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Charles in charge

Eight's great for Ray and his 'Company'

See Winners

HOLLYWOOD — The Grammys created a stellar send-off for the late Ray Charles, rewarding his final album with eight trophies including record and album of the year.

“Genius Loves Company,” a collection of duets with the likes of Elton John, Willie Nelson and Van Morrison and reportedly his 250th album, nabbed top album honors. Charles personally won five trophies at the 47th annual Grammy ceremony held at Staples Center.

It was only the second time in history that an album of the year Grammy was awarded posthumously (1980’s “Double Fantasy” by John Lennon was the first).

“Here We Go Again,” which Charles recorded with Norah Jones, took home record of the year and the pop collaboration trophy. Charles also won for pop vocal album and gospel perf for his recording of “Heaven Help Us All” with Gladys Knight.

“Genius Loves Company” was deemed best engineered non-classical album, winning mini-gramophones for the disc’s eight engineers, as well as best surround sound album. The track “Over the Rainbow,” featuring Charles and Johnny Mathis, earned a win for arranger Victor Vanacore.

Charles had won 12 awards prior — all in R&B and pop categories — dating back to 1960 and most recently for the 1993 R&B male vocal perf. Charles died June 10 at the age of 73, less than two months before the release of “Genius Loves Company.”

The double win is the first time an indie label, Concord, has achieved the feat since Ode did it with Carole King’s 1971 recordings. Concord released the disc with Starbucks possessive Hear Music.

In the other major categories, John Mayer won song of the year for “Daughters,” a top 30 radio hit for the last five months. And Maroon 5, which released its debut album “Songs About Jane” in June 2002, was named best new artist.

Joe Adams, Charles’s manager for 50 years, spoke for the assembled team onstage to accept the album award. “I’m gonna thank all of you people on behalf of Ray Charles and I’ll simply say it again — we humbly accept this wonderful honor. We offer humongous thanks, individually and collectively.”

Alicia Keys was the other big winner, taking home four awards. Jones, Usher, Kanye West and U2 won three each. Taking home a pair were Ben Harper, Loretta Lynn, Mayer, Prince, Kanye West, engineer Al Schmitt, conductor Lorin Maazel and classical composer John Adams.

Jones became the first artist to win a record of the year prize and then return to win another for appearing on another artist’s album.

The win for record of the year is the fourth time a duet has won the top prize. Santana and Rob Thomas were the most recent (for their 1999 recording of “Smooth”); others were Natalie and Nat King Cole and Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto.

The Ray-fest included a perf of “Georgia on My Mind” by Alicia Keys and “Ray” star Jamie Foxx, and Bonnie Raitt, backed by organist Billy Preston, dueting on “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind” with Charles’s recording.

Albums that went up against Charles, for the most part, won their genre trophies. Keys nabbed the R&B album award, Kanye West was annointed with the rap album award and Green Day’s politically minded “American Idiot” won for rock album. Loretta Lynn’s “Van Lear Rose” blocked Tim McGraw from the winner’s circle in the country album category.

The one category in which Charles lost was traditional R&B vocal perf, which Prince’s “Musicology” won. Charles and B.B. King’s recording of “Sinner’s Prayer” was nominated.

“This is the best Grammys I have ever seen,” Bono said while complimenting the rock acts U2 was up against.

Motorhead, Rod Stewart and Brian Wilson won the first Grammys of their lengthy careers while other artists posted their first wins in decades. Nancy Wilson won her first Grammy (for jazz vocal album) since picking up the 1964 R&B recording trophy. Loretta Lynn won her first awards in 33 years, taking home country album and country collaboration trophies.

The Blind Boys of Alabama, which had been around for 60 years before winning, won a gospel award for the fourth year in a row.

The first Hawaiian music album trophy went to Palm Records’ various artist collection “Slack Key Guitar Volume 2.”

Top nominee Kanye West said, “Everybody wanted to know what I’d do if I didn’t win,” he said while accepting his award. “I guess we’ll never know.”

Black Eyed Peas oversaw the 12-minute opening of the show, weaving their “Let’s Get It Started” through perfs by Gwen Stefani and Eve, Los Lonely Boys, Maroon 5 and Franz Ferdinand. In the opening remarks of host Queen Latifah and the first award presentation, much was made of the kudoscast’s ability to cover a multitude of musical genres. To reinforce that notion, telecast honored lifetime achievement recipients Pinetop Perkins, the legendary blues pianist, and the late jazz drummer Art Blakey.

Eleven of the 107 awards were given out during the televised portion of the Grammy Awards. Ceremony was heavy on film actors — among them Kevin Bacon, Matthew McConaughey, Billy Bob Thornton and Quentin Tarantino — presenting awards and handling introductions.

Compilation soundtrack winner Zach Braff, for “Garden State,” urged artists in the pre-telecast audience, “When a filmmaker calls and says ‘I have no money,’ please take a look at the scene” before saying no.

Lifetime achievement Grammys, Trustees Awards and the Technical Grammys were given out Saturday to Don Cornelius, John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Pinetop Perkins, Mavis and Yvonne Staples, Bill Taylor, JBL prexy Mark Terry and Phil Ramone. Being honored posthumously were John Bonham, Art Blakey, Hoagy Carmichael, the Carter Family, Morton Gould, Janis Joplin, Alfred Lion, Jelly Roll Morton and Eddy Arnold.

And the winners are…

RECORD OF THE YEAR
“Here We Go Again” — Ray Charles & Norah Jones; John Burk, producer; Terry Howard, Al Schmitt, engineers/mixers (track from: “Genius Loves Company”) (Concord Records/Hear Music)

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
“Genius Loves Company” — Ray Charles & Various Artists; John Burk, Terry Howard, Don Mizell, Phil Ramone & Herbert Waltl, producers; Robert Fernandez, John Harris, Terry Howard, Pete Karam, Joel Moss, Al Schmitt & Ed Thacker, engineers/mixers; Robert Hadley & Doug Sax, mastering engineers (Concord Records/Hear Music)

SONG OF THE YEAR
“Daughters” John Mayer, songwriter (Mayer)(track from: “Heavier Things”) (Aware Records/Columbia; Publishers: Sony/ATV Tunes/Specific Harm Music)

NEW ARTIST
Maroon 5

FEMALE POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE
“Sunrise” – Norah Jones (track from: “Feels Like Home”) (Blue Note Records)

MALE POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE
“Daughters” John Mayer (track from: “Heavier Things”) (Columbia/Aware)

POP PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP WITH VOCAL
“Heaven” Los Lonely Boys (track from: “Los Lonely Boys”) (Epic Records)

POP COLLABORATION WITH VOCALS
Ray Charles & Norah Jones (track from: “Genius Loves Company”) (Concord Records)

POP INSTRUMENTAL PERFORMANCE
Ben Harper (track from: “There Will Be a Light”) (Virgin Records)

POP INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM
“Henry Mancini: Pink Guitar” Various Artists James Jensen, producer (Solid Air Records)

POP VOCAL ALBUM
“Genius Loves Company” Ray Charles & Various Artists (Concord Records)

DANCE RECORDING
“Toxic” Britney Spears Avant & Bloodshy, producers; Niklas Flyckt, mixer (track from: “In the Zone”) (Jive/Zomba Label Group)

ELECTRONIC/DANCE ALBUM
“Kish Kash” Basement Jaxx (XL Recordings/Astralwerks)

TRADITIONAL POP VOCAL ALBUM
“Stardust … The Great American Songbook Volume III” Rod Stewart (J Records)

SOLO ROCK VOCAL PERFORMANCE
“Code of Silence” Bruce Springsteen (track from: “The Essential Bruce Springsteen”) (Columbia Records)

ROCK PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP WITH VOCAL
“Vertigo” U2 (Interscope Records)

HARD ROCK PERFORMANCE
“Slither” Velvet Revolver (RCA)

METAL PERFORMANCE
“Whiplash” Motorhead (Big Deal Records)

ROCK INSTRUMENTAL PERFORMANCE
“Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow” Brian Wilson (track from: “Brian Wilson Presents Smile” (Nonesuch Records)

ROCK SONG
“Vertigo” Bono, Adam Clayton, The Edge & Larry Mullen, songwriters (U2) (Interscope Records; Publisher: Universal Polygram International Publishing)

ROCK ALBUM
“American Idiot” Green Day (Reprise Records)

ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM
“A Ghost Is Born” — Wilco (Nonesuch Records)

FEMALE R&B VOCAL PERFORMANCE
“If I Ain’t Got You” — Alicia Keys (track from “The Diary of Alicia Keys”) (J Records)

MALE R&B VOCAL PERFORMANCE
“Call My Name” — Prince (track from “Musicology”) (Columbia Records/NPG Records)

R&B PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP WITH VOCALS
“My Boo” — Usher & Alicia Keys (track from “Confessions Special Edition”) (Arista/La Face/Zomba Label Group)

TRADITIONAL R&B VOCAL PERFORMANCE
“Musicology” — Prince (track from “Musicology”) (Columbia Records/NPG Records)

URBAN/ALTERNATIVE PERFORMANCE
“Cross My Mind” — Jill Scott (track from “Beautifully Human: Words & Sounds Vol. 2”) (Hidden Beach)

R&B SONG
“You Don’t Know My Name” — Alicia Keys, Harold Lilly & Kanye West, songwriters (Alicia Keys) (J Records; Publishers: Lellow Productions/EMI Music Publishing, Ye World Music/EMI April Music, Uncle Bobby Music/EMI Blackwood Music & A Dish-A-Tunes Ltd.)

R&B ALBUM
“The Diary of Alicia Keys” — Alicia Keys (J Records)

CONTEMPORARY R&B ALBUM
“Confessions” — Usher (Arista/LaFace/Zomba Label Group)

RAP SOLO PERFORMANCE
“99 Problems” — Jay-Z (track from “The Black Album”) (Roc-A-Fella Records)

RAP PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP
“Let’s Get It Started” — The Black Eyed Peas (track from “Elephunk”) (A&M Records)

RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION
“Yeah!” — Usher featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris (track from “Confessions”) (Arista/LaFace/Zomba Label Group)

RAP SONG
“Jesus Walks” — C. Smith, Kanye West, songwriters (Kanye West) (track from “The College Dropout”) (Rocafella Records; publishers: Konman Entertainment/Gimme My Publishing Co./Hip Hop Since 1978, Mapleshade Prods.)

RAP ALBUM
“The College Dropout” — Kanye West (Roc-A-Fella Records)

FEMALE COUNTRY VOCAL PERFORMANCE
“Redneck Woman” — Gretchen Wilson (track from “Here for the Party”) (Epic Records)

MALE COUNTRY VOCAL PERFORMANCE
“Live Like You Were Dying” — Tim McGraw (track from “Live Like You Were Dying”) (Curb Records)

COUNTRY PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP WITH VOCAL
“Top of the World” — Dixie Chicks (track from “Top of the World Tour — Live”) (Columbia)

COUNTRY COLLABORATION WITH VOCALS
“Portland Oregon” — Loretta Lynn & Jack White (track from “Van Lear Rose”) (Interscope Records)

COUNTRY INSTRUMENTAL PERFORMANCE
“Earl’s Breakdown” — Nitty Gritty Dirt Band featuring Earl Scruggs, Randy Scruggs, Vassar Clements, Jerry Douglas (track from “Will the Circle Be Unbroken — The Trilogy”) (Capitol Records Nashville)

COUNTRY SONG
“Live Like You Were Dying” — Tim Nichols, Craig Wiseman, songwriters (Tim McGraw) (track from “Live Like You Were Dying”) (Curb Records; publishers: Warner-Tamerlane Publishing/Big Loud Shirt)

COUNTRY ALBUM
“Van Lear Rose” — Loretta Lynn (Interscope Records)

BLUEGRASS ALBUM
“Brand New Strings” — Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder (Skaggs Family Records)

NEW AGE ALBUM
“Returning” — Will Ackerman (Decca)

CONTEMPORARY JAZZ ALBUM
“Unspeakable” — Bill Frisell (Nonesuch Records)

JAZZ VOCAL ALBUM
“R.S.V.P. (Rare Songs, Very Personal)” — Nancy Wilson (MCG Jazz)

JAZZ INSTRUMENTAL SOLO
“Speak Like a Child” — Herbie Hancock, soloist (track from “With All My Heart (Harvey Mason)”) (Bluebird)

JAZZ INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM, INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP
“Illuminations” — McCoy Tyner with Gary Bartz, Terence Blanchard, Christian McBride, Lewis Nash (Telarc Jazz)

LARGE JAZZ ENSEMBLE ALBUM
“Concert in the Garden” — Maria Schneider Orchestra (ArtistShare)

LATIN JAZZ ALBUM
“Land of the Sun” — Charlie Haden (Verve Intl.)

GOSPEL PERFORMANCE“Heaven Help Us All” — Ray Charles, Gladys Knight (track from “Genius Loves Company”) (Concord Records)

ROCK GOSPEL ALBUM
“Wire” — Third Day (Essential Records)

POP/CONTEMPORARY GOSPEL ALBUM
“All Things New” — Steven Curtis Chapman (Sparrow Records)

SOUTHERN, COUNTRY OR BLUEGRASS GOSPEL ALBUM
“Worship & Faith” — Randy Travis (Word Records)

TRADITIONAL SOUL GOSPEL ALBUM
“There Will Be a Light” — Ben Harper & the Blind Boys of Alabama (Virgin)

CONTEMPORARY SOUL GOSPEL ALBUM
“Nothing Without You” — Smokie Norful (EMI Gospel)

GOSPEL CHOIR OR CHORUS ALBUM
“Live … This Is Your House” — Carol Cymbala, choir director; the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir (INO Records)

LATIN POP ALBUM
“Amar Sin Mentiras” — Marc Anthony (Sony Discos)

LATIN ROCK/ALTERNATIVE ALBUM
“Street Signs” — Ozomatli (Concord Records)

TRADITIONAL TROPICAL LATIN ALBUM
“¡Ahora Si!” — Israel Lopez “Cachao” (Univision Records)

SALSA/MERENGUE ALBUM“Across 110th Street” — Spanish Harlem Orchestra Featuring Ruben Blades (Libertad Records)

MEXICAN/MEXICAN-AMERICAN ALBUM
“Intimamente” — Intocable (EMI Latin)

TEJANO ALBUM
“Polkas, Gritos y Acordeones” — David Lee Garza, Joel Guzman & Sunny Sauceda (Guzman Fox Records)

TRADITIONAL BLUES ALBUM
“Blues to the Bone” — Etta James (RCA Victor)

CONTEMPORARY BLUES ALBUM
“Keep It Simple” — Keb’ Mo’ (Epic/Okeh)

TRADITIONAL FOLK ALBUM“Beautiful Dreamer — The Songs of Stephen Foster” — various artists; Steve Fisbell & David Macias, producers (American Roots Publishing)

CONTEMPORARY FOLK ALBUM
“The Revolution Starts…Now” — Steve Earle (Artemis Records/E-Squared)

NATIVE AMERICAN MUSIC ALBUM (VOCAL OR INSTRUMENTAL)
“Cedar Dream Songs — Bill Miller (Paras Recordings)

HAWAIIAN MUSIC ALBUM (VOCAL OR INSTRUMENTAL)
“Slack Key Guitar Volume 2” — various artists; Charles Michael Brotman, producer (Palm Records)

REGGAE ALBUM
“True Love” — Toots & the Maytals (V2 Records)

TRADITIONAL WORLD MUSIC ALBUM
“Raise Your Spirit Higher” — Ladysmith Black Mambazo (Heads Up Intl.)

CONTEMPORARY WORLD MUSIC ALBUM
“Egypt” — Youssou N’Dour (Nonesuch)

POLKA ALBUM
“Let’s Kiss: 25th Anniversary Album” — Brave Combo (DenTone)

MUSICAL SHOW ALBUM
“Wicked” — Stephen Schwartz, producer; Stephen Schwartz, composer/lyricist (Original Broadway Cast Recording With Kristin Chenoweth & Idina Menzel) (Decca Broadway)

MUSICAL ALBUM FOR CHILDREN
“cELLAbration! A Tribute to Ella Jenkins” — Various artists; Cathy Fink, Marcy Marxer, producers (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings)

SPOKEN WORD ALBUM FOR CHILDREN
“The Train They Call the City of New Orleans” — Tom Chapin (Live Oak Media)

SPOKEN WORD ALBUM
“My Life” — Bill Clinton (Random House Audio)

COMEDY ALBUM

“The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Presents … America: A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction” — Jon Stewart and the cast of “The Daily Show” (Time Warner Audiobooks)

COMPILATION SOUNDTRACK ALBUM FOR A MOTION PICTURE, TELEVISION OR OTHER VISUAL MEDIA
“Garden State” — Various artists (Epic/Sony Music Soundtrax/Fox Music)

SCORE SOUNDTRACK ALBUM FOR A MOTION PICTURE, TELEVISION OR OTHER VISUAL MEDIA
“The Lord of the Rings — The Return of the King” — Howard Shore, composer (Howard Shore) (Reprise/WMG Soundtracks)

SONG WRITTEN FOR A MOTION PICTURE, TELEVISION OR OTHER VISUAL MEDIA
“Into the West” — Annie Lennox, Howard Shore, Fran Walsh, songwriters (Annie Lennox) (track from “The Lord of the Rings — The Return of the King”) (Reprise/WMG Soundtracks; publishers: New Line Tunes/BMG Music Publishing)

INSTRUMENTAL COMPOSITION
“Merengue” — Paquito D’Rivera, composer (Yo-Yo Ma) (track from “Obrigado Brazil — Live in Concert”) (Sony Classical)

INSTRUMENTAL ARRANGEMENT
“Past Present & Future” — Slide Hampton, arranger (The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra) (track from “The Way — Music of Slide Hampton”) (Planet Arts Recordings)

INSTRUMENTAL ARRANGEMENT ACCOMPANYING VOCALIST(S)
“Over the Rainbow” — Victor Vanacore, arranger (Ray Charles & Johnny Mathis) (track from “Genius Loves Company”) (Concord Records/Hear Music)

RECORDING PACKAGE
“A Ghost Is Born” — Peter Buchanan-Smith, Dan Nadel, art directors (Wilco) (Nonesuch)

BOXED OR SPECIAL LIMITED EDITION PACKAGE
“Once in a Lifetime” — Stefan Sagmeister, art director (Talking Heads) (Sire/Warner Bros./Rhino Records)

ALBUM NOTES
“The Complete Columbia Recordings of Woody Herman and His Orchestra & Woodchoppers (1945-1947)” — Loren Schoenberg, album notes writer (Woody Herman & His Orchestra) (Mosaic Records)

HISTORICAL ALBUM
“Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues, 1945-1970” — Daniel Cooper, Michael Gray, compilation producers; Joseph M. Palmaccio, Alan Stoker, mastering engineers (Various Artists) (CMF/Lost Highway Records)

ENGINEERED ALBUM, NON-CLASSICAL
“Genius Loves Company” — Robert Fernandez, John Harris, Terry Howard, Pete Karam, Joel Moss, Al Schmitt, Ed Thacker, engineers (Ray Charles and various artists) (Concord Records/Hear Music)

PRODUCER OF THE YEAR, NON-CLASSICAL
John Shanks — “Autobiography” (Ashlee Simpson) (A); “Breakaway” (Kelly Clarkson) (T); “The First Cut Is the Deepest” (Sheryl Crow) (T); “Fly” (Hilary Duff) (T); “Shine Your Light” (Robbie Robertson) (T); “So-Called Chaos” (Alanis Morissette) (A)

REMIXED RECORDING, NONCLASSICAL
“It’s My Life” (Jacques Lu Cont’s Thin White Duke Mix) — Jacques Lu Cont, remixer (No Doubt) (track from “The Singles 1992-2003”) (Interscope Records)

SURROUND SOUND ALBUM
“Genius Loves Company” — Al Schmitt, surround mix engineer; Robert Hadley, Doug Sax, surround mastering engineers; John Burk, Phil Ramone, Herbert Waltl, surround producers (Ray Charles and various artists) (Concord Records/Hear Music)

ENGINEERED ALBUM, CLASSICAL
“Higdon: City Scape” — Jack Renner, engineer (Robert Spano) (Telarc)

PRODUCER OF THE YEAR, CLASSICAL
David Frost — “Adolphe: Ladino Songs; Out of the Whirlwind, etc.” (Rodney Winther, J. Aler, D. Jolley, E. Fisk, L. Shelton, P. Pancella); “Brubeck: Gates of Justice” (Russell Gloyd & Tom Hall); “Genesis Suite 1945” (Schoenberg, Shilkret, Tansman, Milhaud, etc.) (Gerard Schwarz & Sigurd Brauns); “Jewish Operas Vol. 1 (The Golem; Chelm; The Dybbuk)” (Stephen Gunzenhauser and various); “Wyner: The Mirror; Passover Offering, etc.” (Carol Wincenc, Carol Meyer, Richard Stoltzman, Ronald Thomas)

CLASSICAL ALBUM
“Adams: On the Transmigration of Souls” — Lorin Maazel, conductor; John Adams, Lawrence Rock, producers (Brooklyn Youth Chorus & New York Choral Artists; New York Philharmonic) (Nonesuch Records)

ORCHESTRAL PERFORMANCE
“Adams: On the Transmigration of Souls” — Lorin Maazel, conductor (Brooklyn Youth Chorus & New York Choral Artists; New York Philharmonic) (Nonesuch Records)

OPERA RECORDING
“Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro” — Rene Jacobs, conductor; Patrizia Ciofi, Veronique Gens, Simon Keenlyside, Angelika Kirchschlager, Lorenzo Regazzo; Martin Sauer, producer (various artists; Concerto Koln) (Harmonia Mundi)

CHORAL PERFORMANCE
“Berlioz: Requiem” — Robert Spano, conductor; Norman Mackenzie, choir director (Frank Lopardo, tenor; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus; Atlanta Symphony Orchestra) (Telarc)

INSTRUMENTAL SOLOIST(S) PERFORMANCE (WITH ORCHESTRA)
“Previn: Violin Concerto ‘Anne-Sophie’/Bernstein: Serenade” — Andre Previn, conductor; Anne-Sophie Mutter, violin (Boston Symphony Orchestra & London Symphony Orchestra) (Deutsche Grammophon)

INSTRUMENTAL SOLOIST PERFORMANCE (WITHOUT ORCHESTRA)
“Aire Latino” — David Russell, guitar (Telarc)

CHAMBER MUSIC PERFORMANCE
“Prokofiev” — Martha Argerich, piano; Mikhail Pletnev, piano (Deutsche Grammophon)

SMALL ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE (WITH OR WITHOUT CONDUCTOR)
“Carlos Chavez: Complete Chamber Music, Vol. 2” — Jeff von der Schmidt, conductor; Southwest Chamber Music (Cambria Master Recordings)

CLASSICAL VOCAL PERFORMANCE
“Ives: Songs” — Susan Graham, mezzo soprano (Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano) (track from “Ives: Concord Sonata; Songs”) (Warner Classics)

CLASSICAL CONTEMPORARY COMPOSITION
“Adams: On the Transmigration of Souls” — John Adams (Lorin Maazel; Brooklyn Youth Chorus & New York Choral Artists; New York Philharmonic) (Nonesuch Records; publisher: Hendon Music)

CLASSICAL CROSSOVER ALBUM
“LAGQ’s Guitar Heroes” — Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (Telarc)

SHORT-FORM MUSICVIDEO
“Vertigo” — U2; Alex & Martin, video director; Grace Bodie, video producer (Interscope Records)

LONG FORM MUSIC VIDEO
“Concert For George” — Various Artists; David Leland, video director; Ray Cooper, Olivia Harrison & Jon Kamen, video producers (Warner Strategic Marketing)

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