Las Vegas Sun

October 17, 2017

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Smooth’ sailing for guitar great Santana at Grammys


LOS ANGELES -- The comeback of Carlos Santana is triumphantly complete.

The guitar maestro who had just one minor Grammy to his credit in a 30-year career won eight on Wednesday, tying the record set by Michael Jackson in 1983 for most trophies in one night.

The sweep, which included wins in the record and album of the year categories, capped a stunning comeback year for Santana and his namesake band.

This year they were nominated for 10, and the composers of their No. 1 hit "Smooth" also won for song of the year. (Their only misses were best instrumental composition and pop collaboration, where they were nominated twice.) Santana's 1999 album, "Supernatural", has spent 36 weeks on the charts, eight of them at No. 1.

In another triumph for a veteran artist, Cher won her first Grammy in a 36-year career when "Believe" was named best dance recording.

Christina Aguilera defeated Britney Spears in a hotly contested battle for best new artist that also featured Macy Gray, Kid Rock and surprise nominee Susan Tedeschi.

Heeding last year's lesson, when Ricky Martin's performance of "La Copa de la Vida" highlighted the telecast, the Grammys devoted a lengthy segment to Latin music, featuring current star Marc Anthony, veteran Cuban musicians Ibrahim Ferrer, Chucho Valdes and Poncho Sanchez, and -- of course -- a return performance from Martin, dancing amid flames while singing "Maria Maria."

(Kid Rock also employed the flame motif in his performance.)

Double Grammy winners the Dixie Chicks -- with a newly brunette Emily Robison -- added a touch of spousal abuse and revenge murder to the proceedings when they performed "Goodbye Earl" while its video (starring Dennis Franz as Earl) was projected behind them.

Also making prominent use of video images were TLC and Spears in the course of major-production medleys.

The Backstreet Boys contributed a "salute to vocal groups of the past," performing snippets of songs by the Bee Gees, the Temptations, Boyz II Men and their own new single. Later in the show, they backed Elton John in a version of "Philadelphia Freedom."

Other multiple winners included TLC (three), Sting, Shania Twain (absent in order "to have her belly waxed," presenter Clint Black said), jazz vocalist Diana Krall, longtime country-swing aggregation Asleep at the Wheel, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas (winner of three), veteran Barry White and rap newcomer Eminem.

In the contemporary pop field, the only category Santana or Sting failed to qualify for was female vocal, won by Sarah McLachlan. Tony Bennett won the traditional pop vocal award.

Along with two Santana victories, rock winners included Lenny Kravitz for male vocal, Sheryl Crow for female vocal and the Red Hot Chili Peppers for best song. Metallica triumphed in the hard-rock field, Black Sabbath won the heavy-metal nod for a new version of the classic "Iron Man," and Beck took alternative album honors.

TLC and Barry White dominated R&B, while Whitney Houston picked up the female-vocal trophy. The Roots with Erykah Badu won the one rap category (group performance) not taken home by Eminem.

The Dixie Chicks won two country awards (best album and best group vocal). George Jones won just his second-ever Grammy, for country male vocal. Shania Twain snagged the female vocal award and song of the year.

Krall, a surprise contender for album of the year, did win the jazz vocal award. In the gospel field, Stephen Curtis Chapman won the pop/contemporary album trophy, and Yolanda Adams took contemporary soul gospel honors.

B.B. King won his ninth Grammy, for traditional blues album, and Robert Cray picked up his fifth, for contemporary blues album. In folk, June Carter Cash won the traditional award, and Tom Waits, who may have been surprised to find himself in the category, was the contemporary folk victor.

Phil Collins won his seventh award, for his "Tarzan" soundtrack album.