Bloomberg News

Black Keys Win 3 Grammys as Fun, Mumford Take Top Awards

February 11, 2013

Black Keys

Black Keys guitarist and singer Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney. The duo have won acclaim for their CD "El Camino." Source: Sacks & Co. via Bloomberg

The Black Keys, the duo of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney, won three Grammy awards, sweeping rock categories as the music industry honored its biggest stars.

The evening’s top honors were spread among multiple artists. Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” won record of the year. The band Fun won best new artist and song of the year for “We Are Young,” and “Babel” from Mumford & Sons won album of the year, beating out the The Black Keys’ “El Camino” yesterday at the 55th annual Grammy Awards, telecast on CBS Corp.’s network from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The Grammys offer the music industry one of its biggest audiences of the year to introduce new artists. The show drew 28.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen data provided by CBS, compared with a record 39.9 million who watched last year in the wake of singer Whitney Houston’s death. Adele Adkins’s “21” sold 730,000 copies in the week after she won six awards in 2012. Sales this year may be more evenly spread, with the rock duo getting the biggest bounce.

“The Black Keys will see a nice bump,” David Bakula, a senior vice president with Nielsen SoundScan, said in an interview. “They weren’t a household name going into the awards. The band still has a lot of room to grow and they got a big shot of momentum.”

“El Camino” won for best rock album, while The Black Keys’ “Lonely Boy” was honored as best rock song and rock performance. Auerbach, 33, also won for producer of the year.

Sales Gains

The band performed “Lonely Boy” with Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band during the broadcast. “El Camino,” released in December 2011 by Warner Music Group, received strong reviews from critics, including Bloomberg’s Mark Beech, who called it “outstanding.” The album has sold 1.13 million copies in the U.S., according to SoundScan data.

Mumford & Sons’ triumph with “Babel” prevented Auerbach and Carney from staking a more definitive claim on the night.

“We were really surprised,” Marcus Mumford told reporters backstage at the awards show on CBS Corp. (CBS:US)’s TV network. “We just thought last year was Adele’s and this year was going to be the Black Keys’.”

Several acts will see sales gains, Bakula said. He cited Mumford & Sons and Fun, purveyors of alternative indie rock.

“Album of the year always brings with it a lot of exposure, so Mumford & Sons will do very well,” Bakula said. “Fun, these guys are really good. They have a lot of potential and a bright future ahead of them.”

Fun’s song, an anthem to youth, belied the band’s longevity -- more than a decade.

‘Better Songs’

“I don’t know what I was thinking writing the chorus to this song,” said Nate Ruess, lead singer of Fun, accepting the Grammy. “This is in HD, everyone can see that we aren’t young. We have been doing this for a long time.”

Another multiple winner was pop singer Gotye, whose “Making Mirrors” won best alternative album.

“I’m very proud of it as a song and a record,” Gotye told reporters backstage. “I think I’ve written better songs and that I’ll write even better songs.”

Adele, who won her seventh Grammy for “Set Fire to the Rain” in the best pop solo performance category, told reporters backstage that she has begun meeting with songwriters for her next album. The singer will perform her theme song for the James Bond movie “Skyfall” at the Academy Awards.

“Right now I’m mostly singing lullabies to my baby,” Adele said.

Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean won best urban contemporary album for “Channel Orange.” Drake won best rap album for “Take Care,” while “N****s In Paris” -- from Kanye West and Jay-Z -- won best rap song and best rap performance. The duo also won best rap/sung collaboration for “No Church in the Wild.”

Zac Brown Band’s “Uncaged” won best country album. Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” won for best pop vocal album, while Carrie Underwood won best country solo performance for “Blown Away.”

The Robert Glasper Experiment won best R&B album for “Black Radio.” Beyonce won best traditional R&B performance for her song “Love On Top.” Usher’s “Climax” won best R&B performance. Skrillex won best dance-electronica album for “Bangarang.”

LL Cool J, the rapper-turned-actor and star of CBS’s “NCIS: Los Angeles,” returned as host of the Grammys, which featured performances by Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Jack White.

Bob Marley

Kicking off a tribute to Bob Marley, Bruno Mars sang “Locked Out of Heaven” from his second album “Unorthodox Jukebox,” and was joined on stage by Sting, Rihanna and Ziggy and Damian Marley.

Zac Brown, Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes, Mumford & Sons, Mavis Staples and Elton John performed together in a tribute to Levon Helm, drummer for The Band, who died last year. John dedicated the performance to the shooting victims of the Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut.

Artists who released records between Oct. 1, 2011, and Sept. 30, 2012, were eligible, eliminating from contention the two biggest-selling albums of 2012, Adele’s “21” and Swift’s “Red.”

Adele’s “21,” released in January 2011, has sold more than 10.3 million copies in the U.S., while Swift’s album, released Oct. 22, has sold 3.33 million copies, according to SoundScan data.

The Grammys’ audience was the second largest since 1993, following only last year’s telecast, CBS said.

CBS, owner of the most watched U.S. broadcast TV network, fell 1.5 percent to $42.21 at 1:07 p.m. in New York. The stock had climbed 44 percent in the 12 months through Feb. 8, while (CBS:US) the Standard & Poor’s 500 had advanced 12 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net


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