LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant received a “whole lotta love” at the Grammy Awards Sunday, winning five prizes including album of the year for an acclaimed collaboration with bluegrass queen Alison Krauss.
The 60-year-old musician, enshrined in rock annals as the golden-haired, bare-chested singer for one of the biggest bands of the 1970s, was one of several British artists to take center stage at the music industry’s top honors.
Other compatriots included rock band Coldplay, who won three awards, including song of the year; 20-year-old rookie Adele, who won a pair including best new artist; and Welsh newcomer Duffy, who was honored for pop vocal album.
Rapper Lil Wayne, who led the field with eight nominations, ended up with four prizes, including best rap album for “Tha Carter III,” the biggest-selling U.S. release of 2008.
R&B star Chris Brown, 19, inadvertently supplied some last-minute fireworks. The two-time nominee and scheduled performer was arrested Sunday evening and charged with making criminal threats in connection with an attack on an unidentified woman widely thought to be his girlfriend, pop star Rihanna.
Grammy organizers were forced to substitute a performance by R&B icon Al Green.
Brown’s girlfriend, three-time nominee Rihanna, 20, whose involvement in the incident has not been confirmed or denied by Los Angeles police, also scrapped her planned performance.
Plant and Krauss, 37, swept all five categories in which they were also nominated. They also won record of the year for “Please Read The Letter,” a reworking of a tune Plant wrote with former Led Zeppelin bandmate Jimmy Page, and prizes in the pop, folk/Americana, and country categories.
“I‘m bewildered,” Plant said upon winning album of the year, the event’s final prize. “In the old days, we would have called this selling out, but I think it’s a good way to spend a Sunday.”
THRILLED BY ‘AMERICANA’
Backstage, Plant told reporters he was particularly thrilled to receive the folk/Americana album prize.
“I‘m so pleased to be associated with that because it’s part of the Led Zeppelin root anyway,” he said, citing the old Led Zeppelin song “Gallows Pole.”
“Raising Sand,” on which the odd couple reworked old folk ballads and R&B chestnuts, was an instant critical and commercial hit. Plant scuttled a much-rumored Led Zeppelin reunion by opting to tour Europe and America with Krauss instead.
Led Zeppelin were never honored during their active years between 1968 and 1980, the year the band broke up following the death of drummer John Bonham. Plant’s sole wins to date were for a 1990s collaboration with Page and for a “Raising Sand” tune with Krauss last year.
With 26 wins, Krauss now ties with French conductor Pierre Boulez as the third-most-honored artist in the Grammys’ 51-year-history. The only artists ahead of her are late classical conductor Sir Georg Solti with 31, and prolific producer/composer Quincy Jones with 27.
“I‘m still amazed that I get to do this for a living, and that I get to work and continue to work in an inspired way,” Krauss told reporters. “To think how spoiled I’ve really been is amazing, to be in a place ... where I am kept up at night by my work.”
Coldplay, which followed Lil Wayne with seven nominations, ended up with three Grammys. They won song of the year for “Viva La Vida,” the chart-topping hit that inspired a plagiarism lawsuit from virtuoso guitarist Joe Satriani, who claims that it rips off one of his tunes. Their haul also included best rock album for “Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends.”
Adele, a 20-year-old London native, took the best new artist award over Duffy, teen idols the Jonas Brothers, country act lady Antebellum and R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan. She won the female pop vocal prize for her tune “Chasing Pavements.”
Editing by Mary Milliken and Sandra Maler