Thursday, February 09, 2006

'A big, big night for our band.', 08.02.2006

'A big, big night for our band.'

What a night at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles as U2 take Song of the Year, Album of the Year and Best Rock Album, sweeping the board in all five categories in which they are nominated.

A year after the band won three awards for Vertigo, the first single from How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, tonight the album itself and the next two singles stole the show.

City of Blinding Lights won Best Rock Song while Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own took Best Vocal Rock Performance.

'I don't know what to say,' said Bono, on one of several trips to the stage. 'This is really a big, big night for our band.'

Edge said it was 'amazing' to be accepting the best rock album award.
'It means a hell of a lot to us. An even more precious gift than the awards is the gift that you've all afforded us to continue to make our music.'

The awards mean U2 have now won twenty one Grammys but this was the first time since 1988 and The Joshua Tree that they have won Album of the Year.

'If you think this is gonna go to our head - too late,' Bono joked, after accepting the award for Song of the Year for Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own, which he dedicated to his late father Bob Hewson.

'How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb is an odd title for album,' he mused. 'We accept that. Actually I was talking about my father Bob. He was the atomic bomb in question. I wanna thank my father Bob for giving me the voice and a bit of attitude to use it ...'

Other winners included Maria Carey, Kanye West and John Legend who won three awards each, while Chemical Brothers also bagged a couple.

Adam took the opportunity to thank the producers of 'Bomb' and it was appropriate that Steve Lillywhite could join them on stage. Steve also went home with a prize - Producer (nonclassical) of the Year for his work on 'Bomb' and Jason Mraz's 'Mr. A-Z'


February 9, 2006



(February 9, 2006 - New York, NY) Performer and songwriter Mariah Carey returns to the arms of Grammy, winning awards last night for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song for "We Belong Together," and Best Contemporary R&B Album for The Emancipation Of Mimi.

"This is a momentous and well-deserved confirmation of Mariah's artistry and devotion to her music," said Antonio "L.A." Reid, Chairman, Island Def Jam Music Group. Mariah's appearance at the Grammy Awards worldwide broadcast was highlighted by a stirring live performance of "We Belong Together," with full gospel church choir.

The Emancipation Of Mimi, named the biggest-selling album of 2005, generated an all-time career-high 8 Grammy nominations for Mariah. The album includes Mariah's 16th and 17th #1 career singles, "We Belong Together" and "Don't Forget About Us," respectively - which tied one of the most enduring chart records in Billboard Hot 100 history, Elvis Presley's 17 #1's. Mariah is now positioned as the only active recording artist in the 47 years of the Hot 100 (which began in 1958) with the potential to match or surpass the Beatles' all-time high 20 #1 hits.

The Grammy triumph caps an extraordinary season of awards for Mariah, which began in November with the 33rd annual American Music Awards, where was voted Favorite Soul/Rhythm & Blues Female Artist by the 20,000 record-buyers whose votes determine the winners. At the 3rd annual VIBE Awards (on UPN), Mariah led the pack for a single album with four wins generated by The Emancipation of Mimi: Artist Of The Year, Album Of The Year, R&B Voice Of The Year, and Best R&B Song for "We Belong Together."

Three weeks later at the 2005 Billboard Music Awards, Mariah she was named Top R&B Singles Artist - Female, Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artist - Female, Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Artist - Female, and Top Overall Albums Artist - Female, with "We Belong Together" named the #1 Hot 100 Single Of the Year. Later in December, at the annual Radio Music Awards broadcast live on NBC from Las Vegas, Mariah was honored with the Legend Award and was named Artist of the Year/Urban and Rhythmic Radio, in addition to "We Belong Together" winning both Song of the Year/Main Stream Hit Radio and Song of the Year/Urban and Rhythmic Radio.

In its 43rd week on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, The Emancipation Of Mimi has sold more than 8 million copies worldwide, bringing Mariah's career sales over 160 million units worldwide. ULTRA PLATINUM EDITION (which arrived in stores November 15th), the expanded new configuration of the album, recaps all 14 tracks on Mimi and adds four new tracks: "Don't Forget About Us," #1 most-added at Pop, Rhythm and Urban radio formats as it moves to the top of the charts; "So Lonely (One and Only Part 2)," Mariah's collaboration with Twista (with a new extra verse written by Mariah); the remix of "We Belong Together" featuring Jadakiss and Styles P. (previously only available digitally online); and "Making It Last All Night (What It Do)," featuring Jermaine Dupri.

ULTRA PLATINUM EDITION is also available as a special deluxe limited edition two-disc (CD + DVD) package. The exclusive DVD contains full-length video clips for "It's Like That," "We Belong Together," "Shake It Off," and "Get Your Number" (featuring Jermaine Dupri, making its U.S. debut here); a never-before-seen interview - "Mariah: In Her Own Words," plus a link to access the brand new video for "Don't Forget About Us."

U2 Wins Five GRAMMY Awards, February 8, 2006

U2 Wins Five GRAMMY Awards
February 8, 2006

Green Day wins Record Of The Year, John Legend is Best New Artist at 48th Annual Telecast

In a GRAMMY show packed wall-to-wall with music and the usual anticipation of award winners, this year's Album Of The Year award went to U2 for How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, Green Day earned Record Of The Year for "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams," and John Legend won Best New Artist. But GRAMMY Awards were spread among a number of deserving artists during the 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards Wednesday night in Los Angeles.

Mariah Carey, John Legend and Kanye West all went into the night with eight nominations apiece, and all three took hardware home. But U2 emerged the big winner with five GRAMMYs while Carey, Alison Krauss, Legend and West won three each.

This GRAMMY show also boasted more music performances than any in the telecast's storied history. It started with a unique pairing, and ended with a musical nod to a troubled city.

Opening the show like a cartoon in overdrive, Gorillaz appeared in animated 3D glory performing their song, "Feel Good Inc." The "band" was soon joined by De La Soul, then the ultimate treat, a holographic Material Girl rising from the stage. Pulsing and gyrating in fine form, the real Madonna then sang her hit "Hung Up" surrounded by a team of elastic dancers.

Coldplay blasted into "Talk" with all the epic energy and rock grandeur that has marked their career. Under a blare of white lights, Chris Martin and co., decked out in dark jackets and blue jeans, created a classic big rock moment as Martin displayed his trademark stage dancing and eventually left to prance through the crowd.

Soul crooner extraordinaire John Legend brought pure magnificence to "Ordinary People," the lovely Brazilian-tinged ballad from his album, Get Lifted . Shot in a noir -themed black-and-white haze, and surrounded by a sweeping 10-piece string section, Legend's elegant delivery and smoldering singing was powerful and emotive.

Now a country duo , Sugarland kicked it hard and hot with "Something More," proving that two can do what three used to do, and then some. The Atlanta natives showed their natural power.

Blasting their hit "Vertigo" like a jet engine on takeoff, U2 turned the expansive Staples Center into a small club with Bono's soaring vocals and The Edge's shimmering guitar fusillades. The band closed the song with a brief reference to The Beatles' "She Loves You" before edging into the familiar guitar refrains of "One." Joined by the Queen of the 411, Mary J. Blige (who was dressed in a flowing gauzy top and skin tight satin pants), U2 turned from Irish rock power merchants to a super soul backing band. With Blige and Bono trading verses, the song rose in power, culminating in the singers holding hands aloft as the word "One" appeared in multiple languages on screens above the stage.

Still emotional from winning the GRAMMY for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Kelly Clarkson delivered "Because Of You" with all the precision and intensity that made her the first-ever "American Idol" winner. The phenomenon increased her glorious night with her first-ever GRAMMY performance with the aid of a live string section.

Making his first GRAMMY stage performance, former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney treated the audience to a taste of one of his popular live performances, beginning with Macca seated at the piano for "Fine Line," followed by the Beatles' classic "Helter Skelter." Taking up his familiar Hofner bass, Sir Paul stated, "I finally passed the [GRAMMY] audition, so I want to rock now."

Lifted up by a brass section, the 30-member strong Hezekiah Walker & Love Fellowship Choir and Pastor Clarence Keaton, Mariah Carey provided one of the evening's most powerful performances. Her flowing blond tresses draping her white-cloaked frame, Carey sang "We Belong Together" and "Fly Like A Bird" like they were the most important moments of her life. Bringing that old-time religion to a 21st century venue, Carey raised the roof with her amazing vocal skills.

Aussie super guitar slinger Keith Urban sang his "You'll Think Of Me" from high atop a glass perch, banging his guitar and singing with an impassioned soulfulness. Wearing a simple T-shirt and jeans, this Everyman raised his fist high in the air before Faith Hill entered stage left. Accompanied by Urban's fire-breathing electric axe and her own acoustic strumming, Hill's "The Lucky One" joined homespun appeal to his rough 'n ready power, the duo creating an unlikely alliance of pan global country royalty.

In a world where contemporary R&B and rap pay tacit homage to old-school soul and funk through sampling and covers, the GRAMMYs honored one of the godfathers of funk with an ensemble tribute to Sly Stone. Joss Stone, Legend and Van Hunt vamped on a straight-up version of "Family Affair." Devin Lima and Fantasia followed with a zesty rendition of "If You Want Me To Stay," with Maroon 5 and a sultry Ciara crooning a joyously anthemic "Everyday People." The Black Eyed Peas' Will.I.Am nearly stole the tribute with his loose-limbed, stage-covering performance of "Dance To The Music," complete with feverish rapping and some amazing footwork. Not to be outdone, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry blasted through "I Want To Take You Higher" with the help of steel guitar wonder Robert Randolph. With the band and crowd primed, Sly Stone entered the proceedings dressed in an alien-like silver jacket and sporting a tremendous two-foot-high blonde Mohawk, leading the entire ensemble. When he exited the stage, the funk master had truly left the building

Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter and Linkin Park's "Numb/Encore" saluted the melding of rock and rap celebrated by producer Danger Mouse's infamous Grey Album — which mashed up the Beatles' "White Album" and Jay-Z's Black Album — when McCartney entered stage right singing "Yesterday" over the track's bouncing hip-hop beat to the crowd's delight.

Displaying the power of simplicity, Bruce Springsteen sang "Devils & Dust" like a man haunted. Strumming his acoustic guitar with an almost punk-like power and bathed in a haze of white light, Springsteen seemed to grit his teeth as he sang this song of one man's unyielding faith, ending the impassioned song with yet another simple plea: "Bring 'em home."

Kanye West and Jamie Foxx reprised the Record Of The Year-nominated "Gold Digger" like two court jesters run amok. Beginning in the audience accompanied by a full marching band with West dressed in white and Foxx in red, the pair soon had the joint jumping with song's irresistible marching cadences and hilarious pleas.

Jazz piano master Herbie Hancock utilized the amazing vocals of Christina Aquilera on Leon Russell's "A Song For You" in an incredible display of improvisational prowess. Looking like Jean Harlow in her form-fitting, floor-length silver dress and flowing blond hair, Aquilera proved she can practically sing anything, matching the jazz piano giant note for note.

Finally, the stars came out in full force for the emotional close to the night's show, a tribute to troubled New Orleans . Elvis Costello, The Edge, Bonnie Raitt, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, and Yolanda Adams made Toussaint's "Yes We Can Can" roll off the stage like a Mardi Gras march as everyone in the audience joined in clapping. As soon as that song finished, Bruce Springsteen and Sam Moore (the latter of soul legends Sam and Dave) came on stage for a spirited rendition of Wilson Pickett's famous "In The Midnight Hour" (Pickett died in January.) The tribute was a fitting musical salute given the work that The Recording Academy's MusiCares Foundation has done for musician victims of Hurricane Katrina, and a memorable coda for the show.

Read Recording Academy President Neil Portnow's telecast remarks here.

Monday, February 06, 2006

SUPERBOWL XL, Pittsburgh 21, Seattle 10. - Feb. 5, 2006

I just saw Superbowl XL last night. For me it wasn't as big as the last year game.
But Well, It's Superbowl.

Major reward for sticking with right man

By Vic Carucci
National Editor,

DETROIT (Feb. 5, 2006) -- It's called the Vince Lombardi Trophy, symbolic of the championship of the NFL, but on this night it served as the most emphatic endorsement ever for coaching continuity.

That's because when this night ended, the trophy rested in the hands of Bill Cowher, who has the longest tenure with the same team of any coach in the league.

Before Super Bowl XL, that was viewed as more of a testament to the remarkable patience of Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney than of any particularly great skill Cowher might have with Xs and Os and everything else that goes into the guiding of a football team. In recent years, there have been more than a few suggestions on the talk-radio airwaves and the sports pages in Pittsburgh that Steeler followers were getting a bit tired of staring at that same granite-like face, with the mustache and prominent chin, on the sidelines. After all, he lost the only Super Bowl he was in, and that was 10 years ago. And he had suffered all of those embarrassing home losses in the AFC Championship Game.

Other than longevity, what was so special about Bill Cowher? Why not just do what so many other teams in the NFL have found so easy to do and get a new coach?

Pittsburgh 21, Seattle 10.

That's why.

"That's what he brought me here to do," Cowher said. "It really does complete a void that's been there."

It never had anything to do with Rooney being more patient than other NFL owners who have made one or more of the 93 coaching changes that have occurred since Cowher took over the Steelers in 1992. It wasn't about Rooney being too strong-willed to give into the urge of making a move or being too soft or ambivalent to do so.

It was simply this: Rooney had the right guy, and he knew it. He didn't care if anyone else disagreed.

"He's what's right about the National Football League," Cowher said of his boss. "I'm very fortunate to work for him. He makes you work as hard as you can to succeed."

Cowher was, in fact, too good a coach to be subjected to any sort of legitimate questions about whether he should remain at the Steelers' helm. And his team confirmed as much in Super Bowl XL.

Actually, it had confirmed as much by battling its way into the postseason as the No. 6 seed in the AFC, and proceeding to win three consecutive road games to reach the Super Bowl. The Steelers won those games with an explosive offense, led by Ben Roethlisberger, and their tough, big-play, blitz-happy defense.

But Cowher's coaching was every bit as large a factor. Someone has to lead. Someone has to convince everyone in the locker room that the mountain can be climbed, that obstacles can be cleared, that the impossible is possible. Cowher did that.

Now, finally, he has a Super Bowl victory to show for it.

There wasn't a single spectacular player for the Steelers in Super Bowl XL. Hines Ward was as good a choice as any for the Most Valuable Player award, but this was a victory that belonged to the entire Pittsburgh team. And, like the path Pittsburgh followed to get here, it wasn't nearly as easy as the score indicated. The Steelers had to overcome a sloppy first half on offense, as well as some defensive lapses. They had to settle down and calm their nerves -- especially Roethlisberger, who wound up throwing two interceptions.

"This was probably the most nervous I've been before any professional football game," the quarterback admitted afterward.

Cowher restored order. He got his team to play better and with greater poise in the second half.

That, alone, would have been enough to allow the Steelers to win. But Cowher also did what the best coaches do to win a championship game by taking risks, by not relying on a safe and conservative approach. The most daring move was a pass off of a reverse that resulted in a 43-yard touchdown to put the game away for the Steelers. It started with Roethlisberger pitching to Willie Parker, who handed the ball to receiver/quarterback Antwaan Randle El running from the opposite direction and then stopping to throw to Ward for the score to make it 21-10. Ken Whisenhunt, the Steelers' offensive coordinator, thrives on such creative scheming, but Cowher is the one who must sign off on such calls.

Ditto for having Roethlisberger keep the ball to dive one yard for the game's first touchdown after Jerome Bettis came up short on two runs from the doorstep of the goal line.

As Cowher said after the game, he is as proud as anyone of the Steelers' Super Bowl dynasty of the 1970s. But now there is a new Steeler team, in a new era, to be able to call itself a world champion.

The common thread between those clubs is stability. They have been guided by the only two coaches the Steelers have had in the last 37 years -- Chuck Noll and Cowher.

Noll, who is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was never one to hog all of the glory, even though so much of it went his way. Cowher took the same approach after holding the Lombardi Trophy and then handing it right back to Rooney.

"This is a special group of coaches, a special group of players," he said. "I was one small part of this. We have a special organization. It starts at the top."

That's where you'll find an owner who knew he had the right man all along.