Whitney Houston remembered on Grammys red carpet

By Beth Harris

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Feb. 12 2012 9:00 p.m. MST

Kelly Price arrives at the 54th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 in Los Angeles.

Chris Pizzello, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — One of the last people to share a stage with Whitney Houston was R&B singer Kelly Price, who stopped on the Grammy Awards show's red carpet Sunday night to reminisce.

While others have said the singer appeared disheveled when she showed up Thursday to rehearse for music mogul Clive Davis' pre-Grammy party, Price said that wasn't the case when she saw her later Thursday at a party in Hollywood where the two sang together.

"She stood on her feet for over three hours, she cheered on every singer that hit the stage," said Price, who sang a duet with Houston on "Yes, Jesus Loves Me."

When she wasn't singing, Price said, Houston was dancing, either by herself or with others, including her 18-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown.

"We had a wonderful time," Price said. "She celebrated me. She told me she was proud of me, she told me she loved me,"

The pair's friendship dates to 1998 when Houston heard Price on the radio and invited her to sing with her on "Heartbreak Hotel."

Tony Bennett, who kicked his own cocaine habit 30 years ago, made a pitch for the legalization of all drugs as he reflected on the death of Whitney Houston, whose drug problems have been well documented.

"In Amsterdam they legalized drugs and it calmed everybody down," Bennett said Sunday on the Grammy Awards red carpet.

"It stopped a lot of gangsters who sneak around and get people to take drugs. Everybody gets wounded that way. By legalizing it, you won't have that problem."

Later in the evening, Bennett accepted the award for best pop performance by a duo or group. He won for the duet he recorded with Amy Winehouse, who died last year of alcohol poisoning.

The 85-year-old crooner acknowledged his call for legalization is controversial. But he said he stands by it.

"It's called the elimination of ignorance," he said. "If you do something that makes things better, why not do it immediately, whatever it is."

One of the Grammy show's most poignant moments was one that TV viewers didn't see.

When Tony Bennett received the Grammy for best pop performance by a duo or group for his duet with Amy Winehouse, he invited the late singer's parents to join him on stage during the awards ceremony's pre-show segment.

"We shouldn't be here. Our darling daughter should be here," Winehouse's father, Mitch, said after he and the singer's mother, Janis, had embraced Bennett.

His daughter was thrilled, Winehouse said, to have recorded the Grammy-winning song "Body and Soul" with Bennett.

Mitch Winehouse also noted Whitney Houston's death Saturday and the recent passing of Etta James.

"What can I say? There's a beautiful girl band up in heaven," he said.

They've had their share of bad vibrations over the years, but only goodwill abounded when the Beach Boys put aside years of feuding and got back together for the Grammy Awards show.

"It was kind of a different experience," head Beach Boy Brian Wilson said backstage after he and his old bandmates performed "Good Vibrations."

"The guys are brilliantly performing their vocals," Wilson added. "I'm very proud of the guys."

The band that fell apart years ago over infighting and lawsuits is also marking its 50th anniversary with a new CD and tour that will include stops in Europe and Japan. They're also recording new songs written by Wilson and Joe Thomas.

Fellow founding member Mike Love, who just a few years ago wasn't talking to Wilson, his cousin, said the new songs are "fantastic."

He added he is particularly blown away by one called "That's Why God Made the Radio."

"It's a thrill to get together and execute that kind of song," said Love.

Revenge is sweet for Taylor Swift.

"Mean," the country's star's searing response to being treated badly, won Grammys on Sunday for best country song and best country solo performance.

"There's really no feeling quite like writing a song about someone who's completely mean to you and completely hates you, and then winning a Grammy for it," she said happily.

Later in the evening, she sang the payback anthem for the Grammy telecast, accompanying herself on banjo and looking a little taken aback when the audience responded with a standing ovation.

Her album "Speak Now," which includes "Mean," was nominated for best country album.

Forget about showing off her two new Grammys, Joy Williams of The Civil Wars wants the world to know she's got a bun in the oven.

"I'm a human bakery," the singer joked as she showed off her pregnant belly backstage after she and John Paul White collected Grammys for best folk album and best country duo/group performance.

"We'll be a little bohemian family by the time this baby comes," said Williams' husband, Nate, who manages the duo. "The adventure continues and so do the travels."

Associated Press Entertainment Writers Alicia Quarles, Mesfin Fekadu and Sandy Cohen contributed to this report.

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