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Thursday, February 25, 1999 Published at 11:28 GMT


Lauryn's Grammy glory

Lauryn: The first rapper to win the major categories

Hip-hop diva and former Fugees vocalist Lauryn Hill has won a record breaking five Grammy awards including album of the year and best new artist.

The BBC's Peter Hunt reports: The real winner is neglected from awards
Record and song of the year, the two other closely watched categories, went to Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On, the theme song to the hit film Titanic, which has sold nine million.

Ms Hill, 23, led a female-dominated pack of winners at the ceremony, which included Madonna's first major Grammy success, as well as Sheryl Crow and Alanis Morissette.

[ image: Lady in red: Madonna opens the Grammys]
Lady in red: Madonna opens the Grammys
She won her awards for her debut album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill which has sold more than 6 million copies worldwide.

It is the first time a rap artist has won in the top categories.

British success at the awards was muted, and restricted to long-established artists. Elvis Costello won his first Grammy, picking up best pop collaboration for his song with Burt Bacharach, I Still Have That Other Girl.

Sheryl Crow: "I'm still growing as an artist"
Grammy veteran Eric Clapton had his 12th victory of the 1990s, winning male pop vocal for his song My Father's Eyes, while Jimmy Page and Robert Plant won best hard rock act for their track So High.

But Britain's younger acts did poorly - The Verve, Propellerheads, Radiohead, Oasis and Garbage - fronted by Scottish singer Shirley Manson - all lost out, as did Culture Club singer-turned-club DJ Boy George.

'This is crazy'

Lauryn Hill's trophy haul broke Carole King's record for the most Grammys given to a female artist, which she set in 1971 after scooping four awards for Tapestry.

Madonna: "It was worth the wait"
"This is so amazing... this is crazy because it's hip-hop music," said Ms Hill, who read a passage from the Bible and thanked her children for "not spilling anything on mommy's outfit".

She also won best rhythm and blues album and her hit Doo Wop (That Thing) won best R&B song and vocal performance.

Triple win for Madonna

[ image: Will Smith took  best rap song]
Will Smith took best rap song
Madonna, who has only managed one minor Grammy in her 15-year career, won three awards, including best pop album for her album Ray of Light.

Other women winners included country-pop sensation Shania Twain named best female country vocal performer.

She and her husband, Robert John "Mutt" Lange, also won the country song writing award for You're Still the One.

"If you look around you in the world today, all professions have women rising to the top. Music is no exception," she said.

The men who made it

Among the men who got a look-in was actor-rapper Will Smith who took the best rap song for his Gettin' Jiggy Wit It.

Will Smith: "I thought the odds were against me"
Lenny Kravitz won male rock vocal for Fly Away with Alanis Morisette's Uninvited scooping the award in the female category.

Best male R&B performance went to Stevie Wonder for St. Louis Blues.

'A new era'

The 41st Grammys, which were held at Los Angeles' Shine Auditorium, honour the best across the US music industry, with a bewildering 95 categories - everything down to Best Polka Album and Best Album Notes.

Clive Myrie in Los Angeles: "A good night for female performers"
Before the ceremony, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences president Michael Greene pointed out that nine out of 10 album and record contenders were women.

''This shows the good ol' boy club that had been dominant for so long is gone. We're in a different era," he added.

Jamie Theakston presents highlights of the Grammys in a special programme on Saturday 27 February, starting at 2345 GMT on BBC One.

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