LOS ANGELES - Music's biggest stars gather Sunday for the Grammys, with artists ranging from the Beatles and veteran rapper Jay-Z to newcomers like New Zealand's Lorde and rapper Kendrick Lamar up for honours.
French electro sensation Daft Punk, pop diva Taylor Swift, chart-topper Justin Timberlake and Seattle hip hop duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are also among those vying for prizes at music's version of the Oscars in Los Angeles.
Surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr will perform as organisers the Recording Academy belatedly bestow a Lifetime Achievement Award on the Fab Four, while preparing to mark 50 years since their famous first US TV appearance.
Performers at the awards show include a who's who of music's finest, ranging from Katy Perry and Robin Thicke to veterans Carole King, Chicago and an unlikely duet by rockers Metallica with acclaimed Chinese pianist Lang Lang.
The first couple of hip-hop, Jay-Z and Beyonce, are also expected to perform while pop legend Madonna will strut her stuff at the show, brought forward from its usual February date to avoid media conflicts with the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Going into Sunday's show, Jay-Z tops nominations with nine nods, followed by California hip-hop star Lamar, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Timberlake and Pharrell Williams with seven each, while Canadian rapper Drake scored five.
"This year's nominations reflect the talented community of music makers who represent some of the highest levels of excellence and artistry of the year in their respective fields," said Recording Academy head Neil Portnow.
Tipped by many for coveted Record Of The Year is Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," but rival nominees include Kiwi teenager Lorde's "Royals," "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons and Hawaiian crooner Bruno Mars' "Locked Out Of Heaven."
Thicke's "Blurred Lines," made infamous by Miley Cyrus' twerking at last year's MTV Video Music Awards show, is also competing for the evening's top prize.
In the Album of the Year category, Swift's "Red" will compete with Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories," Macklemore and Ryan Lewis's "The Heist," Lamar's "Good Kid, M.A.A.D City" and Sara Bareilles' "The Blessed Unrest."
Shortlisted for Song of the Year - for songwriters - are "Just Give Me A Reason" sung by Pink; "Locked Out Of Heaven" sung by Mars; "Roar" sung by Perry; "Royals" sung by Lorde, and "Same Love" sung by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis was also nominated for Best New Artist, against Lamar, country singer Kacey Musgraves and British singer-songwriters James Blake and Ed Sheeran.
The 56th annual Grammy Awards show will include a "Grammy moment" bringing together country music veterans Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and Blake Shelton.
The show, at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, will climax with a rock supergroup featuring Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl and Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham.
Presenters include Cyndi Lauper, Yoko Ono, Smokey Robinson, and Jared Leto - who is basking in awards season glory for the Oscar-nominated activist film "Dallas Buyers Club," but who also fronts an LA band, "30 Seconds to Mars."
McCartney will accept a lifetime achievement award for the Beatles, one of seven to receive the honour also including Kristofferson, the Isley Brothers and German electro music pioneers Kraftwerk.
McCartney and Starr will also reunite for a Grammys tribute event being recorded Monday, and set to air on February 9 - the 50th anniversary of their appearance on the Ed Sullivan show, launching Beatlemania in the United States.