Paul McCartney is set to perform on the Grammy Awards on Feb. 12, five days after the release of his album of standards, Kisses On The Bottom. That's McCartney's first major album release since Memory Almost Full in June 2007.
Two nights before the Grammys, McCartney will be the honoree at the MusiCares' Person of the Year concert. That's the primary fund-raising event of the Recording Academy's affiliated charity. This is the second year in a row that the MusiCares' honoree has agreed to perform on the Grammy telecast. Barbra Streisand sang "Evergreen (Love Theme From 'A Star Is Born')" on last year's show.
Coldplay and Rihanna will perform together on the Grammy telecast in what is billed as their first joint live performance. They'll presumably perform "Princess Of China," their collaboration from the band's Mylo Xyloto album. The album was released after the close of the current eligibility year, though two hit songs from the album are nominated this year.
LL Cool J is set to host the show. It's the first time in seven years that the show has had a host. The last host was Queen Latifah in 2005. The two stars both started out as rappers, but are both now multi-faceted entertainers. LL stars in NCIS: Los Angeles and has appeared in nearly two dozen movies. (He played Queen Latifah's love interest in the 2006 movie Last Holiday.) LL, who has won two Grammys, has been the host of the academy's December nominations special in each of the four years it has aired.
Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson have also been booked. They'll presumably perform their duet, "Don't You Wanna Stay," which is nominated for Best Country Duo/Group Performance. The song topped the Hot Country Songs chart for three weeks in March 2011. Aldean's My Kinda Party, the best-selling country album of 2011, is nominated for Best Country Album.
Nicki Minaj, the front-runner to win as Best New Artist, will also perform. Her Pink Friday is vying to become the first album by a female rapper to win for Best Rap Album. (Lauryn Hill's 1998 album The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill won as Best R&B Album.)
Other early bookings include Foo Fighters, Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift. Foo Fighters' Wasting Light is nominated for Album of the Year. It's also vying to become their fourth album to win as Best Rock Album. (That would extend their record as the act with the most wins in the category's history.) Swift's Speak Now is vying to become her second album to win as Best Country Album. Mars' Doo-Wops & Hooligans is vying for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album.
It's hard to predict what songs these acts will perform, but Mars' "Grenade" is nominated for Record and Song of the Year, Foo Fighters' "Walk" is nominated for Best Rock Song and Swift's "Mean" is nominated for Best Country Song.
Next year's Grammy news today: Kisses On The Bottom is the instant front-runner to win a Grammy as Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album at the Grammys in 2013. If it does, McCartney would become the first artist to win Grammys in both the Traditional Pop and Rock fields. (He has won two Grammys in the rock field: "Rockestra Theme" as Best Rock Instrumental Performance of 1979 and a cover of the Beatles' "Helter Skelter" as Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance of 2010.)
Kisses On The Bottom is vying to become McCartney's first #1 album (apart from the Beatles) since 1982's Tug Of War. But McCartney, like everyone else, will have a hard time unseating Adele's blockbuster 21, which is virtually certain to sweep the Grammys.
Kisses On The Bottom includes such standards as "It's Only A Paper Moon," "The Glory Of Love," "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive," "Always" and "Bye Bye Blackbird." (The album's cheeky title is drawn from the 1935 Fats Waller song, "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter," which is included on the set).
McCartney is also a Grammy nominee this year. He produced a deluxe edition of Band On The Run, which is nominated as Best Historical Album. The original album, by Paul McCartney and Wings, was first released in 1973. It logged four weeks at #1 and spawned the top 10 hits "Helen Wheels," "Jet" and "Band On The Run." The album received a Grammy nomination as Album of the Year. The title track won a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus.