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McCartney Snubs Sting, The Boss

Paul McCartney | Carlos Santana, Sly Stone | Grammy Notes

McCartney Snubs Sting, Bruce

Paul McCartney did not like losing Best Album to U2 on Grammy night.

After James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt announced that U2's "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" had beaten McCartney's "Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard," the ex-Beatle got up and left with his very arrogant bodyguard. They weren't exactly subtle about it, either.

If he'd stayed, like everyone else, McCartney would have seen Bruce Springsteen and Sam Moore's knockout tribute to the late Wilson Pickett on "In the Midnight Hour."

The pair was joined by The Edge and Elvis Costello, with Raitt on background vocals. Unfortunately, McCartney was long gone by then.

Backstage, McCartney was pretty much at loose ends. Occasionally he'd leave his dressing room and walk up the corridor looking for a little love and attention.

On one such trip, he walked right past Sting without saying hello, at the same time giving his royal wave to excited fans in the VIP area.

As usual, McCartney continues to be the worst judge of his own material. When I told him I thought that the experimental and genius song "At the Mercy" was one of the best tracks on the album, he replied, "That's Nigel's favorite one too," referring to producer Nigel Godrich.

"I like 'Jenny Wren,'" McCartney said of one of the two least interesting tracks on the CD (the other being something about the time).

Oh well. Backstage there were several grimaces when Paul insisted on performing "Helter Skelter."

One rock star said, "Why? What an awful choice."

Indeed, only crazed killer Charles Manson could have been overjoyed to hear his favorite song. But for McCartney, the most successful living pop songwriter, the choice remains bizarre.

Maybe he thinks it's hip. Note to Paul: It's not.

Santana Not Into Sly Stone's 'Evil Ways'

Friends of the usually grounded and centered Carlos Santana noticed he was of out of sorts over Grammy weekend, and not his usual focused self.

One possible reason: all the talk about the return of Sly Stone.

Carlos' wife, Deborah, dated Sly in the 1960s before she married Santana, and wrote it about it all a couple of years ago in her excellent memoir "Space Between the Stars: My Journey to an Open Heart."

Of course, Sly's return turned out to be the freak show of all time, but the lead-up to it was like anticipating a high school reunion where you might run into your wife's ex, the football hero — only he's a weirdo now.

In "Stars," Deborah Santana writes about taking Stone to the hospital for cocaine poisoning more than 30 years ago.

Deborah's relationship with Santana was colored by her past with Stone, and she writes: "I had left Sly knowing I had not been enough. He'd needed many women, different women — certainly not me, not my upbringing, not my love of purity. He had been a pimp before Sly and the Family Stone, for god's sake! But with Carlos, I thought I'd found a soul mate, an eternal lover ..."

I wish we'd made more of this terrific book when it was first published. It's almost like a companion piece to Bebe Buell's "Rebel Heart" — lots of honesty and humor about rock's halcyon days!

Grammy Notes

Is "Young and the Restless" star Victoria Rowell seeing Jamie Foxx? Maybe so.

There was quite a commotion during the show when Foxx came offstage into the audience and planted quite a kiss on the beauteous Rowell's luscious lips.

And by the way, I've heard Rowell is just about to star in a big feature film directed by Irwin Winkler called "Home of the Brave," opposite Samuel L. Jackson and Eva Mendes. ...

Salma Hayek is producing a TV sitcom pilot for ABC called "Ugly Betty," based on a long-running Mexican soap. ...

The first lady of California, Maria Shriver, suntanned and thin, brought one of her kids and her brother Bobby Shriver backstage to look for Bruce Springsteen.

Maria waited patiently at Bruce's dressing-room door, so intensely that she missed Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney. ...

Stevie, meantime, had a full house backstage: kids, grandkids, brother Milton Hardaway, his fashion designer wife Kai Morris as well as his first wife Yolanda. They are the happiest extended family in music. ...

Queen Latifah in the Green Room backstage sent out a "Get Well" to her record producer, the famed and beloved Arif Mardin. ...

And yes, that was Joseph Jackson, Michael Jackson's father, touring the backstage dressing rooms trailed by a posse of strange-looking sycophants. ...

At the Sony BMG party, "Survivor" creator Mark Burnett and Roma Downey talked all about their impending trip to Honduras for their Operation Smile charity. They take a medical team wherever they go and provide free evaluations and reconstructive surgery to children afflicted with facial deformities. ...

Grammy old-liners are not happy that the name of Pierre Cossette, who produced the show for 30 years, was not invoked on stage once Wednesday night.

Ironically, new producer Ken Ehrlich received a shout-out from Bonnie Raitt for his smooth production, only to have a major glitch occur right afterward.

Cossette, who's been ill and could not attend this year, deserved better. The Grammys would have vanished long ago without him. ...

Congrats to music maven Jerry Inzerillo and wife Prudence. As Walter Winchell used to say, this lovely couple is "infanticipating" in mid-August. ...

Nik Ashford and Valerie Simpson, looking mah-velous on the red carpet, representing all the good things about New York and Motown. ...

Similarly, film and TV producer Suzanne dePasse of Motown fame. ...

Benny Medina looking sharp in Armani. Alicia Keys, too. ...

Someone fed a load of hooey from the Grammys to some of my gossip colleagues. I only wish they'd checked with me before running their lead item today.

The otherwise unerring Page Six was led astray on stories about Sly Stone, Mariah Carey and director Brett Ratner. Carey, contrary to the report, went straight to her party at Ron Burkle's estate following her Grammy loss and remained there until 2 a.m. I know this only because I saw her. Four hours is hardly a "drive-by." ...

As I reported yesterday, Sly Stone was strange, but did he vomit before going on stage? If he did, it must have been in private.

And when he left, Stone was accompanied — as I reported yesterday — by a phalanx of people, including yours truly, two publicists and Aerosmith's Joe Perry, plus a Grammy escort, golf-cart driver and three women who were his guests. ...

Finally, the Page reports that Ratner had a "panic attack" and caused a traffic jam in front of Burkle's home.

Brett tells me that paramedics were called because he had an allergic reaction to one of those super caffeine drinks. And that's no "bull" if you know what I mean. He was fine, however, once his heart stopped racing. "And I went home at 11 p.m.," he says. "The party was over at 2."

Second, the traffic jam, plus the cops turning off the music at Burkle's house, had nothing to do with Ratner whatsoever. The snarl-up of cars was because of the narrow roads. The music was turned off because police received around 100 calls from irate neighbors. The party was shut down because of the fire marshal and overcrowding. ...

And at Il Sole last night: Rob and Marisol Thomas celebrating their last night in the U.S. before Rob does a sold-out tour in Australia. And Jessica Simpson dining with a pal. ...