* Music's biggest awards show to honor late Whitney Houston
* Jennifer Hudson to sing a medley of Houston's songs
* Adele takes two early awards; Foo Fighters win four
(Recasts with start of show, updates with early winners)
By Bob Tourtellotte
LOS ANGELES, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Bruce Springsteen and
the E Street Band kicked off the Grammys on Sunday night with a
rousing song even as the sudden death of pop star Whitney
Houston cast a pall over music's biggest awards.
Springsteen and the band, playing "We Take Care of Our Own,"
had the crowd of pop, rock, rap and country stars up on their
feet and clapping to the music in an effort to brighten the mood
and ready the audience for a celebration of the industry's best
Host LL Cool J took the stage and offered a prayer for
Houston, her fans and her family. "Although she is gone too
soon, we remain truly blessed by her musical spirit," he said.
Organizers then played a video of Houston performing her hit
"I Will Always Love You" from a previous Grammy show. Later in
the evening, actress and singer Jennifer Hudson, who won an
Oscar for her role in movie musical "Dreamgirls," will perform a
medley of songs in tribute to Houston who died in a Beverly
Hills hotel room on the eve of the Grammys. The cause of her
death has not been determined.
Top music stars from newcomers like Katy Perry, Rihanna and
Adele to veterans like Bruce Springsteen and the Beach Boys will
be on hand to remember Houston's life and music.
Grammy organizers give out awards in more than 75 categories
and several early winners mentioned Houston in acceptance
speeches. Singer Melanie Fiona, who won with Cee Lo Green for
traditional R&B performance for "Fool For You" said she was
inspired by Houston.
"Whitney Houston, I would not be standing up here if not for
you," Fiona said. Backstage, she told reporters her mother had
rocked her in the cradle to Houston's songs when she was a baby.
WINEHOUSE IN THE HOUSE
Perhaps the most poignant moment came when Mitch and Janis
Winehouse, parents of late singer Amy Winehouse who died of
excessive drinking in 2011, accepted the award for best pop duo
or group performance - Amy and Tony Bennett - "Body and Soul."
"Long live Whitney Houston. Long live Amy Winehouse and long
live Etta James," referring to the "At Last" singer who died
earlier this year. "There's a beautiful girl band up there."
Country singer Taylor Swift picked up two awards for her
song "Mean," about people she felt had wronged her, and Foo
Fighters picked up three Grammys in rock music categories and a
fourth for best long form music video.
DJ Skrillex won two Grammys for best dance recording and top
dance/electronica album with "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites."
British soul singer Adele, who came into the Grammys with
six nominations and was expected to be a big winner, claimed her
first Grammy for best pop vocal album with "21," and she earned
a second Grammy for best short form music video with the song,
"Rolling in the Deep."
All eyes will be on Adele in top categories such as best
album and record of the year. Moreover, she will perform in
front of a live audience for the first time since vocal cord
surgery in November 2011. Fans will be listening to hear if her
voice is back to its sultry, soulful best.
Rapper Kanye West, earned seven nominations, but was shut
out of the top categories, paving the way for Adele to be the
night's big winner - or surprise loser if she fails to overcome
West won an early award for best rap album with "My
Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy."
In the category of best album, Adele's "21" faces rockers
Foo Fighters and their hit "Wasting Light," Lady Gaga with "Born
This Way," Bruno Mars and his "Doo-Wops & Hooligans," and pop
star Rihanna with "Loud."
Adele also figures prominently among nominees for record of
the year where "Rolling in the Deep" squares off against rockers
Bon Iver and "Holocene," Bruno Mars for "Grenade," Mumford &
Sons with "The Cave," and Katy Perry for "Firework."
(Reporting By Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Stacey Joyce)
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