By DERRIK J. LANG, Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Roots saved some of their love for Whitney Houston.
After being joined by singer Elle Varner on stage early Sunday at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip, the band launched into Houston's 1985 hit "Saving All My Love For You" during their 8th annual pre-Grammy concert.
There were no mournful speeches or moments of silence — just a simple, soulful rendition of a Houston classic.
"I'm old school," said beatboxer Rahzel earlier in the evening. "Rest in peace, Whitney Houston."
The Roots took the stage just before midnight Saturday, hours after the world learned of the death of the 48-year-old pop-music queen. Other guests who grooved with the band for their pre-Grammy jam session tradition included Pras, Trombone Shorty, India.Arie, Childish Gambino and Shaggy, who delivered his hits "Boombastic" and "It Wasn't Me."
"Saving All My Love For You" wasn't the only cover the eclectic hip-hop band served the audience. The Roots also performed a staggering mash-up of Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child o' Mine," George Thorogood and the Destroyers' "Bad to the Bone" and Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love?"
Before the concert, Houston's "I'm Your Baby Tonight" was mixed in with the other songs pumped into the intimate venue as the crowd awaited the Roots' appearance. Several members of the audience cheered and sang the infectious Houston tune in unison.
AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang will be tweeting from inside the Grammys. Follow him at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang/
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