LOS ANGELES – Mary J. Blige, whose album "The Breakthrough" was perhaps the biggest in her career, was nominated for a leading eight Grammy Awards on Thursday, including R&B album, record and song 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.
The R&B veteran was nominated record of the year for "Be Without You" and song of the year for the same track.
"That's a beautiful thing, that I'm still going," Blige, 35, told The Associated Press. "`The Breakthrough' is about triumph, about not being a victim, but being a victor. It's about loving yourself."
Nominees for album of the year included the Dixie Chicks' "Taking the Long Way," Gnarls Barkley's "St. Elsewhere," Mayer's "Continuum," Justin Timberlake's "FutureSex/LoveSounds," and the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Stadium Arcadium."
Already a two-time Grammy winner, Timberlake, 25, said getting nominated never gets old.
"It is definitely a special thing," he said. "I look up to people like Mary, who's been doing this for way longer than me."
Corrine Bailey Rae, a silky pop-soul singer from Britain, was nominated for best new artist, but was a surprise nominee for record and song of the year for "Put Your Records On." Other nominees for record of the year were Blunt's ubiquitous ballad, "You're Beautiful," Gnarls Barkley's psychedelic groove "Crazy," and the Dixie Chicks angry "Not Ready to Make Nice."
Collecting three nominations was "brilliant," Rae said.
"It's a great end to the year, to go home for Christmas knowing my name is on a list of people I've admired for a long time," the 27-year-old told the AP. "The fact that I was on the stage with Mary J. Blige, I think it's amazing, it's hilarious. It's really a big moment, when the weirdness of all of it comes home."
Besides Rae, other nominees for best new artist included teen R&B singer Chris Brown, Imogen Heap, Blunt, and former "American Idol" winner Carrie Underwood. Gnarls Barkley, a duo of producer Danger Mouse 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.
James Blunt, who was on hand at the announcement ceremony, capped his stellar year with five nods.
Despite the unyielding popularity of "You're Beautiful," the 32-year-old singer-songwriter said getting multiple nominations was "a real surprise."
"It's a huge honor," he said. "It should be a great night."
Also getting five nominations were Mayer, Danger Mouse, Prince, producer Rick Rubin, will.i.am and composer John Williams.
Beyonce, Barkley, Timberlake and rapper T.I. were among those getting four each.
The 49th Grammy Awards are scheduled to air live on CBS from the Staples Center here on Feb. 11.