominated unknown in this year’s list, a role played in 2002 by India.Arie, who nabbed seven noms and no wins. She returns this year with three nominations for her sophomore outing, “Voyage to India.”

Other artists earning three nominations are Erykah Badu, Ian Bostridge (including two in the opera recording category), Carlton, Johnny Cash, Elvis Costello, Dirty Vegas, Dr. Dre, Arif Mardin (all for his work with Jones), Pat Metheny and No Doubt.

Film had a crucial role for two of the multiple nominees. Three of Kroeger’s noms stem from his performance of “Hero” on the “Spider-Man” soundtrack; “Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip Hop),” from the “Brown Sugar” soundtrack, earned Badu two of her noms.

Because eligibility periods are different, four Oscar-nominated scores from 2001 are up for this year’s Grammy and the Academy Award winner for song — Randy Newman’s “If I Didn’t Have You” — will again duke it out with Paul McCartney (“Vanilla Sky”) and Enya (“May It Be”).

Universal Music Group led the way among distributors by quite a distance, garnering 159 nominations. In second place is BMG with 70, followed by WEA (61), Sony (56) and EMI (52), according to each label’s inhouse count.

Nearly all the top-selling albums released during the eligibility period of Oct. 1, 2001, to Sept. 30, 2002, had strong showings in the nominations. However, Josh Groban’s debut disc and “A New Day Has Come” from former Grammy fave Celine Dion were the only albums that sold more than 2 million copies last year and were shut out. Branch theoretically earned the new artist nod for her album “Spirit Room,” which has sold 1.6 million, though neither it nor any of its tracks received noms. Her only other nom is for her duet with Carlos Santana.

NARAS has long prided itself on giving Grammys to individuals, not projects. Nominations associated with Jones’ “Come Away With Me,” the first Blue Note release to sell more than 1 million units since Us3 broke that barrier with 1994’s “Hand on the Torch,” total eight, including a producer of the year mention for Mardin. The Dixie Chicks’ “Home” earned seven including writing, art and production credits.

Albums “Vaughan Williams: A Sea Symphony (Symphony No. 1)” and the seven-CD set “Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues: The Worlds of Charley Patton” have three nominations each, but aren’t tallied as such because different individuals are in the running for awards. Similarly, the soundtrack to HBO’s “Six Feet Under” is represented in three categories and doc “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” in two.

This year’s nominations followed form for many prognosticators: Springsteen, Jones, Eminem and Nelly were all high on lists of predictions. Eminem, whose performance with Elton John at the 2001 ceremony drew protests, has been a consistent winner since his arrival only a few years ago: He won three awards in 2001, three in 2000 and two in 1999. “The Eminem Show” (Aftermath/Interscope) was the year’s top seller with more than 7.5 million units moved.

Nelly has been nominated but has yet to win; these are Jones’ first noms. (Jones’ half-sister, Anoushka Shankar, is also up for her first Grammy — in the world music album category with Femi Kuti, Salif Keita and others).

Springsteen has already won seven Grammys, his last coming in 1996 for “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” which won the contemporary folk award. His only win in a big-four category came in ’94 when “Streets of Philadelphia” was named best song. Album “The Rising” has sold 1.8 million units since its July release.

Springsteen’s tune “The Rising” and song of the year competitor Jackson’s “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” were considered leaders for Grammy consideration as both stood head and shoulders above most songs penned in reaction to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. “America — A Tribute to Heroes,” one of several various-artist albums created to raise money for survivors and victims’ families, earned noms for Stevie Wonder and Take Six (R&B performance by a duo or group) and U2 (rock performance by a duo or group).

A host of artists is in the running for two golden gramophones, including Wonder, Mayer, Pink, Britney Spears, P.O.D., the Foo Fighters, Tonic, Coldplay, Kenny G, King, Herbie Hancock, Diana Krall, Ludacris, Mystikal, Nas, Cash, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Dolly Parton and Eartha. Justin Timberlake, who was among the presenters at Madison Square Garden Tuesday, made the list for his solo track “Like I Love You,” and again with teen pop quintet ‘N Sync.

Tuesday’s announcement was presided over by newly installed NARAS president Neil Portnow, who took over the Academy last year after C. Michael Greene’s often-turbulent 13-year reign. “It’s gratifying to see established artists share nods with up-and-comers across the board,” Portnow said after welcoming Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the stage. “I’m a New Yorker even though I live in Los Angeles. I’m so proud that the Grammys are coming back (to New York).”

Awards will be given out in 104 categories. Two have been added to the R&B field — contemporary R&B album and urban/alternative performance — and an independent dance music field was created to contain the dance recording category. The rap solo performance category has been split into two, one for male and female.

Although youngsters such as Branch and Lavigne, both 18, and Jones, 23, are seen as leading the way in general and pop categories, the Grammys still honor the old guard elsewhere. The youngest of the nominated rock vocalists is Elvis Costello, who has been making records for 26 years; the country collaborations and contemporary blues lists are dominated by acts with lengthy resumes, some of which go back as far the 1950s. The contemporary folk category spans the greatest number of years — from the Nickel Creek bluegrassers in their early 20s to 70-year-old Cash with 50-somethings Jorma Kaukonen and Peter Rowan in the mix.

As usual, the Grammys honored longtime favorites. Past multiple winners returning to the rolls include Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, Natalie Cole, Gary Burton, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Chieftains, Sting, B.B. King and John Williams. Ignored were several heralded albums, most notably shortlist winner “In Search Of” by N.E.R.D.; Wilco’s “Yankee Foxtrot Hotel”; and Tom Waits’ two 2002 discs, “Alice” and “Blood Money.”

Participants (Emmylou Harris and Alison Krauss) from last year’s best album winner — the soundtrack to “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” — appear again in collaborative efforts that earned noms. Only Ralph Stanley made it back to the nominations list with a full album of his own. But to take home the bluegrass album prize he will have to beat his son, Ralph Stanley II.

In a nod to entertainment executives, ECM label chieftain Manfred Eicher has been nominated again for classical producer (he won last year) and film producer Robert Evans’ reading of “The Kid Stays in the Picture” is up for spoken word.

CBS will broadcast the Feb. 23 event live on the East Coast and taped on the West. The ceremony will cap a month of musical events, many sponsored by NARAS. Among the major events are a Feb. 20 luncheon honoring Mstislav Rostropovich; the Rhythm & Blues Foundations’ Pioneer Awards, also on Feb. 20; and the MusiCares Person of the Year dinner honoring Bono on Feb. 21.

NARAS estimates that events will bring an estimated $40 million to the city.

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