The 41st Annual Grammy Awards -- We tell you about this year's show where Lauryn Hill received five trophies and Ricky Martin sang his heart out

By Tricia Laine
Updated March 12, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

Who’d have thought Shania Twain’s hemline would be the most shocking element of the Feb. 24 Grammys? Her thigh-revealing dominatrix ensemble was the buzz of the night — a far cry from last year’s Soy Bomb spectacle. ”It’s the first time I’ve performed in a short skirt,” said Twain, adding that she donned the outfit because ”the lyric in [”Man, I Feel Like a Woman”] mentions short skirts.” And even though she scored two country Grammys earlier in the night for ”You’re Still the One,” her daring duds didn’t help when it came to Best Country Album, which she lost to the Dixie Chicks (Wide Open Spaces). That made her the only artist to lose a category immediately following a performance. Shrugged Twain: ”My record sales speak for how well I’ve done.”

But in the end, no topic was bigger than Lauryn Hill, who put her stamp on the night — not just with the four outfits she wore during the evening but with five trophies, including Album of the Year (The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill). ”Hip-hop is here to stay!” Hill proclaimed. ”We proved that tonight.” Though Hill put the crowning touches on what turned out to be Ladies’ Night — Madonna won Best Pop Album (Ray of Light), Celine Dion won Record of the Year (”My Heart Will Go On”), and Sheryl Crow took home Best Rock Album (The Globe Sessions) — the evening’s most magnetic moment was ex-Menudo singer Ricky Martin’s high-voltage showstopper, ”La Copa de la Vida.” In fact, the salsa sensation (who won Best Latin Pop Performance) impressed Madonna so much, she unexpectedly hopped onto a backstage platform and kissed him. ”I had to sneak up on him,” she later said. ”He’s so cute!”

Afterward, celebs made the party rounds. Sarah McLachlan, k.d. lang, and Natalie Cole celebrated at Warner Bros.’ shindig, held on a Burbank soundstage where Goo Goo Doll Johnny Rzeznik turned up in a shirt that read ”I was nominated for three Grammys and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.” Across town, Will Smith, Maxwell, and Bruce Springsteen reveled at Sony’s lavish fete at Jimmy’s restaurant, a Beverly Hills haunt. Meanwhile, Bonnie Raitt and members of Everclear enjoyed the L.A. skyline from EMI’s swanky soiree at Paramour, a hilltop mansion in Silver Lake.

But the Grammys’ biggest bash unfolded the night before the ceremonies. On Feb. 23, Arista Records founder Clive Davis welcomed a roster of stars that included the Backstreet Boys, Erykah Badu, Wesley Snipes, and Jennifer Lopez to his exclusive party at the Beverly Hills Hotel. While Jerry Seinfeld palled around with Puffy Combs to discuss a future collaboration, a number of rockers entertained guests with a private concert. McLachlan brought down the house with her acoustic rendition of ”Angel.” ”Usually I play big venues,” said the Lilith Fair founder. ”It’s nice to get back to the small things.” She was followed by a Wyclef Jean-Carlos Santana duet, and later a grand finale of ”Heartbreak Hotel” sung by an all-star lineup of divas, including Whitney Houston, Kelly Price, Faith Evans, Mary J. Blige, and Monica. ”I respect Clive as a party man,” said noted reveler Combs about the host of the music world’s most prestigious party. ”He’s going down in history with Hugh Hefner and myself.”

(Additional reporting by Zack Stentz)

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