- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 7, 2006

LOS ANGELES —Mary J. Blige, whose album “The Breakthrough” was perhaps the biggest in her career, was nominated for a leading eight Grammy Awards yesterday, including album of the year. The Red Hot Chili Peppers were also multiple nominees, garnering six.

Other multiple nominees were the Dixie Chicks, British newcomer James Blunt, John Mayer, Prince, and the Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am.

Miss Blige was nominated for album of the year, record of the year for “Be Without You” and song of the year for the same track.

Other nominees for album of the year included the Dixie Chicks’ “Taking the Long Way,” Gnarls Barkley’s “St. Elsewhere,” Mr. Mayer’s “Continuum,” Justin Timberlake’s “FutureSex/LoveSounds,” and the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Stadium Arcadium.”

Corinne Bailey Rae, a silky pop-soul singer from Britain, was nominated for best new artist, but was a surprise nominee for record of the year for “Put Your Records On.” Other nominees in that category were Mr. Blunt’s ubiquitous ballad, “You’re Beautiful,” Gnarls Barkley’s psychedelic groove “Crazy,” and the Dixie Chicks’ angry “Not Ready to Make Nice.”

Besides Miss Rae, other nominees for best new artist included teen R&B; singer Chris Brown, Imogen Heap, Mr. Blunt, and former “American Idol” winner Carrie Underwood. Gnarls Barkley, a duo of producer D.J. DangerMouse and rapper/singer Cee-Lo, were surprisingly shut out. However, they did receive a total of four nominations.

The Dixie Chicks’ five nominations were a triumph for a group who weathered boycotts from the country music establishment and a drop in album sales after lead singer Natalie Maines criticized President Bush in 2003. “Taking the Long Way,” which found the trio leaning more toward rock, was still ignored by country music radio. But the defiant album still was a best-seller, and was nominated for country album of the year among its other nominations.

Besides album of the year, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ acclaimed “Stadium Arcadium” was nominated for rock album, and the song “Dani California” was nominated for best rock performance by a duo or group with vocal. “Dani California” also received a nomination in the rock song category.

Mr. Blunt, who was on hand for yesterday’s announcement ceremony, capped his stellar year with five nods.

Also getting five nominations were Mr. Mayer, D.J. DangerMouse, Prince, producer Rick Rubin, will.i.am and composer John Williams.

Beyonce, Barkley, Mr. Timberlake and rapper T.I. were among those getting four each.

Among the other nominees in major categories:

Rock Album: “Try!,” John Mayer Trio; “Highway Companion,” Tom Petty; “Broken Boy Soldiers,” The Raconteurs; “Stadium Arcadium,” Red Hot Chili Peppers; “Living With War,” Neil Young.

R&B; Album: “The Breakthrough,” Mary J. Blige; “Unpredictable,” Jamie Foxx; “Testimony: Vol. 1, Life and Relationship,” India.Arie; “3121,” Prince; “Coming Home,” Lionel Richie.

Rap Album: “Lupe Fiasco’s Food and Liquor,” Lupe Fiasco; “Release Therapy,” Ludacris; “In My Mind,” Pharrell; “Game Theory,” the Roots; “King,” T.I.

Country Album: “Taking the Long Way,” Dixie Chicks; “Like Red on a Rose,” Alan Jackson; “The Road to Here,” Little Big Town; “You Don’t Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker,” Willie Nelson; “Your Man,” Josh Turner.

Latin Pop Album: “Adentro,” Arjona; “Lo Que Trajo El Barco,” Obie Bermodez; “Individual,” Fulano; “Trozos De Mi Alma 2,” Marco Antonio Solis; “Limon Y Sal,” Julieta Venegas.

Female Pop Vocal Performance: “Ain’t No Other Man,” Christina Aguilera; “Unwritten,” Natasha Bedingfield; “You Can Close Your Eyes,” Sheryl Crow; “Stupid Girls,” Pink; “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” KT Tunstall

Male Pop Vocal Performance: “You’re Beautiful,” James Blunt; “Save Room,” John Legend; “Waiting On The World To Change,” John Mayer; “Jenny Wren,” Paul McCartney; “Bad Day,” Daniel Powter

The 49th Grammy Awards are scheduled to air live on CBS from the Staples Center in Los Angeles Feb. 11.

A complete list of nominees is available at www.grammys.com.

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