Hallelujah, my favorite day of the year is here!
Last year I created a countdown of my seven favorite Grammy performances – a week’s worth of daily posts before the big show! Even after 2013’s great production, including a JT comeback and collaborative tributes to both Bob Marley and The Band’s Levon Helm, my original top seven remain the same today. Now, I just added a few more and put them into one collective post for your viewing pleasure. Embrace the nostalgia and prepare to be enthralled:
10. Jay Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, T.I., and M.I.A. performing “Swagger Like Us” in 2009
This song will forever remind me of my freshman year of college, and I will always remember being in complete awe throughout this entire performance, mostly because M.I.A. was about to pop. And she did, three days later.
9. Whitney Houston performing “I Will Always Love You” in 1994
One word: chills. Whitney was supposed to perform at the legendary Clive Davis’ after party in 2012, the night after she suddenly passed away. A show that spends months planning and practicing was suddenly struck with tragedy and had 24 hours notice to pay tribute to a beloved member of the music community. That’s when Jennifer Hudson stepped in and performed a more somber, yet impeccable, version of this very song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqTh1MwKB9w
8. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss performing “Rich Woman/Gone Gone Gone” in 2009
As Led Zeppelin’s self-proclaimed biggest fan, I may be a bit biased here, but seeing Robert Plant perform 15 ft away from me last year was easily the most euphoric moment of my life. Therefore, he always deserves a spot in my top ten. But to back me up a bit, the year that he and Alison graced the Grammy stage was also the same year they took home five awards, including Album of the Year, for Raising Sand. Zeppelin has yet to receive that many Grammys to this day. However, they are up for two noms this year for their 2012 release of Celebration Day. Fingers crossed!
7. Sting, Dave Matthews, Vince Gill, and Pharrell Williams performing “I Saw Her Standing There” in 2004
This is what the Grammys are all about: music lovers coming together on one of the most fun nights of the year to recognize each other’s unique and remarkable talents. And who doesn’t love a good Beatles tribute?
6. Pink performing “Glitter In The Air” in 2010
I’m just going to come right out and say it – I hate Pink’s music. However, this is the most amazing performance I have ever seen. What she did up there left every other artist in awe. I’ve seen her perform live and she is in fact an acrobat. How can she do that and simultaneously hit her high notes? I have no idea, but it’s one incredible, poetic piece of art. Be sure to check out her performance at the 2012 American Music Awards as well!
5. Smokey Robinson, Usher, Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, and Carrie Underwood performing “Earth Song” in 2010
I believe this to be one of the most underrated songs of our generation. Its message is loud yet none of us seem to truly hear it. When Michael Jackson suddenly passed away that summer, these legends came together to honor his message in the Grammy’s first ever 3D performance – and it was breathtaking.
4. Beyonce performing “If I Were A Boy/You Oughtta Know” in 2010
This was clearly a great year for the Grammys with three performances on my list, but Beyonce obviously takes the cake. Singing the ultimate girl power medley, B got another standing ovation from her talented peers. I even got to play with the sound production of this song when I visited the Grammy museum in Los Angeles – and it was incredible!
3. Christina Aguilera performing “A Man’s World” in 2007
I couldn’t imagine anyone else paying tribute to James Brown as well as Aguilera did here. She poured every ounce of emotion she had into this performance. It’s a phenomenal example of a classic song done right.
2. Eminem and Elton John performing “Stan” in 2001
Another one of the most memorable moments in Grammy history- instead of hearing Dido’s backup vocals from the original radio release, audiences were stunned to see Elton John at Eminem’s side in one of his most raw performances to date. Both singers are well known for picking feuds with other celebrities, including each other. Then, they joined forces and erupted the Grammy stage, leaving both their own peers and the viewers at home speechless.
1. Michael Jackson performing “The Way You Make Me Feel/Man In The Mirror” in 1988
Once MJ graced the Grammy stage that year, it was never the same. Even with our advanced technology, creative set designers and brilliant collaborations that have made so many other performances stand out since then, Michael remains king because he simply needs no gimmicks. It reminds me of what Sheryl Crow once said- that many performers have the ability to entertain a room, but Michael actually changed the molecules.
This Sunday, January 26th brings another promising crew of performers, including the recently announced duet of Beyonce and Jay Z! Other performances to look forward to include Paul McCartney, Lorde, Kendrick Lamar, Daft Punk, and Macklemore. For some reason they have also invited Taylor Swift back to the stage, for the umpteenth year in a row, despite me annually throwing inanimate objects at the screen throughout her entire “performance”… Silly Academy.
Although I believe many of the nominees this year were chosen wisely, I do predict Lorde and Daft Punk just might be the night’s big winners. And if Same Love doesn’t win Song of the Year, I will probably be throwing more than a fit. (Remember, Record of the Year recognizes the entire production of a song, where Song of the Year focuses solely on the songwriting and writer.)
Happy award season, folks!
Now, what are your favorite Grammy performances of all time?