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Grammy weekend kicks off with Neil Diamond tribute


neil3Coldplay, Foo Fighters and Jennifer Hudson were among the pop stars paying tribute to Neil Diamond Friday night in Los Angeles to kick off Grammy weekend charity event, MusicCares Person of the Year.

The celebrity-studded gathering of 2,200 people at the L.A. Convention Center honored Diamond, 68, for his philanthropy, including large donations to relief efforts for Texas areas ravaged by Hurricane Ike.

Diamond thanked his children and grandchildren who forgave him for often leaving home to tour and work on “my little musical creations.” The singer-songwriter also thanked his mother for setting him on his musical path, getting him a guitar as a kid in Brooklyn

“When the Brooklyn Dodgers left Brooklyn, I was so depressed, my parents bought a guitar and paid it off $1 a week, for 10 weeks. It was a good investment, Mom. You made a life for me,” he said.

Dreamgirl Jennifer Hudson set to sing


USA-POLITICS/(Writing and reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis)

Singer Jennifer Hudson is set to perform for the first time since the October shooting deaths of her mother, brother and nephew in Chicago.

Hudson is scheduled to sing on Feb. 6 at the 2009 MusiCares Person of the Year show in Los Angeles, an event leading up to the 51st annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 8.The event is to honor Grammy-winning singer Neil Diamond.