Elton John to join Grammys tribute to Band singer

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In this Aug. 14, 2009 file photo, Levon Helm performs with the Levon Helm band during the Heroes of Woodstock concert at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, N.Y. Elton John and Mumford & Sons will hit the Grammys stage to pay tribute to Levon Helm. The Recording Academy announced Thursday that T Bone Burnett, Mavis Staples, Zac Brown and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes will also perform “The Weight” at Sunday’s awards ceremony in Los Angeles. AP/Craig Ruttle

LOS ANGELES – Elton John will join fellow British stars Mumford and Sons in a Grammys tribute to Levon Helm, the late drummer and singer with The Band, organizers announced Wednesday.

Announcing the latest details of music’s biggest awards show Sunday, they said Zac Brown, Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, and Mavis Staples will also perform in honor of Helm, who died in April 2012.

Grammy nominee T-Bone Burnett will serve as musical director for the tribute, part of the annual In Memoriam segment of the Grammys, honoring music stars who have died over the past year.

Helm, whose gruff vocals and razor-sharp drumming underpinned the late-1960s US-Canadian rock group The Band, died of throat cancer, according to Rolling Stone magazine.

One of the very few drummers who also sang lead vocals, Helm is best known for such Band tracks as “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “Rag Mama Rag,” “Up on Cripple Creek” and “The Weight.”

Elton John had already been announced as appearing at the Grammys, along with acts including Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Jack White, Rihanna, Miranda Lambert, The Black Keys, fun., The Lumineers and Carrie Underwood.

New York indie pop band fun. are shortlisted in the most categories this year with six nominations, including for best album (“Some Nights”) and best record (“We Are Young”).

Rap artist Frank Ocean has four nominations: for best album (the critically-acclaimed “Channel Orange”), record of the year (“Thinkin Bout You”), best new artist and best urban contemporary album.

Also vying for best album are three-time Grammy winners The Black Keys for “El Camino,” British rock-folk group Mumford & Sons for “Babel” and rocker White for “Blunderbuss.”

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