NEW YORK – Newcomer Norah Jones was the surprise winner of the evening at the 45th annual Grammy Awards Sunday.
The 23-year-old singer won album of the year, beating out both Bruce Springsteen and Eminem who were pegged as the main contenders for the award.
Jones also took home the statuettes for best new artist, best pop vocal album and best female pop vocal performance. Her album, Come Away With Me, earned best engineered album and producer of the year honors for Arif Mardin, during the preshow ceremony. All together, Jones and her album pulled in eight Grammys.
"I never ever thought that the music I made would be considered 'popular music,'" Jones said while accepting her award for best pop vocal, "so this is amazing."
Jones' single "Don't Know Why" earned writer Jesse Harris a song of the year award. Harris said backstage that he "thought for certain Bruce was going to win."
In fact, before Harris was announced as the winner, the crowd at Madison Square Garden in New York City shouted "Bruce!" over and over again. Despite many hits, Springsteen has never won a Grammy for song of the year.
Springsteen was favored coming into the show, for his Sept. 11-inspired album The Rising and his critically acclaimed title track. He was three-for-three in the preshow Sunday, winning for best rock album, male rock vocal and rock song. However, the Boss was shut out of every category in the televised ceremony, despite delivering perhaps the best performance of the night when he sang "The Rising."
Later, Springsteen joined Elvis Costello, Little Steven Van Zandt, Dave Grohl and Tony Kanal for a rousing tribute to Joe Strummer — a version of the Clash's "London Calling."
Jones was virtually unknown this time last year, but became one of the year's biggest sensations with her sultry hit. "I feel really blessed and really lucky," Jones said after winning the album of the year.
Country trio the Dixie Chicks took home three awards including best country album for Home, which was co-produced by member Natalie Maines' father, Lloyd.
"I want to check the record books and see how many fathers and daughters have won Grammys together," she said.
The televised ceremony opened with a reunion of Simon and Garfunkel singing their first major hit, "The Sound of Silence." The duo who with a notoriously tumultuous relationship haven't performed together in a decade.
Early in the show, Eminem won for best rap album for The Eminem Show. It’s the third time he’s won in the category.
The normally controversial rapper was surprisingly low-key during the show. Instead of offering an acceptance speech, he named rappers who inspired him, including Run-DMC, LL Cool J, Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G.
Eminem, Jones, Springsteen, Sheryl Crow, Avril Lavigne and Nelly were all nominated for a leading five Grammys apiece, along with singer-songwriter Raphael Saadiq and Ashanti. Saadiq, Crow and Ashanti all won one award in the preshow ceremony. Eminem, Coldplay, India.Arie and Nelly all won two awards.
Country singer Alan Jackson, who wrote "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" in the weeks after the terrorist attacks in 2001, won best country song.
While there was much speculation that artists would use their time on stage to give anti-war messages about the looming military action in Iraq, only a few did so.
"This war should go away as soon as possible," said Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit before giving out the best hard rock performance Grammy to the Foo Fighters.
Bonnie Raitt said, "Let's build some peace," before announcing the winner of record of the year.
And Sheryl Crow's guitar strap read "No War" while she performed. Crow caused a stir by wearing a "War Is Not the Answer" T-shirt at the American Music Awards last month.
Other winners in the televised portion of the show on CBS included No Doubt for best pop vocal performance by a group, Robin Williams for spoken comedy album and newcomer John Mayer for male pop vocal performance for his song "Your Body Is a Wonderland."
The members on ‘N Sync sang a tribute to Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees, who died last month. His brothers Barry and Robin, along with his son Adam, accepted the award.
Some veteran artists who added to their already crowded trophy cases were B.B. King won two awards, making his lifetime total 13, while Johnny Cash won his 11th and Tony Bennett his 10th.
The 45th annual awards at Madison Square Garden marked the Grammys return to New York City after a five-year absence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.