Grammy winners run the gamut
February 27, 1997
Web posted at: 5:45 a.m. EST
From Correspondent Mark Scheerer
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The 9,000 odd Grammy voters cast their net far and wide to haul in this year's crop of winners for the 39th annual awards presentation.
Predictable winners were, well, hard to predict at the Madison Square Garden ceremony, with the Beatles, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Cissy Houston and LeAnn Rimes all taking home Grammy hardware.
But veteran Grammy winner Eric Clapton and can't-miss nominee Kenneth "Babyface" Edmunds led a small group of award regulars and sure things.
Guitar wiz Clapton performed the record of the year alongside Babyface, the producer of the year. Their song "Change the World," from the "Phenomenon" soundtrack, won Clapton best male pop vocal honors and Babyface one of his three Grammys on the night.
"That's something that I know I'll be telling my son years from now: I played on stage with Eric Clapton," marveled Babyface.
The mega-producer might also tell his son it was the night he shared the Grammy spotlight with a first lady. Mrs. Clinton won a spoken-word Grammy for "It Takes a Village," the audio version of her best-selling book.
"I didn't even know that people who couldn't sing a note and were tone deaf were eligible for any Grammys," said the first lady. "So it's a great, amazing honor for me."
Canadian chanteuse Celine Dion took home two of the most prestigious Grammys, one for album of the year and another for pop album of the year.
One of the evening's big surprises was 14-year-old LeAnn Rimes' triumph in the best new artist category, a first for a country performer. The Patsy Cline sound-alike is also the youngest country music Grammy winner.
In a nod to music excellence of a less glitzy nature, 77-year-old Pete Seeger won for best traditional folk album, while rocker Bruce Springsteen's "Ghost of Tom Joad" was judged best contemporary folk album.
Rap to bluegrass
Picking up a pair of Grammys each were Sheryl Crow, R&B songstress Toni Braxton, innovative studio sound-shaper Beck, Haitian-American rap trio Fugees and Nashville star Vince Gill, who led a bluegrass tribute to the late Bill Monroe.
Braxton, a Babyface protege, was shocked to win the best female pop vocal category, expecting the anointed Dion to prevail there also.
"Everybody, thank you, thank you. This is a surprise,"
sputtered Braxton, who regained her composure and offered some specific thanks during her turn as a presenter.
Pop maven Crow won for best rock album and best female rock vocal performance, but she got almost as much attention for a sheer, black dress that left little to the imagination.
A quartet of some repute, the Beatles, won a Grammy for their studio-constructed "reunion" song "Free as a Bird," plus two music video Grammys. The awards came 30 years after their last Grammy recognition.
Whitney Houston, nominated in two categories, did not add to her career total of five Grammys. But her mother, Cissy Houston, claimed her first Grammy, for traditional soul gospel album, "Face to Face."
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