Janis Ian, another major star from the past, was there to accept a Grammy. Ian called it a "big upset" when she beat first lady Michelle Obama, former President Bill Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres and Rachel Maddow in the best spoken word category. "I keep thinking there must be a punchline here," Ian joked. "An ex-president and the first lady and three lesbians walk into a bar." Ian won for narrating "Society's Child: My Autobiography."
It was just her second Grammy after nine nominations in eight different categories. "I made a choice to be a songwriter and not be part of the circus all the time. I don't do popular music because that's not what I'm good at," Ian said backstage.
Bonnie Raitt was there to get her 10th Grammy, the latest for best Americana album given for "Slipstream." "I didn't expect this," Raitt said. "I have enough."
Jazz legend Pat Metheny took home his 20th Grammy out of 36 nominated. The latest for best jazz instrumental album, given to him for "Unity Band."
Esperanza Spalding, the bass-playing jazz singer whose best new artist win upset Justin Bieber fans two years ago, was present to win two more Grammys in the pre-telecast. Spalding, 28, won for best instrumental arrangement accompanying vocalists and for best jazz vocal album for "Radio Music Society."
Drake, whom Spalding also beat two years ago for best new artist, may now wish he had been there because the rapper was awarded his first Grammy after 13 nominations. Then again, he also lost twice Sunday when Jay-Z and Kanye West beat him in the best rap song and best rap performance categories.
Paul McCartney was a no-show to pick up his Grammy for best traditional pop vocal album. It was awarded for his "Kisses on the Bottom" album.
While there are plenty of household names announced in the pre-show, it is also the chance for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences to honor people who perform important jobs for the music industry.
For example, Billy Vera won a Grammy for writing the best album notes. He composed the notes for an album of Ray Charles music, "Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles."
Fritz Klaetke, the art director for "Woody At 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection," won a Grammy for producing the best boxed or special limited edition package. While this may seem to be the most unglamorous of all Grammys, Klaetke said the category was important for "recognizing the role packaging design plays in these days of downloaded music."