Keys, U2, 'O Brother' Musicians Win Big at Grammys

ByABC News

Feb. 28, 2002 -- A 21-year-old female soul singer and a bunch of bluegrass country musicians shared the spotlight with U2 at the Grammy Awards.

On the strength of her debut album, Songs in A Minor, Alicia Keys won five Grammys, including best new artist and best R & B album. Her No. 1 smash hit "Fallin'" earned the newcomer songwriting honors.

But in the biggest upset of the evening, the soundtrack to the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? beat both Keys and U2 for album of the year. The album didn't figure to get much attention, even from country radio stations. Still, the homespun songs, featuring the likes of 75-year-old banjo picker Ralph Stanley, picked up five awards.

U2 still towered over the festivities, kicking off the show with a rousing version of "Walk On," and returning to the podium for honors four times.

Keys: 'This Humbles Me'

Host Jon Stewart kicked off the show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles with a bit on metal detectors. In the wake of Sept. 11, even the top stars must stop at security checkpoints. "Remember when security was tight because Eminem was going to sing with Elton John?" Stewart quipped. "Those were the days, right?"

By the end of the evening, Keys became the second female artist to take home five awards, matching Lauren Hill's success in 1999.

"You don't know how much this humbles me," Keys said as she accepted her fifth award.

Rapper Missy Elliot, who picked up two Grammys herself, says Keys is no fluke.

"She's amazing," Elliot says. "I think she contributed and changed what we normally hear from music on the R&B side."

Country musicians sang the praise of the O Brother soundtrack — the long shot entry that won best album. Even artists who performed on the album never imagined it would get such attention.

"I thought of it more as an event and a collection of people," said Emmylou Harris. "I was even surprised it was in the [best album] category." Bono: 'Songs Change Their Meaning'

Other winners included Canadian pop singer Nelly Furtado; San Francisco rock band Train; and longtime Grammy favorites Lenny Kravitz, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton.

The evening featured 17 musical performances, including several tributes to those who suffered in the Sept. 11 attacks. Tony Bennett and Billy Joel sang "New York State of Mind." Country superstar Alan Jackson performed his new hit "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning.)"

The Lady Marmalade Girls — Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Pink, Mya and Missy Elliott — sang their hit from the Moulin Rouge. Other performances included Outkast, the Dave Matthews Band and Train.

U2's Bono said that the tragic events of the past year gave his music new meaning — even though the songs on Everything You Can't Leave Behind had been written long before Sept. 11.

"The songs do change their meaning. Music changes shape to fit the predicament it finds itself," U2's lead singer Bono said.

"This year the predicament was a very different America We've always loved coming here. But this year I've rediscovered my love of America, the great idea as opposed to the great country."

ABCNEWS Radio and's Buck Wolf contributed to this report.

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