Sting, who already owns 10 Grammy Awards, could potentially take home six more when the music industry's most prestigious honors are handed out March 1 at New York's Radio City Music Hall.
The erudite British musician--whose style has evolved from the post-punk of the Police to a sophisticated blend of pop, rock and jazz--topped the roster of Grammy nominees announced Thursday. Most notably, his "Ten Summoner's Tales" was named in the album of the year category and "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You" is up for both record and song of the year.
But he's up against tough competition, with pop diva Whitney Houston, veteran singer-songwriter Billy Joel and Georgia rockers R.E.M. each nominated for four awards.
In the album category, Sting faces Donald Fagen's "Kamakiriad," the Houston-highlighted soundtrack album from the movie "The Bodyguard," Joel's "River of Dreams" and R.E.M.'s "Automatic for the People."
Sting's fellow nominees for record of the year (given to the artist and the producer) are "A Whole New World (Aladdin's Theme)," performed by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle; "I Will Always Love You" (from "The Bodyguard"), sung by Houston; Joel's "The River of Dreams" and Neil Young's "Harvest Moon." In the best song roster (given to the writer), the numbers penned by Sting, Young and Joel are joined by the "Aladdin" theme, written by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, and Jim Steinman's "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)," which was a hit for Meat Loaf.
"I Have Nothing" and "Run to You," two other songs performed by Houston for "The Bodyguard" collection, are also among nominees for best song written specifically for a motion picture or for television.
One surprise is that U2's "Zooropa" failed to get a nomination for album of the year. A nod in the best alternative music album category is the only appearance this time for the acclaimed Irish band, which has won five Grammy Awards, including album of the year for 1987's "The Joshua Tree."
The other leading nominees this year are "Aladdin" composer Alan Menken and Canadian producer-songwriter David Foster, with five each. Multiple nominations also went to, among others, Janet Jackson, Aerosmith, rapper Dr. Dre, rap group Digable Planets, alternative rock band Smashing Pumpkins and country singer Alan Jackson.
Digable Planets is nominated in the best new artist category, where it's joined by rock bands Belly and Blind Melon and R&B; artists Toni Braxton and SWV.
Missing this year is a category for rock female vocal performance. Though past winners Tina Turner and Melissa Etheridge each released an album in 1993, there were fewer than the 10 candidates required to make a category. The male and female rockers were folded into one, with the result being that all five nominations went to men: Peter Gabriel, Lenny Kravitz, Meat Loaf, Sting and Bob Dylan.
No particular surprises crop up among the latest classical nominations. In the category of best classical vocal performance, singers in their prime (Gabriela Benackova, Sylvia McNair, Anne Sofie von Otter) vie with the now-retired Christa Ludwig, and with the late, justifiably lamented Arleen Auger, who died in 1993 at the age of 54.
Among pianists, Leon Fleisher, in recent decades a left-hand-repertory specialist, makes a strong showing in two categories. Otherwise, it is business as usual, though with heartening recognition of sometimes neglected composers like Alkan, Barber, Martinu and Erb.
Recordings released between Oct. 1, 1992, and last Sept. 30 were eligible. The winners will be determined by 7,000 voting members of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences and honored during a live CBS telecast.
Times music writer Daniel Cariaga contributed to this story.
Best Album Donald Fagen, "Kamakiriad". Whitney Houston, "The Bodyguard" soundtrack. Billy Joel, "River of Dreams". R.E.M., "Automatic for the People". Sting, "Ten Summoner's Tales". Best Single Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle, "A Whole New World (Aladdin's Theme)". Whitney Houston, "I Will Always Love You." Billy Joel, "The River of Dreams." Sting, "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You." Neil Young, "Harvest Moon". Best New Artist Belly Blind Melon Toni Braxton Digable Planets SWV Most Nominations Six: Sting Five: Alan Menken, David Foster Four: R.E.M., Whitney Houston, Billy Joel