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GRAMMY Party Live Blog: Thursday
Billboard is on the scene as chart-topping musicians and big-time industry execs celebrate GRAMMY week at L.A.'s most exclusive events
The GRAMMY Awards may not be handed out until Sunday night (Jan. 26), but the GRAMMY-week parties are already in full swing. Stay tuned to this page as we give you real-time updates on L.A.'s biggest and most star-studded events -- including our own Power 100 party at the Emerson Theatre. Check back throughout the night for updates. All times listed are PST.
5:35 pm -- At Billboard's Power 100 event, Sony's Lia Vollack chats with Paramount Head of Music Randy Spendlove, while Joe Smith, the former head of Warner Brothers Records, reviews the issue with former WBR publicity chief Bob Merlis.
5:45 pm -- Dick Clark Productions CEO Allen Shapiro chats with Joe Smith about Smith's photo in the Power 100 issue. Joe says he was cracking a joke when it was taken.
6:00 pm -- A guest opens the Power 100 issue to the page of the No. 5 entry, where Sony/ATV Music Publishing CEO Martin Bandier appears with his trademark cigar. Bandier himself drops in with the comment, "Now that's a good looking guy."
6:25 pm -- A phalanx of power-players herds by the P100 entrance. Clear Channel's John Sykes shares news of two new broadcast deals with Red Light's Coran Capshaw and American Express' Rich Lehrfeld.
6:15 pm -- On the P100 red carpet, LeAnn Rimes tells us that her long-time deal with Curb Records has ended and she's currently seeking new partners. When told Big Machine's Scott Borchetta was in the building, she says "Yeah. Scott and I have been talking. Mmmm…did he put you up to that?"
6:30 pm -- Unsurprisingly, Rimes is later seen chatting with Borchetta, with songwriter Diane Warren chiming in.
6:45 pm -- P100: It's a standing-room only crowd of music power players, and they're all here to honor Joe Smith, who received the Clive Davis Award for his accomplishments in music and entertainment. Smith shares some jokes, his beloved L.A. Lakers being the source of one. An interview with Jerry Garcia appears on the big screen. Garcia quips about how he'd come up with the "horrible" bandname The Warlocks; he spotted the words while thumbing through an old dictionary.
7:00 pm -- Music supervisor Alex Patsavas is thrilled by the appearance of the "20 Feet From Stardom" singers at P100. She and her husband just watched the film last night.
7:15 pm -- P100: Tata Vega covers James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's World."
7:30 pm -- Merry Clayton reprises her distinctive cameo vocal for the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter," giving the Emerson Theater a powerhouse finale. Clayton caps off P100 performances by Darlene Love, Judith Hill, Lisa Fischer and Tata Vega -- her co-stars "20 Feet From Stardom." Earlier, she told the story of how her collab with the Stones came about. Clayton, who was pregnant at the time, took an early morning call from her manager asking if she’d come to studio to record backup vocals for "the rolling something or other," she recalled. After much cajoling by her husband, she went to the studio "in my pink pajamas and curlers in my hair" to sing in what has become one of the most recognized songs in rock history.
8 pm -- Neil Patrick Harris arrives for Citi's exclusive cardholder's event, featuring Imagine Dragons. He's in good form at the VIP reception, where he takes time to chat with fans and dish about the Grammys. Harris says he always looks forward to nights like these for their "intimate nature." And he's keen to check out Imagine Dragons. He won't be the only celeb gracing the Wiltern Theatre tonight.
8:06 pm -- Drive up to valet at DBA Hollywood for Epic After Dark party, following a slow crawl through traffic. Then learn it's $20 to park. Ouch!
8:15 pm -- At the Grammy Foundation's "A Song Is Born" event. Ascap president Paul Williams gives a lesson on Brill Building history before introducing Jeff Barry. There's a singalong on tunes he had a hand in writing: "Do Wah Diddy," "Da Doo Ron Ron," "Leader of the Pack," "Sugar, Sugar," "Chapel of Love."
8:26 pm -- Over at Epic, the party is starting to swing. Guests are treated to a dancer twirling around the room dressed like something from outer space.
8:30 pm -- Fans get ready to meet Imagine Dragons backstage at Citi's party.
8:35 pm -- At "A Song Is Born," three young women who met at Grammy Camp in Nashville perform the first song they've recorded, "Loving You Still." They go by the name Maybe April, and they're still attending college.
8:36 pm -- Dancers flank DJ Cassidy at Epic After Dark. Live performance art is now happening on stage. It's official: this party has started.
8:52 pm -- Over at the TRANS4M benefit, Taboo from Black Eyed Peas shares a red carpet moment with Best Latin Pop Album nominee Frankie J, shouting out "the Latino connection!"
8:58 pm -- Sony executive VP of A&R and current Grammy nominee Salaam Remi makes his way into the Epic party. Elsewhere in the room, tutu-wearing dancers perform on a tabletop as Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody" blasts out the speakers.
9:04 pm -- It's all about Chaka Khan at the moment. The legend arrives in person at TRANS4M, where she will perform later tonight.
9:05 pm -- Jimmy Webb tells guests at "A Song Is Born" that when the Fifth Dimension was scaling the charts with his "Up Up and Away" it was the only song on rock radio not about drugs.
9:21 pm -- Will.i.am arrives with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti at the TRANS4M benefit.
9:22 pm -- At "A Song Is Born," JD Southern explains why he supports arts education: "It kept me out of jail."
9:23 pm -- JD Southern assembles a quirky "supergroup" to perform a hit he co-wrote with the Eagles, "New Kid in Town." He's joined on stage with Dan Wilson, Joy Williams of Civil Wars and Waddy Wachtel.
9:26 pm -- Epic party is now major league crowded.
9:44 pm -- Epic chief L.A. Reid is in the house, and he's onstage greeting DJ Cassidy at his label's party. Showtime must be coming. R&B newcomer Kesington Kross will perform.
9:50 pm -- At "A Song Is Born," Gavin Degraw talks on what it takes to co-write. "It's like sitting in the psychiatrists chair and when you finish talking you think they're going to ask for your insurance."
9:56 pm -- L.A. Reid is back in the spotlight at the Epic party. He's onstage introducing Kesington Kross. "We are on a mission to bring back and revive great black music," he says.
10 pm -- Rosie Perez takes the TRANS4M podium wearing a dusky purple gown to introduce will.i.am and Brian David Johnson, the event's curator and will.i.am partner brand Intel's "resident futurist." "We're here for the kids; we're here for the future," she says. "Our education system in America sucks."
10:07 pm -- Will.i.am repeatedly begs the chattering crowd to be quiet, eventually exclaiming, "Be adults and shut the fuck up." Most of the noise comes from the VIP section, not the main area, which was crowded with fans, workers for the various non-profits represented, and students from Boyle Heights, the area currently benefiting from TRANS4M's various programs. Boyle Heights is where Will grew up. He and Johnson painted a picture of a depressed community where 100% of students are at, or below, the poverty line. He introduces the inspirational principals of Roosevelt High, Will's alma mater. "I'm committed to Boyle Heights for 10 years," Will said. "That's roughly one million a year I've committed to help raise. This isn't some passing thing."
10:10 pm -- Will and Johnson reveal the TRANS4M program's next stop, with a flourish and a graphic: Detroit. The audience cheers.
10:15 pm -- Charismatic L.A. Mayor Eric Gancetti takes the podium to greet the audience. He shares that he too is a child of Boyle Heights "on both sides," and calls will.i.am "an angel in a City of Angels."
10:34 pm -- Kesington Kross finish-up an entertaining set on Sunset Blvd. The audience is enthusiastic about his music, a cross (forgive pun) between '80s-'90s vibe and Miguel/Frank Ocean/Lenny Kravitz. Spotted in the crowd are Sony exec VP of sales & distribution Darren Stupak, Billboard International Power Player/President Global Digital Business & U.S. Sales Dennis Kooker, and Scott Igoe, talent booker at "Jimmy Kimmel Live."
10:35 pm -- Over at "A Song Is Born," Bonnie Raitt gets to say "thank-you" to the two men who wrote 1991's "I Can't Make You Love Me" with a performance in front of them -- Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin. She then plays her own, "Nick Of Time," the title and opening track from her Billboard 200 chart-topping album from 1989.
10:45 pm -- Kris Kristofferson hits the emotional high point of the night thus-far at "A Song Is Born." The Highwayman delivers a solo rendition of "For the Good Times," which appeared on his debut 1970 album, "Kristofferson." The song went on to be a hit for Ray Price.
11 pm -- Steve Cropper, the legendary Stax guitarist and songwriter, details the day he met Wilson Pickett. "A Song Is Born" guests are told that Otis Redding didn't write "Dock of the Bay" about San Francisco. The ships rolling in actually refer to the ferries making their from Oakland to Sausalito.
11:20 pm -- "A Song Is Born" comes to a close as Valerie Simpson duets with Ryan Shaw on "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."
12:00 am -- The parties are over for tonight. It's time to head home and rest for the big nights that lay ahead.
Reporting by Phil Gallo, Andrew Hampp, Kerri Mason, Alex Pham, Silvio Pietroluongo, Justino Aguila