The final tallies for the 53rd Grammy Awards began to take shape Sunday afternoon, as many of the top nominees collected kudos at the pre-telecast ceremony at the L.A. Convention Center.
Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ love note to New York, “Empire State of Mind,” was named best rap song and best rap/sung collaboration.
Rap titan Jay-Z won a third trophy for “On to the Next One,” his collaboration with Swizz Beatz, named best rap performance by a duo or group. He has a total of six nods this year.
Eminem, the day’s biggest nominee with 10 nods, took home best rap solo performance, for “Not Afraid, but “Love the Way You Lie,” his duet with Rihanna, was an also-ran in the categories won by “Empire.”
Lady Gaga, nominated in six categories, took two awards, for best pop female vocal and best short form video (both for “Bad Romance”)
Cee Lo Green’s “Fuck You,” up for song and record of the year tonight, was selected best urban/alternative performance.
Green’s Gnarls Barkley partner Danger Mouse was named non-classical producer of year for his work with Broken Bells, the Black Keys and on “Dark Night of the Soul,” his collaboration with the late Mark Linous (Sparklehorse).
John Legend and the Roots took three awards for their collaborative work on the album “Wake Up!”
Usher’s smash “Raymond V Raymond” scored best contemporary R&B album, while his “There Goes My Baby” took best male R&B vocal performance.
Predictably, top-selling trio Lady Antebellum took best country performance by a duo or group for their mega-hit “Need You Now.”
The composition, by Josh Kear and group members Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott, was also named best country song. The group is up for six awards today, including record, song and album of the year.
In something of an upset, the Black Keys’ long-running hit “Brothers” beat Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs,” a former No. 1 collection up for album of the year tonight, in the best alternative music album category.
The Ohio duo also won in the best rock duo/group performance slot, for “Tighten Up.”
Old-school acts some love due at the afternoon ceremony. In recognition of the 5 million albums they sold in 2009-10, he Beatles’ boxed set of studio recordings won as best historical album.
Backstage, Apple Corps chief Jeff Jones acknowledged that other Fab Four-related projects were in the works, but he would not reveal any details.
Ex-Fabs bassist Paul McCartney won a best solo rock vocal performance Grammy for his version of “Helter Skelter” on the concert set “Good Evening New York City.”
The Doors’ feature “When You’re Strange,” released theatrically last year, was named best long-form video.
Headbanging vets Iron Maiden took best metal performance honors for “El Dorado,” from their album “The Final Frontier.” It was their first Grammy recognition.
Neil Young won just his second Grammy award, and his first for music, for best rock song, for “Angry World” from his album “Le Noize.” He won his first Grammy for package design last year, for his “Archives Vol. 1”; he was honored as MusiCares’ Person of the Year last year.
Pete Seeger, the 91-year-old folk legend, took the best musical album for children category for “Tomorrow’s Children,” his set with the Rivertown Kids and Friends. It was just his third Grammy.
The 97-year-old blues keyboardist Pinetop Perkins won his second Grammy for his collaboration with drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, “Joined at the Hip,” selected as best traditional blues album.
Mavis Staples, whose career dates back to her work with the family gospel group the Staple Singers in the ’50s, won her first Grammy in the best Americana album category, for the Jeff Tweedy-produced set “You Are Not Alone.”
Perennial winner Herbie Hancock, who has collected a dozen small Victrolas in the past, was acknowledged for the best improvised jazz solo, for his work on “A Change is Gonna Come” from his album “The Imagine Project.” The set was the follow-up to his 2009 album of the year winner “River.”
Hancock also shared in the pop collaboration with vocals award, for the track “Imagine” from the same album.
Rock guitar god Jeff Beck took a piece of the “Imagine” award, and also pulled in two more trophies, in the best pop instrumental and best rock instrumental categories.
Jazz saxophonist-flautist James Moody, who died in December, received his first Grammy for best jazz instrumental album, for his final release “Moody 4B.”
Jailed reggae vocalist Buju Banton, whose second trial for cocaine trafficking begins in Miami on Monday, received best reggae album accolades for “Before the Dawn.”
Up against such gospel stars as Vanessa Bell Armstrong and Shirley Caesar, Americana artist Patty Griffin took a surprise win in the best traditional gospel album category for her “Downtown Church.”
David Frost, winner of six previous Grammys, was named classical producer of the year, as well as two engineering trophies.
In the film and TV categories, T Bone Burnett and the late Stephen Bruton’s “Crazy Heart” soundtrack won as best compilation soundtrack album, and the pic’s Oscar and Grammy-winning song “The Weary Kind,” by Burnett and Ryan Bingham, won as best song written for a motion picture.
Randy Newman won his sixth Grammy for his work on the Disney animated hit “Toy Story 3,” which collected best score soundtrack.
“American Idiot,” the stage adaptation of Green Day’s 2005 best rock album winner, took best musical show album.