Two unconventional acts, French electronic music DJs Daft Punk and New Zealand teen Lorde, took home the top Grammy awards on Sunday in a night that rewarded robots and newcomers, and recognized marriage equality.
In a first for the Grammys or any big US awards show, thirty-three couples, both same-sex and straight, were married by singer Queen Latifah, to the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis gay rights anthem, Same Love.
Madonna emerged in a white suit and cowboy hat to conclude the singing ceremony with Open Your Heart.
The music industry’s glamorous gathering also saw the two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, come together for a rare joint performance coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the British group’s breakthrough on US television.
The quirky robotic duo, Daft Punk, scored the double win of Album of the Year for Random Access Memories, and Record of the Year with the summer dance hit Get Lucky, featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers.
Rodgers praised the French DJ duo for creating their electronic music album using live music recorded on to analogue tape, calling it “a labor of love.”
“The fact that they decided to put this much effort into the music and bringing in musicians, they had this incredible vision and they believed they achieved something greater by doing that,” Rodgers said backstage.
Formed in the early 1990s by Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, Daft Punk were pioneers of the electronic dance music phenomenon that has recently swept the US mainstream pop industry.
It was impossible to know what the two masked musicians thought about their big win because they choose not to speak as part of their act.
Lorde, 17, won the Grammy for Song of the Year with her breakout hit Royals, sharing the award for songwriters with Joel Little. They triumphed over the writers behind Katy Perry’s Roar and Bruno Mars’ Locked Out of Heaven, among others.
“Thank you to everyone who has let this song explode because it has been mental,” said Lorde, whose real name is Ella Yelich-O’Connor, known for a gothic esthetic that goes against the sexy, scantily clad norm of young pop artists.
The Recording Academy also anointed Seattle-based rapper-producer newcomers Macklemore & Ryan Lewis with the Grammy for Best New Artist and three other awards in rap categories.
“Before there was any media, before there was any buzz about us, before there was a story, there was our fans and it spread organically through them,” said Macklemore, whose real name is Ben Haggerty, as he accepted the Best New Artist award.
With their homage to marriage equality, the duo also presided over the biggest dramatic moment of the night, the ceremony in a cathedral-like setting, an initiative that Queen Latifah hoped would be emulated across the rap genre.
“I hope this is inspiration to all the rappers out there and hip hop artists out there that they can continue to tackle any subjects you want,” Queen Latifah, said backstage, before her power to marry in California expired at midnight.
The 56th Grammy Awards, the music industry’s top honors handed out by the Recording Academy across 82 categories, also rewarded a crop of newcomers in several genres.
Kacey Musgraves, 25, won Best Country Album with Same Trailer Different Park, while alt-rockers Imagine Dragons won Best Rock Performance for Radioactive.
“This last year has kind of just blown up,” said Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds, dusted in the red powder from the band’s high-octane performance with rapper Kendrick Lamar.
There was also 71-year-old McCartney, who teamed up with former members of grunge rock band Nirvana, including Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, to win Best Rock Song for Cut Me Some Slack.
“It was magic for me playing with these guys,” McCartney said. “I found myself in the middle of a Nirvana reunion and I was very happy.”
With McCartney at the piano and Starr at his drums on Sunday night — in a surprise reunion — the two played a new song, Queenie Eye,” a catchy tune that hearkened back to the Beatles’ trademark hits.
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around