54th annual Grammys: Bruce Springsteen performs, LL Cool J prays for Whitney Houston

The 54th annual Grammy awards began with a song and a prayer.

Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen performs at the 54th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)The 54th annual Grammy awards began with a song and a prayer.

“Are you alive out there?” asked Bruce Springsteen.

Clad in a black t-shirt and jeans, the 62-year-old superstar sang like he was a decade or two younger; leaping to the opening beat of “We Take Care of Our Own.”

Backed by The E Street band, the single is being called Springsteen’s new “Born in the U.S.A.”

And the song’s lyrics, , “I’ve been knockin’ on the door that holds the throne /
I’ve been lookin’ for the map that leads me home” seemed fitting for a room mourning the loss of vocalist Whitney Houston, who died Saturday morning in Beverly HIlls.

Standing on their feet, the audience, including fans like Taylor Swift and Fergie applauded widely.

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“As always, Bruce Springsteen is speaking to our times,” said host LL Cool J. “There is no way around this — we’ve had a death in our family. For me, the only thing that feels right is a prayer.”

Houston, 48, performed eight times at the Grammys between 1986 and 2000; she also bagged six awards as a vocalist.

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