Springsteen Wows Sad Grammys With Uplifting Opening Tune

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February 12, 2012 | 8:51pm EST

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band got what is sure to be a very emotional Grammy Awards off to rousing start in Los Angeles on Sunday night.
The Boss made no mention of the Whitney Houston tragedy that was hanging over the ceremony and raced into a ferocious rendition of new song We Take Care of Our Own, which has been picked up as one of President Barack Obama’s re-election anthems.

Springsteen and his bandmates were joined by a string orchestra onstage at the Staples Center as the rocker belted out the patriotic tune with an angry snarl throughout.

Introducing the song, he growled, “America, are you alive out there?”

Once the stirring performance was over, LL Cool J, the Grammys’ first host in seven years, took to the stage.

He took a somber, serious tone as he addressed Houston’s passing and said, “There is no way around this; we’ve had a death in our family, and so at least for me the only thing that feels right is to begin with a prayer for a woman who we loved, for our fallen sister Whitney Houston.”

He bowed his head and stated, “Heavenly father, we thank you for sharing our sister Whitney with us. Today our thoughts are with her mother, her daughter and all of her loved ones, and although she is gone too soon we remain truly blessed to have been touched by her beautiful spirit and to have her lasting legacy of music to cherish and share forever. Amen.”

The rapper/actor then introduced footage of Houston performing I Will Always Love You at the Grammy Awards in 1994, adding, “Whitney, we will always love you.”

LL Cool J then welcomed Brits Adele and Sir Paul McCartney, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Tony Bennett and Carrie Underwood to the Grammys and asked, “Are we all ready for music’s biggest night?”

Bruno Mars then kept the party going with another rousing performance as the event’s organisers and performers attempted to get past the sadness surrounding Houston’s death on the eve of the Grammys.