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Herbie Hancock + a Beatle? = Grammy time

February 14, 2011 | 12:54 pm

Herbie Hancock 2011 Grammy Awards-Allen J. Schaben 
A night of full of upsets and other surprises started early with Grammy voters’ verdict in the pop collaboration with vocals category. In a field featuring tracks that teamed superstar combinations of Eminem, B.o.B. and Hayley Williams; Elton John and Leon Russell; Lady Gaga and Beyoncé; and Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg, the Grammy went to … Herbie Hancock.

Now, we know how much the Grammys love Herbie, most illustriously when he took the 2008 album of the year award for "River: The Joni Mitchell Letters” album of the celebrated singer-songwriter's music. This time, he trumped the pop, rock, rap and R&B heavy hitters with his version of John Lennon's "Imagine,” from his "The Imagine Project" collection, for which he was joined on the Grammy-winning track by Pink, India.Arie and a group of international friends.

The award also delivered yet another example of the Grammy night adage: Never underestimate the power of a Beatle.

The music industry's love affair with the Beatles surfaced two other times Sunday, with awards to Paul McCartney for solo rock vocal for his rendition of the Beatles' "Helter Skelter" from his “Good Evening New York City” live album, and the award for historical album for "The Beatles in Stereo," the 16-disc box set that packaged stereo versions of all the Fab Four's original studio albums.

-- Randy Lewis

Photo of Herbie Hancock at the Grammy Awards on Sunday. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times.