Dixie Chicks Big Winners At The Grammys
A 'Nice' night for the Dixie Chicks
POSTED: 5:10 a.m. EST, February 12, 2007
• Dixie Chicks have album, song, record of year
• Red Hot Chili Peppers earn four awards
• Carrie Underwood is best new artist
• Mary J. Blige wins best R&B performance, album, song
By Todd Leopold
(CNN) -- The Dixie Chicks sang "Not Ready to Make Nice," but the Grammy Awards were certainly ready to make them winners, honoring the trio with five awards Sunday night.
The Chicks, who ignited controversy four years ago when lead singer Natalie Maines criticized President Bush on the eve of the Iraq war, won all five of the awards for which they were nominated, including the big three: album of the year (for "Taking the Long Way"), song of the year and record of the year (both for "Not Ready to Make Nice").
"I think people are using their freedom of speech with all these awards. We get the message," said Maines, paying tribute to other nominees with an oblique acknowledgement that the group was being honored as much for its stand as its music. "I'm very humbled."
The Chicks had a difficult time in the years before recording "Taking the Long Way." Once the biggest-selling group in country music -- the Chicks' first two albums, "Wide Open Spaces" and "Fly" -- were two of the most popular country albums ever -- they found themselves abandoned by country radio stations and pilloried by many fans for their political stand. Indeed, with "Taking the Long Way" the group members have said they don't consider themselves country artists anymore.
"We wouldn't have made this album without everything we went through, so we have no regrets," said band member Emily Robison. (Watch the Chicks talk about their big night )
Ironically, the Chicks' other awards included best country performance by a duo or group with vocal and best country album for "Taking the Long Way."
The Chicks -- Maines, Robison and Martie Maguire -- shared the song of the year award with co-writer Dan Wilson, formerly of Semisonic and Trip Shakespeare. "Taking the Long Way's" producer, the versatile Rick Rubin, won the producer of the year award -- his first after five nominations.
Mary J. Blige, who led all nominees with eight Grammy nods, took home three Sunday night, winning R&B performance, R&B album and R&B song. Blige overcame a number of personal problems before recording her album, "The Breakthrough," and alluded to them in her acceptance speeches.
"This is a great night for me," the singer said after the R&B performance award. "Success exposes who you really are, and I want to use this success to build bridges, not to burn them."
Before the show, Blige told CNN she's pleased just to be in the running.
"This is like a dream come true for me," the singer told Brooke Anderson on the red carpet. (Watch Blige talk about her appreciation for her position )
The Red Hot Chili Peppers won four Grammys: for best rock song, best rock performance by a duo or group with vocal (both for "Dani California"), best rock album and best limited edition package (for "Stadium Arcadium"). (Watch the Peppers describe their "awe" at music and life )
Carrie Underwood, a former "American Idol" champion, showed the continuing power of the hit Fox program in shaping stars. Underwood picked up Grammys for best new artist and best female country performance.
"This is absolutely unbelievable," Underwood said after the best new artist honor, adding "I owe everything to Simon Fuller," the creator of "Idol." The songwriters of her "Jesus, Take the Wheel" also tallied a win. (Watch Underwood talk about her rise to stardom )
Kelly Clarkson, the first "American Idol" winner, took home two Grammys in 2006. Other "Idol" winners have been nominated for the award.
The Grammys, which have suffered in the ratings in recent years, took a page from the "Idol" playbook by having viewers vote on an unknown singer to perform with Justin Timberlake. The winner was Robyn Troup of Houston, Texas.