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Winners for the Best Record of The Year ‘Get Lucky’ Daft Punk celebrate their award on stage for the 56th Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles
Daft Punk mix marketing, talent Lamar ‘robbed’ at Grammy awards: Macklemore

 PARIS, Jan 28, (Agencies): Helmeted French duo Daft Punk have become one of the most successful electronic music collaborations of all time, mixing talent with clever marketing that includes singing in English and hiding their faces from an adoring public. Known for their kitschy robot costumes, pop’s most enigmatic superstars took home four major Grammys on Sunday — including the prized best album and best record awards — the pinnacle of their two-decade career. Daft Punk began in 1993 when school chums Thomas Bangalter and Guy Manuel de Homem Christo launched a new group.
The name was inspired by a review in British magazine Melody Maker which trashed their earlier guitar-based group Darlin’ as “daft punk”. The rest as they say is history.

Marrying machinelike vocals with foot-tapping beats, the pair have since overcome their cultural moorings to become one of the world’s best known musical monikers. Bangalter, who has just turned 39 and Homem Christo, who will soon be 40, first hit the limelight with their dance-floor smash “Da Funk” in 1996 which became a rage in European nightclubs. A year later, they released their first album “Homework” which contained the chartbusting single “Around the World”. Five years later, their second album “Discovery” harked back to the 1980s recycling disco and pop and became a trailblazer, fashioning musical trends at the start of the 2000s.

But their third album “Human After All”, released in 2005, bombed and was largely panned by critics.
The return to success came in 2013, when they released “Random Access Memories”, which includes the catchy hit “Get Lucky” and featured collaborations with disco legends Giorgio Moroder and Nile Rodgers and hip hop star Pharrell Williams. Critics say Daft Punk carefully nurtured their secretive image while creating intense curiosity about the album in a trail of hints on billboards and teasers on television. “Taking eight years to make an album tends to mean that everyone forgets about you. With Daft Punk it has simply fuelled speculation,” wrote Will Hodgkinson in British newspaper The Times of the album. “Random Access Memories is a blend of disco, robotic vocals, soft rock and smooth easy listening that really shouldn’t work but does – brilliantly,” he said.

And British magazine NME hailed it as an “ambitious masterpiece you can’t imagine being made by anyone other than Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo.” On Monday, an ecstatic French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti paid homage to the duo as the “spearheads of the ‘French touch’ that is appreciated the world over.” But music critics at home were less enthusiastic. “It seems that the success of Daft Punk is clearly explained by the fact that they bear allegiance to American music, it is in no way French music,” said journalist Olivier Cachin. Bertrand Dicale said that at another time, singers like Edith Piaf and Maurice Chevalier launched extraordinary careers in the United States because of their “Frenchness” and the fact that they gave the “American market something it did not have”.

“But what counts now is not really the language in which one sings but the language in which one advertises” songs and albums, he said. “Ninety percent of French artistes who sing in English cannot transcend national boundaries,” Dicale added. Jean-Daniel Beauvallet from the French music magazine Les Inrockuptibles warned that the Daft Punk’s success was in no way an indicator that French performers were growing in popularity on the world stage. “It’s a bit smoke and mirrors,” he said, adding that only a handful of current French artistes were global phenomenons. He said many French groups tried singing in English and signed up with American and British labels but finally returned to singing in French after realising their “extremely slim chances of international success”.

Meanwhile, everyone felt sorry for Kendrick Lamar after the dazzling young rapper was shut out at the Grammy Awards — even Macklemore, the guy who beat him head-to-head in several categories. Macklemore sent Lamar an apologetic text after winning in the best rap album category, one of two discussion-worthy moments the Seattle rapper engineered Sunday night. That was one of four awards for best new artist Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and the one that sparked the most grumbling. “You got robbed,” Macklemore wrote in a text to Lamar that he later posted on Instagram. “I wanted you to win. You should have. It’s weird and sucks that I robbed you.”

It was a unique moment in Grammy history — almost as unique as Macklemore’s other moment: the mass on-air wedding that included same-sex couples performed during the duo’s rendition of gay-rights anthem “Same Love.” Macklemore, whose real name is Ben Haggerty, has made no secret of his opinion in the best rap album category, declaring early on that he felt Lamar’s “good kid, m.A.A.d. city” should win best rap album over his own record “The Heist.” Drake, Jay Z and Kanye West also were nominated in the category, but the hip-hop community seemed to throw its hopes behind Lamar, a 26-year-old Compton native and Dr Dre protege who has deep respect from his peers because of his raw talent, verbal abilities and cinematic vision.

Haggerty’s publicist said the Seattle rapper was unavailable to discuss his text Monday morning, but he had explained his feelings in an interview with The Associated Press last week. “I think first and foremost we should absolutely be in the rap category,” Haggerty said. “I think we should be nominated. I think we could have one of the best rap albums of this year that we’re talking about in terms of the Grammys. I think in terms of a rap album, I think Kendrick should win it. I think there’s many other categories that we’re nominated in that I would love to take home a Grammy ... but in terms of that one, I feel it should go to Kendrick.” He also addressed the tear-inducing wedding in his Instagram post: “And to play Same Love on that platform was a career highlight. The greatest honor of all. That’s what this is about. Progress and art.” The performance/wedding included Queen Latifah officiating for 33 couples and an appearance by Madonna, and played out in front of 28.5 million viewers, the second largest television audience since 1993, according to preliminary Nielsen Company ratings. It brought tears to the eyes of not only participants but also stars like Keith Urban and Katy Perry, who were on their feet for the emotional moment.

“It’s just beyond, it’s the pinnacle, it’s the apex,” producer Lewis said afterward of the night. “So to be up here and more importantly to be able to celebrate ‘Same Love’ and have the marriages onstage — my sister getting married tonight as well — was phenomenal. So, amazing.” The moment was potentially divisive in a nation wrestling with social issues, something The Recording Academy’s president, Neil Portnow, acknowledged afterward. But he said it wasn’t a political stand for the academy. It was a chance to help artists portray their music in the way they want. “These folks wrote incredible songs and they have ideas about society and tolerance and fairness, and that’s their message,” Portnow said. “So our job is to set a platform where they can express themselves. ... We sit and discuss and talk about these things and try to find the right way to present the ideas, and frankly we’re just very proud of what happened tonight. I think it’s as elegant and as meaningful and as powerful as we wanted it to be.”

Beyonce kicked off the 56th Grammy Awards with a steamy and smoky performance of “Drunk In Love.” Jay Z emerged to rap his verse, and the couple held hands and danced together. Katy Perry sang “Dark Horse” in an eerie forest with fire that mirrored the song’s vibe. Taylor Swift whipped her head back and forth during a piano rendition of “All Too Well.” And half of the surviving Beatles — Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr — performed McCartney’s new song, “Queenie Eye.” These were some of the highlights from music’s biggest night, capped by French electronic music pioneers Daft Punk picking up four trophies, including album of the year.

Here of 24 of the seen-and-heard highlights from our reporter on the scene:
3:15 Grammy Award winning music legend Bill Withers’ wife and daughter, all dressed up for the ceremony, at the Starbucks outside Staples Center. Withers won a Grammy for historical album.
4:52 Grammys executive producer Ken Ehrlich takes stage and asks everyone to sit down and clear aisles. He tells the crowd “There are things you are going to see here tonight that you’ve never seen on television, let alone live.” He goes on to say, “We’ve got royalty tonight.” Then he talks to Taylor Swift from the stage and asks if she will have fun tonight
4:59 Ehrlich cut off by voice on speaker saying, “Five seconds…”
5:04 Crowd goes wild when Jay-Z joins Beyonce onstage.
5:15 After accepting Best New Artist, Macklemore tries to exit stage down the front but re-directed to exit through the back while Ryan Lewis exits via the front.
5:20 Lorde receives standing ovation from the music industry’s A-list attendees seated in the front section.
5:24 Crowd asked to applaud LL Cool J.
5:47 The biggest applause of the evening so far goes to Robin Thicke and Chicago’s performance.
6:04 Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear leave the stage all arm-in-arm as a foursome after winning Best Rock Song.
6:22 Pink’s performance draws rousing applause with the audience jumping to its feet all throughout the venue. The singer’s aerial stunts had the audience in awe gasping. As of this time in the telecast, Pink’s performance was clearly in the top spot based on chitter-chatter among audience.
6:24 When Lorde exits the stage, audience murmurs of, “Awe, she is only 17.”
6:36 While accepting his award for best rap/sung collaboration for “Holy Grail,” Jay-Z scores biggest laugh of the night when he refers to his Grammy award: “Blue, Daddy got a gold sippy cup for you.”
6:50 Audience blown away by Kendrick Lamar performance with Imagine Dragons. People dancing and lots of whistles and screams as Lamar amps up the room’s energy to new heights.
6:51 Noticeable downturn of energy in the room when country artist Kacey Musgraves performs and pales in comparison to Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons.
7:07 When nominees for Best Pop Vocal Album are being announced, audience members in some of the upper sections of the venue scream out for Lorde to win just before Unorthodox Jukebox announced as winners.
7:30 Majority of audience jumps to their feet dancing and singing along to Stevie Wonder and Daft Punk live collaboration of “Get Lucky.” Loudest so far of the night of the applause-o-meter – clapping, whistles, screams.
7:32 Ehrlich takes the stage and tells the audience they are witnessing history with the performances on the show.
7:38 Daft Punk, during a commercial break, pose with Nile Rodgers in front row for photographers.
7:42 Pink, being escorted back to her seat after a restroom break, receives applause and cheers as she walks past audience members on way to take her seat.
8:00 Pharrell gives hug to Nile Rodgers onstage just before they all exit the stage from Daft Punk winning Record of the Year. Thomas Bangalter, of Daft Punk, holds his award up in the air facing the crowd just before he exits stage.
8:13 Entire audience on feet clapping and cheering after Madonna, Queen Latifah and Macklemore.
8:17 Some audience members confused whether or not the show is over.
8:36 While Random Access Memories onstage accepting Album of the Year, lots of people in the audience begin to leave the venue after being at Staples for almost four hours.
8:44 Everyone leaving. Various audience members discussing how little battery they have left on phones due to shooting videos all night.

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