U2 eclipse the favourites to take five Grammys

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The Independent Culture

The Irish rockers U2 stormed the Grammy Awards, America's most prestigious music honours, taking all five of the prizes for which they were nominated and eclipsing the favourites Maria Carey and Kanye West.

The band, formed in Dublin nearly 30 years ago, dominated the ceremony in Los Angeles on Wednesday night. How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb was named album of the year against competition from much-fêted rivals Carey and West as well as Paul McCartney.

"Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own" was named song of the year and U2 also scooped best rock song and best rock album, bringing their total Grammy haul over the years to 20.

"If you think this is going to go to our head, it's too late," U2's frontman Bono told music industry grandees at the star-studded ceremony, in a break from his public pleas to end world poverty. But at celebrations afterwards, the Edge, U2's guitarist, admitted the band had discussed how they would react if they did not win anything at all. "The prospect of winning all of them never entered our heads," he said. "In our wildest dreams we never imagined that we'd win everything." The band had generous words for both Carey and West who, with R&B newcomer John Legend, had topped the nominations with eight apiece. Bono told Carey, "You sing like an angel"; the Edge said West had done some "incredible work".

Carey, like West, took home three awards to commemorate what was seen as her comeback year. They were her first Grammys since being named best new artist in 1990. She went on to become one of the world's best-selling artists, only to suffer personal and professional problems and be dropped by her label.

Asked how she was faring, the revived diva insisted she was "in a really good, comfortable, happy place", but must have been disappointed to have been denied the chance to make history with the most Grammys won by a woman in a single night.

Other winners at the Grammy Awards included Green Day, whose "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" was named record of the year; John Legend, acclaimed as best new artist; and Stevie Wonder, who took the best male pop vocal performance with "From the Bottom of My Heart".

The Chemical Brothers were the most successful British act with awards for best dance song for "Galvanize" and best electronic/dance album for Push the Button against competition from Fatboy Slim among others. Gorillaz, Damon Albarn's virtual band, took the best pop collaboration with vocals award for "Feel Good Inc" featuring De La Soul.

But there was disappointment for other nominated British stars including Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand, Eric Clapton, Neil Young and the Rolling Stones.

Kelly Clarkson became the first contestant from American Idol, the US version of the British TV talent contest, to win a Grammy, beating rivals including Carey, Sheryl Crow and McCartney to take trophies for the best female pop performance and best pop vocal album with Breakaway. Clarkson thanked a long list of helpers including God, her fans and her mother, but forgot to mention the show that made her.

McCartney featured in one of the night's most intriguing performances when he sang the Beatles number "Yesterday" with the hard rock outfit Linkin Park and the rap mogul Jay-Z. "This is the first time I've ever played the Grammys. I finally passed the audition," he said.

Award winners

Record of the year: Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Green Day

Album of the year: How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, U2

Song of the year: Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, U2

Best new artist: John Legend

Best female pop vocal: Since U Been Gone, Kelly Clarkson

Best male pop vocal: From the Bottom of My Heart, Stevie Wonder

Best pop duo or group vocal: This Love, Maroon 5

Best dance song: Galvanize, Chemical Brothers

Best electronic/dance album: Push the Button, Chemical Brothers

Best rock solo performance: Devils and Dust, Bruce Springsteen

Best rock duo or group vocal: Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, U2

Best rock song: City of Blinding Lights, U2

Best rock album: How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, U2

Best alternative album: Get Behind Me Satan, The White Stripes