Mary J. Blige, whose album "The Breakthrough" was perhaps the biggest in her career, was nominated for a leading eight...

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LOS ANGELES — Mary J. Blige, whose album “The Breakthrough” was perhaps the biggest in her career, was nominated for a leading eight Grammy Awards Thursday, including R&B album, record and song of the year. The Red Hot Chili Peppers were also multiple nominees, garnering six.

Other multiple nominees were the Dixie Chicks, British newcomer James Blunt, John Mayer, Prince and the Black Eyed Peas’ Will i Am.

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The R&B veteran was nominated record of the year for “Be Without You” and song of the year for the same track.

“That’s a beautiful thing, that I’m still going,” Blige, 35, said. ” ‘The Breakthrough’ is about triumph, about not being a victim, but being a victor. It’s about loving yourself.”

Seattle’s Death Cab for Cutie band received two nominations — for the song “I Will Follow You Into the Dark,” in Best Pop Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocal, and for the video “Directions,” produced by Noah Gelb, in Best Long Form Music Video.

Nominees for album of the year included the Dixie Chicks’ “Taking the Long Way,” Gnarls Barkley’s “St. Elsewhere,” Mayer’s “Continuum,” Justin Timberlake’s “FutureSex/LoveSounds” and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Stadium Arcadium.”

Corinne Bailey Rae, a silky pop-soul singer from Britain, was nominated for best new artist, but was a surprise nominee for record of the year for “Put Your Records On.” Other nominees in that category were Blunt’s ubiquitous ballad, “You’re Beautiful,” Gnarls Barkley’s psychedelic groove, “Crazy,” and the Dixie Chicks’ angry “Not Ready to Make Nice.”

Besides Rae, other nominees for best new artist included teen R&B singer Chris Brown, Imogen Heap, Blunt and former “American Idol” winner Carrie Underwood. Gnarls Barkley, a duo of producer Danger Mouse and rapper/singer Cee-Lo, were surprisingly shut out. However, they did receive four nominations.

Chicks recognized

The Dixie Chicks’ five nominations were a triumph for a group who weathered boycotts from the country-music establishment and a drop in album sales after lead singer Natalie Maines criticized President Bush in 2003. “Taking the Long Way,” which found the trio leaning more toward rock, was still ignored by country-music radio. But the defiant album still was a best-seller, and was nominated for country album of the year among its other nominations.

Besides album of the year, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ acclaimed “Stadium Arcadium” was nominated for rock album, and the song, “Dani California,” was nominated for best rock performance by a duo or group with vocal. “Dani California” also received a nomination in the rock song category.

James Blunt, who was on hand at the announcement ceremony, capped his stellar year with five nods.

The 49th Grammy Awards will air on CBS Feb. 11.