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LL Cool J To Host 58th GRAMMY Awards
LL Cool J

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LL Cool J To Host 58th GRAMMY Awards

Two-time GRAMMY winner set to host Music's Biggest Night for the fifth consecutive year

GRAMMYs/Dec 16, 2015 - 07:30 pm

Two-time GRAMMY winner LL Cool J is set to return as host of the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards, marking his fifth consecutive year as host of Music's Biggest Night. Over the years, LL Cool J has presided over 10 GRAMMY shows, tributes and specials, and served as a producer for "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music's Biggest Night" and the "A Very GRAMMY Christmas" holiday special.

"We are delighted to welcome back the very talented LL Cool J as our host for the 58th GRAMMYs," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "His unique expertise, both as a GRAMMY-winning recording artist and accomplished actor, allows him to connect with both his musical peers and the fans at home, and his dynamic personality and charismatic energy set the perfect tone for our show."

"The performances and moments that take place on the GRAMMY stage are awesome in so many ways for the audience and artists alike," said LL Cool J. "I'm honored once again to host Music's Biggest Night as we celebrate the talented music creators of today. It's going to be an incredible night and I'm excited to share this experience with the world." 

The 58th GRAMMY Awards are produced by AEG Ehrlich Ventures for The Recording Academy. Ken Ehrlich is executive producer, Louis J. Horvitz is director, and David Wild and Ehrlich are the writers.

Music's Biggest Night will take place on Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, at Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast live on CBS from 8–11:30 p.m. (ET/PT).

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Jon Stewart to LL Cool J: Who has hosted the GRAMMYs?

From Andy Williams and Whoopi Goldberg to Jon Stewart and LL Cool J, GRAMMY hosts have been a varied cast

GRAMMYs/May 15, 2017 - 01:36 pm

When LL Cool J takes the stage to open the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards, nobody's going to question his hosting credentials. The two-time GRAMMY-winning rapper, also star of "NCIS: Los Angeles," is a multiplatform dynamo. Plus he's experienced — he led last year's GRAMMY extravaganza at Staples Center.

The producers of Music's Biggest Night haven't always relied on the kind of superstar who can swing deftly from a concert stage to a TV set to shepherd millions of viewers through the telecast, though. Before LL Cool J got the nod in 2012, the GRAMMYs went hostless for several years. And before that — from the first nontelevised ceremony in 1959, with political comedian Mort Sahl, to 2005, when GRAMMY winner Queen Latifah was at the helm — an assortment of talents have played the role of GRAMMY host.

If they have anything in common, it may be along the lines of what a combined 50-plus years of Record and Song Of The Year awards share: they're all hugely recognizable. And more than a little influential.

Hosts, like the winning recordings, have been notable for the way they engaged (Paul Simon, host at the 23rd GRAMMY Awards in 1981, performed his relentlessly catchy "Late In The Evening"), or for the doses of poignancy they brought to the proceedings (just last year at the 54th GRAMMY Awards, LL Cool J led a prayer for the late Whitney Houston). Some captured the zeitgeist and, like certain songs, will go down in GRAMMY history for catching people off guard.   

Take Jon Stewart.

Stewart, along with Garry Shandling and Paul Reiser before him, fits the category of GRAMMY comedian hosts, an era that spans from 1987, when Billy Crystal began his three-year run, to 2002, when Stewart hosted for a second year. Stewart's entrance onto the 44th Annual GRAMMY stage on Feb. 27, 2002, was less than grand: At the end of an opening skit in which he tussled with a pretend airportlike security team – a riff on the pumped-up security measures that swept the country soon after Sept. 11 — he was stripped, forcibly, down to his boxers.

Because the GRAMMYs are well-versed in the ways of rock stars, their fashion sense included, the show is only nominally a black-tie event (at least since the mid-'60s, when, pre-televised, it was held in hotel ballrooms on both coasts). Boxers only, though, was a bolder-than-usual fashion statement.

At times, GRAMMY hosts such as Kelsey Grammer have been caught off guard. The TV actor, who hosted the 40th annual show in 1998, had to figure out what to make of the shirtless stage crasher who forever will be known as "Soy Bomb" because of those same two words, inexplicably painted across his bare chest. Soy Bomb, neé Michael Portnoy, memorably interrupted Bob Dylan's performance of "Love Sick," from his Album Of The Year-winning Time Out Of Mind, that night. Grammer — though he played a psychologist on TV at the time — was as confused by the stunt as everyone else.

Before comedy became a staple at GRAMMY telecasts, hosts were tapped for their own musical accomplishments. Andy Williams, a '60s superstar for indelible hits such as "Moon River" as well as his two TV variety series, hosted the first seven live shows, starting in 1971 with the 13th Annual GRAMMY Awards.

In 1978, for the 20th Annual GRAMMY Awards, Williams gave way to John Denver, then in his recording prime. Like Williams, Denver went on to become a regular — he hosted five more times, winding up his tenure in 1985. But his run was not without interruptions. Country star Kenny Rogers hosted in 1980, at the 22nd Annual GRAMMY Awards, and went on to host again six years later. Denver also put his hosting duties on hiatus in 1981, at the 23rd Annual GRAMMYs, when Simon signed on.

Williams is the only one of those early musical chart-toppers not to have won a GRAMMY himself, though he was nominated several times. In all, since the first broadcast, seven hosts have won GRAMMYs. Besides Denver, Rogers and Simon, Stewart won Best Comedy Album for 2004's The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Presents … America: A Citizens Guide To Democracy Inaction and Best Spoken Word Album for his 2010 release The Daily With Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Audiobook); Whoopi Goldberg, who hosted the 34th Annual GRAMMYs in 1992, during the comedian-as-host phase and won for Best Comedy Recording for her 1985 album Whoopi Goldberg — Original Broadway Show Recording; Queen Latifah, who hosted in 2005 and won Best Rap Solo Performance in 1994 for "U.N.I.T.Y."; and current host LL Cool J, who won Best Rap Solo Performance in 1991 for "Mama Said Knock You Out" and in 1996 for "Hey Lover." DeGeneres is vying to become the eighth with a current 55th GRAMMY nomination for Best Spoken Word Album. Simon has given the most acceptance speeches — he's won 16 GRAMMYs.

While GRAMMY hosts have a knack for scoring GRAMMYs themselves, that isn't the only thing connecting them, achievement-wise. Several have gone on to host other awards broadcasts, too — most notably Crystal, who has hosted the Academy Awards a whopping nine times. Goldberg and Stewart have also been Oscar hosts, though, and so has DeGeneres, who hosted the 38th and 39th Annual GRAMMYs in 1996 and 1997, respectively. Rosie O'Donnell — another veteran of the era of comedic GRAMMY hosts for her 1999–2000 stint — has been a regular host of the Tony Awards. And Queen Latifah has helmed the People's Choice Awards and the BET Awards.

No matter what they went on to do, or how many stages they won awards on themselves, each has proved an essential, memorable part of Music's Biggest Night. 

(Tammy La Gorce is a freelance writer whose work appears regularly in The New York Times, and on All Music Guide and Amazon.com.)

Everyone's A VIP At Clive Davis' Pre-GRAMMY Gala: From Travis Scott To Jimmy Jam To Brandi Carlile

Travis Scott

Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

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Everyone's A VIP At Clive Davis' Pre-GRAMMY Gala: From Travis Scott To Jimmy Jam To Brandi Carlile

Pass through the velvet rope at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles for an exclusive look at the star-studded 2019 Pre-GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons

GRAMMYs/Feb 11, 2019 - 12:27 am

On Feb. 9, on the eve of Music's Biggest Night, the 61st GRAMMY Awards, artists from across genres and decades gathered at the glitzy Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. for the 2019 Pre-GRAMMY Salute To Industry Icons.

Less than 24 hours before the big red carpet walk today, the likes of current GRAMMY nominees Ella Mai, Dua Lipa, Diplo, Shaggy, Alice Cooper and Weird Al Yankovich, and GRAMMY winners Melissa Etheridge and Quincy Jones, brought their vibrant energy and killer looks at the annual celebration hosted by the Recording Academy and Clive Davis. Onlookers tried to spy the glam looks on the red carpet as they peered into the hotel's glass—we'll let you past the velvet rope and walk it with us as at this exclusive music industry event.

Dua Lipa & Ellie Goulding | Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images

This year's who's-who of music gala celebrated iconic industry veteran Clarence Avant, known as the Godfather Of Black Music, as the honoree of the evening. Like event host and fellow legend Davis, he helped launch the careers of many great artists, working with the likes of GRAMMY-winning greats Bill Withers, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis of The Time.

The video celebrating Avant had countless heroes such as Former President Barack Obama, Jones, Diddy and JAY-Z sharing how much they love Avant, the powerful impact he's made on their lives and music, and how he always knows the right thing to say. Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow introduced him with a fitting complement, and a huge one given the company they were in: "You're the ultimate music person." The Time properly brought the funk on stage to celebrate Avant with a performance of their '80s hits "The Bird" and "Jungle Love," dancing as if no time had passed.

Current GRAMMY nominee Travis Scott set the mood opening the evening's performances with "Goosebumps" and "Sicko Mode," while sisters and fellow nominees Chloe x Halle brought home a rousing cover of the late GRAMMY-winning Queen Of Soul Aretha Franklin's "Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves." Brandi Carlile, another current GRAMMY nominee, returned to the stage to join the duo, along with past nominee Valerie Simpson and Broadway star Keala Settle, ending the evening on quite the high note.

Chloe x Halle | Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

Other musical guests for the evening included current nominees Bebe Rexha, Florida Georgia Line and H.E.R., along with past nominees Jazmine Sullivan and Ledisi, plus GRAMMY winner Rob Thomas. Sullivan and Thomas offered a powerful duet, belting out Aretha and George Michael's "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)."

As the evening rolled on, Davis made sure to highlight all the countless legends in the room, as the crowd continuously burst into applause and often up on their feet to celebrate the likes of music greats Barbara Streisand, George Clinton and Dionne Warwick, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Apple's Tim Cook and even former-L.A. Lakers star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Don't forget to tune in to the 2019 GRAMMYs live from Staples Center today. Start with the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony at 12:30 p.m. PST/3:30 ET, then follow us to the red carpet at 2:00 p.m. PST/5:00 p.m. ET—both will be live streamed right here on right here on GRAMMY.com.

Then the moment you've all been waiting for, the 61st GRAMMY Awards, hosted by 15-time GRAMMY winner Alicia Keys, will air live at 5:00 p.m. PST/8:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. CT on CBS.

GRAMMY Nominees In Their Own Words: Brandi Carlile, H.E.R., Shawn Mendes, Janelle Monaé & More

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Chris Brown Tops Hip Hop Awards, Adele Leads AMA Nods

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

Chris Brown Tops Hip Hop Awards, Adele Leads AMA Nods
GRAMMY-nominated artist Chris Brown was the top winner at the BET Hip Hop Awards 2011 on Oct. 11 in Atlanta, garnering four awards for Best Hip Hop Video, Perfect Combo Award, Best Featured Verse, and the People's Champ Award for "Look At Me Now" featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes. Wiz Khalifa, Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj followed with two awards each, including Rookie of the Year, Lyricist of the Year and MVP of the Year, respectively. Additional winners included Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Kanye West, and Hype Williams, among others. In related awards news, nominations for the 2011 American Music Awards were announced today with GRAMMY winner Adele in the lead with four nominations for Pop or Rock Music: Favorite Female Artist, Artist of the Year, Adult Contemporary Music: Favorite Artist, and Pop or Rock Music: Favorite Album for 21. Additional artists garnering nominations were Lady Gaga, Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Taylor Swift, among others. The awards will take place Nov. 20 in Los Angeles. (10/12)

Scotty McCreery Sets Billboard 200 Record
"American Idol" winner Scotty McCreery's Clear As Day debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 197,000 units sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan, marking the first time a country artist has debuted at the top with their first studio album. At 18, McCreery is also the youngest male artist to premiere at No. 1 with a debut release since Omario debuted at No. 1 with O at age 20 in 2005. Overall album sales for the week ending Oct. 9 totaled 5.1 million units, up 5 percent from the comparable sales week last year. Year-to-date album sales are at 233.6 million, up 3 percent compared to the same point last year and the 20th consecutive week that album sales have been greater than the same period in the prior year. (10/12)

View From The (GRAMMY) Pit
Glen Campbell

Photo: The Recording Academy

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View From The (GRAMMY) Pit

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

By Chuck Crisafulli

There's got to be no finer feeling for an artist than being up on the GRAMMY stage as a presenter, performer or winner on Music's Biggest Night. But if you don't quite have the chops to be up on the stage, maybe the next best thing is to be inside the stage — that is, within the happy frenzy of the GRAMMY mosh pit. Tonight, about 200 or so lucky souls had arguably the best seat in the house (including me, though the trade-off is that moshers never sit) — it would be harder for an audience member to get any closer to the stars without security being notified.

Tonight, the pit crew was buzzing even before the show began as moshers also had an exceptional vantage point for watching VIPs take their seats. Adele, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry seemed to create the biggest stir, though the appearance of Coldplay also brought hoots and hollers (and the question, "Where's Gwyneth?").

After Bruce Springsteen got the evening started with a blistering new tune "We Take Care Of Our Own," and Bruno Mars kicked things up a very suave notch with "Runaway Baby," the pit quickly got to the appropriate GRAMMY level of excitement. Chris Brown’s "Turn Up The Music/Beautiful People" medley and Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson’s "Don't You Wanna Stay" had the pit crew contentedly waving hands in the air and dancing in place, but things really broke loose during the first GRAMMY one-of-a-kind performance teaming Rihanna and Coldplay in a mini-set that ended with a blazing "Paradise."

"That's unbelievable," one mosher commented loudly as the show went to break, and the pit quickly seconded her. More one-of-kind moments kept that pit energy high — the reunion of the Beach Boys, who performed with Maroon 5 and Foster The People; Carrie Underwood’s duet with Tony Bennett; and perhaps the most anticipated performance of the night, Adele's return to the GRAMMY stage. All performers and winners had their fans in the pit, but everyone seemed to be united in rooting for Adele. When she won her second GRAMMY of the night and told the crowd, "This is ridiculous," the pit responded by shouting, "No it isn't!"

Another bonus of the evening for the pit people was a series of even closer interactions with artists. Host LL Cool J fist-bumped moshers whenever he had the chance, Sir Paul McCartney high-fived a lucky few, members of the Band Perry wanted to know what after-party moshers were going to, and Drake made himself at home right down in the pit in preparation for his presentation of Nicki Minaj's incredibly theatrical performance. Moshers even helped a clearly distraught Jennifer Hudson down the stage stairs after her stops-out performance of "I Will Always Love You" in tribute to Whitney Houston.

While Houston's death was still fresh news, and was acknowledged by many of those on the GRAMMY stage tonight, LL Cool J had set the tone early on by saying that while the loss of Houston was "a death in the family" the best way to handle that loss was through a celebration of music. By the time Sir Paul closed out the show with the medley from side two (in vinyl speak) of Abbey Road, that celebration was truly epic. Joined onstage by Bruce Springsteen, Joe Walsh and Dave Grohl, McCartney and his band brought the show to an explosive close that really did demonstrate — to those in the pit and far beyond — the power of music.

As the time came for the moshers to leave the pit and return to real life, one said, "It was pretty amazing just to be here and be a part of things. But the music made it awesome."