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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Amy Winehouse was a big winner at last night's 50th Annual Grammy Awards celebration. The British singer took home five trophies. Though as NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports, she was beat out of Album of the Year by a surprise winner.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO: Amy Winehouse's troubles with alcohol and drugs have been well documented by the media. The 24-year-old tabloid celebrity built her success on her refusal to seek help.

(Soundbite of song, "Rehab")

Ms. AMY WINEHOUSE (Singer): (Singing) They tried to make me go to rehab, but I said, no, no, no.

DEL BARCO: Winehouse finally did say yeah, yeah, yeah, but she took a break from rehab to appear on the Grammys, via satellite from London. After having already won four awards, including Best New Artist, she still seemed taken aback when she won Record of the Year.

Ms. WINEHOUSE: Thank you.

DEL BARCO: Winehouse thanked her parents and her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, who is in a London lockup after a pub brawl.

(Soundbite of cheering)

Ms. WINEHOUSE: For my Blake - my Blake incarcerated, and for London. This is for London, because (unintelligible).

(Soundbite of cheering)

DEL BARCO: Winehouse is referring to one section of London that was devastated by a huge fire over the weekend.

Another singer who had been up for Album of the Year, Kanye West, led the nominations going into the awards with eight. He walked away with four, all in rap categories.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. KANYE WEST (Rapper): (Singing) This life, this here, this Grammys, all of this is all a dream and my real life, it starts when I go to sleep. Ma-ma-ma-ma-momma.

(Soundbite of applause)

DEL BARCO: West is still mourning the death of his mother, college professor Donda West, who died in November after plastic surgery. He stopped the show with his performance and he acceptance for Best Rap Album.

Mr. WEST: And just to say something about my mother. I appreciate all the support. I appreciate all the prayers. It would be in good taste to stop the music then.

DEL BARCO: West refused to leave the stage, despite the exit music.

Mr. WEST: And I know you're really proud of me right now, and I know you wouldn't want me to stop. And you want me to be the number one artist in the world. And, momma, all I'm going to do is keep making you proud. We run this.

(Soundbite of applause and cheering)

DEL BARCO: The Chicago rapper has gotten publicly petulant in the past when he didn't win Grammys. This year, a few of the award winners ribbed him about that. Among them, Vince Gill, who accepted the award for Best Country Album from Ringo Starr.

Mr. VINCE GILL (Singer): I just got an award given to me by a Beatle.

(Soundbite of laugher and applause)

Mr. GILL: Have you had that happen yet, Kanye?

(Soundbite of laughter)

DEL BARCO: Both Kanye West and Amy Winehouse were favorites to win Album of the Year, but that Grammy went to jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock for his all-star tribute to the songs of Joni Mitchell.

(Soundbite of song, "River")

Ms. CORINNE BAILEY RAE (Singer): (Singing) It's coming on Christmas. They're cutting down trees. They're putting up reindeer and singing songs of joy and peace.

DEL BARCO: The last and only time a jazz artist has won Album of the Year was in 1964, when American saxophonist Stan Getz and Brazilian guitarist and singer Joao Gilberto won for a bossa nova album.

In accepting the final Grammy of the night, Hancock thanked the recording academy for his honor.

(Soundbite of applause)

Mr. HERBIE HANCOCK (Jazz Artist): And in doing so, honor the giants upon whose shoulders I stand. Some of whom, like Miles Davis, John Coltrane…

(Soundbite of applause)

Mr. HANCOCK: …unquestionably deserved this award in the past. But this is a new day that proves that the impossible can be made possible. Yes, we can, to coin the phrase.

DEL BARCO: Yes, we can has been the mantra of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, who also won a Grammy, beating out rival Bill Clinton in the spoken word category.

Mandalit del Barco, NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: See all the winners and sample some of the year's best music at npr.org/music. And this is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

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