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Threat to unplug microphones for Grammy anti-war rally

Television executives are worrying that the live broadcast of the Grammy awards in New York tomorrow — in which the British band Coldplay are nominated for two awards — could turn into an anti-war rally.

Coldplay’s lead singer, Chris Martin, said from the stage of the Brit Awards in London on Thursday: “We are all going to die when George Bush has his way — but at least we are going to go out with a bang.”

A senior CBS executive warned that microphones might be unplugged if any performance turned political. He said: “There is a time for political commentary. This is not one of them.”

There were reports that at least one of the acts performing at the ceremony was planning an anti-war gesture.

Coldplay, currently Britain’s most successful band in the US, are nominated for best rock performance with In My Place and best alternative rock album with A Rush of Blood To The Head.

Other performers will include Bruce Springsteen, Norah Jones, No Doubt, Avril Lavigne, Eminem, Sheryl Crow and James Taylor.

CBS may be worrying about the reunion of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel for the first time in a decade. They are hoping to fit in a one-off performance of The Sound of Silence, their Vietnam War-era ballad about the inability of people to communicate with each other, when they receive a lifetime achievement award.

The most successful folk-rock duo of the 1960s split up more than three decades ago after Garfunkel refused to play second fiddle to his “control freak” partner. Now, both aged 61, they have rehearsed the song, with its opening line “Hello darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again”, for the ceremony.

A spokesman for Simon, said that the pair “got together” in a “private setting” on Wednesday, “as two great old friends and sang for the first time since 1993”.

Garfunkel’s spokesman was also upbeat: “Art’s really excited about getting the award with his friend.”

With the Grammy ceremony returning to New York after five years in Los Angeles, the re-appearance of the two New Yorkers is expected to be a poignant event.

Garfunkel, who is about to tour Britain, recalled that his last time together with Simon was appalling. “We had a terrible fight, the worst ever. In the past, we used to have some rather heated and very tense arguments, but we never actually shouted at each other until our tour in 1993 turned sour and we called it quits — maybe for the last time.”

However, he added: “I would love nothing better than to sing with Paul again. We have a special sound, and I know that a lot of people would love to hear us again. It is tempting.”

Simon’s spokesman said a London report of secret negotiations for a world tour reunion was “absolutely untrue”. He added: “They saw each other this week and had a great time, but there are no plans to tour or record.”

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