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Houston's hit is song of year

(ran ET edition of TAMPA TODAY)

The 36th annual Grammy awards opened in New York Tuesday night with a resplendent Whitney Houston winning the best female vocal award for her hit song I Will Always Love You from film The Bodyguard.

Houston opened the awards ceremony at Radio City Music Hall by singing the song, which dominated the charts, radio airwaves and music video stations.

Then she was handed the award by country music star Dolly Parton, who wrote the song in 1974 with what she said was a broken heart until the royalties rolled in.

Houston thanked Parton, saying, "Coming from you, this is a high honor."

Meanwhile, awards handed out before the televised festivities began produced few real surprises.

The Aladdin soundtrack won four awards _ Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, Best Musical Album for Children, Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television, and Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television.

Sting's album, Ten Summoner's Tales, won the first two awards it competed for, best engineered album and best long-form video.

Producer Hugh Padgham accepted the engineering award, crediting the Beatles and Frank Zappa as influences on his recording style.

Zappa was also honored posthumously in the Best Rock Instrumental Performance category for Sofa, a composition from the tribute album, Zappa's Universe.

The late Miles Davis also received posthumous honors, winning the award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance for "Miles and Quincy Live at Montreux," a collaboration with Quincy Jones.

Davis also figured in two other jazz awards, one by saxophonist Joe Henderson. Henderson won the Best Jazz Instrumental Solo award for Miles Ahead and Best Jazz Instrumental Performance award for the album So Near, So Far (Musings for Miles). "It's a great view from here," said Henderson after collecting the third Grammy award of his career.

Pat Metheny won his 10th consecutive Grammy award when The Road to You was named Best Contemporary Jazz Performance (Instrumental).

Singer Tony Bennett posted the first major upset of the night when his album Steppin' Out beat out Barbra Streisand's Back to Broadway for the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance award.

"I don't know what Barbra's gonna say about this," Bennett said with a laugh while accepting the award.

Asleep at the Wheel won a Grammy for the third decade, scoring in the Best Country Instrumental Performance category for Red Wing, a single recorded with some of the original members of the pioneering Western swing band, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys.

"It was like worshiping at the temple of Western swing," said Asleep at the Wheel leader Ray Benson. "It's the way music should be learned, from the people who came before."

In the Gospel awards, familiar figures took the spotlight. "This is my seventh Grammy, God's perfect number," said Shirley Caesar, who won for Best Traditional Soul Gospel album. The Winans got their fifth Grammy for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album.