By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
Tomorrow night, music’s biggest artists and producers will gather at the Staples Center for the 58th Annual Grammy Awards!
But, before host LL Cool J and the rest of the performers will take the stage, Jake’s Take is looking back on some of the best moments from the past 16 years!
A Supernatural Night for Santana (2000)
2000 was the first year that my folks let me watch the Grammy Awards. While Whitney, Britney, the Backstreet Boys and Sir Elton were amongst the performers that took the Grammy stage, it was a huge night for legendary rocker Carlos Santana. He tied Michael Jackson for winning the most Grammys in a single evening (eight). Santana triumphantly ended the night by performing the song that brought him back to the top of the charts: “Smooth” with fellow collaborator Rob Thomas.
Eminem + Elton (2001)
The LGBT community was up in arms when they found out that the controversial emcee was going to perform at the Grammys and vowed to protest music’s biggest night. Grammy producers reassured that they have a remedy that would satisfy them: enter music icon Elton John. The openly gay music legend teamed up with Slim Shady to perform “Stan,” a cautionary tale of an out of control fan turned stalker. Their collaboration was not only one of the 2001 Grammy Awards’ top highlights, but Eminem also gained a new mentor in Elton John.
Simon & Garfunkel reunite at the Grammys (2003)
One of music’s most powerful (and tumultuous) partnerships is Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. Throughout their career, the two singer-songwriters created some of the most folk rock’s recognizable anthems. Despite their differences and riffs over the years, the duo surprised music lovers with a reunion at the 2003 Grammy Awards. Using only their voices and Paul Simon’s guitar, the duo performed a haunting cover of “The Sound of Silence” that gave the Madison Square Garden audience chills.
A Piece of Melissa Etheridge’s Heart (2005)
Rocker Melissa Etheridge showed millions of people around the world what real bravery looked like during the 2005 Grammy Awards. Two weeks after going through chemotherapy, Melissa Etheridge stepped onto the Grammy stage to pay homage to one of her heroes: Janis Joplin. She turned “Piece of My Heart” into an anthem for cancer survivors everywhere. Also, her primal roar near the decrescendo of the track, gave everyone goose bumps.
Christina Aguilera pays homage to the Godfather of Soul (2007)
When it came time to pay homage to the late James Brown, Grammy producers turned to future Voice coach and former Best New Artist winner Christina Aguilera to perform the Godfather of Soul’s iconic anthem: “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” From the word, “Go,” Christina Aguilera’s high octane performance showcased spectacular vocal riffs that would have sent Mr. Brown over the moon. I think this performance cemented Christina’s place at the top of her generation’s most gifted performers.
Mary J. Blige owns the night (2007)
But Xtina was not the only diva that soared during the 2007 Grammy Awards, Mary J. Blige won three Grammys including Best R&B Album and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Also, the popular singer-rapper performed a medley of powerful R&B tunes that were featured on Ms. Blige’s 2005 Album: The Breakthrough. Accompanied by an orchestra, Ms. Blige flew to new vocal heights with her take on “Be Without You”/”Stay With Me.” This performance remains one of the benchmark performances from the 2000s.
A Tale of Two Legends (2008)
Ever since I saw Beyoncé pay homage to her idol, Tina Turner, at the 2005 Kennedy Center Honors, I hoped that the two superstar singers would perform together. During the Grammys 50th Anniversary Ceremony, the “Irreplaceable” singer joined forces with her hero to deliver a roaring cover of “Proud Mary.” Their team-up remains one of the best collaborations of all-time.
Jennifer Hudson’s emotional night (2009)
The Oscar winner and American Idol alum had a rough 2008 when three of her family members were murdered in cold blood. Ms. Hudson made her second public appearance since that awful tragedy at the 2009 Grammy Awards, where she received the Best R&B Album award from her personal idol: Whitney Houston. During the ceremony, Ms. Hudson gave an emotional performance of “You Pulled Me Through” that gave everyone chills.
When Gaga met Elton (2010)
During the beginning of her music career, the Grammy producers asked Lady Gaga to open up the 2010 ceremony. Mother Monster created a brilliant production that took fans inside the monstrous Fame Factory. After she performed “Poker Face,” a roughed up Lady Gaga returned to the stage alongside Sir Elton John, who brilliantly weaved together “Speechless” and “Your Song” in a spectacular performance.
A Tribute to Michael Jackson (2010)
The 51st Grammy Awards paid homage to the late King of Pop by brilliantly incorporating 3-D footage from Michael Jackson’s This is It’s “Earth Song” segment and having five of the most recognizable voices in the music industry cover the 1995 anthem during the 2010 Grammys. After a brief introduction by Lionel Richie, Celine Dion, Usher, Smokey Robinson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson performed a beautiful interpretation of “Earth Song” that featured Jackson’s vocals on a backing track. This very special memory remains one of my favorite Grammy moments because it was the first time that four different musical genres (country, pop, R&B and Soul) came together to honor one of the greatest artists of all-time.
A Funky “Forget You” (2011)
Before CeeLo Green became a Voice coach, the “Forget You” singer was nominated for four Grammys for his highly acclaimed 2010 album: The Lady Killer. For his Grammy performance, the soul man transported the audience to a soulful planet filled with funky Muppets that accompanied the five-time Grammy winner. He also brought out actress-singer Gwyneth Paltrow, who famously covered the track during her acclaimed guest appearance on Glee. The duo showcased so much chemistry during the performance that made the audience smile throughout the four-minute performance.
Adele becomes the Queen of the Grammys (2012)
Throughout 2011, there was one album that dominated the music industry: Adele’s 21. Her sophomore album peaked at number one on 26 countries’ music charts and revitalized CD sales across the United States and the United Kingdom. She also became one of the few artists to win all six awards that she was nominated for including Record of the Year and Album of the Year. Adele cemented her status as one of the greatest artists of her generation with a rousing edition of the song that put her at the top: “Rolling in the Deep.”
Music legends “Get Lucky” with Daft Punk (2014)
In 2013, French electronic duo Daft Punk conquered the music industry with their number one disco-funk smash “Get Lucky,” which they co-wrote with Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers. The track peaked at number one on four different Billboard charts and 33 countries’ music charts. For the 2014 Grammys, the quartet recruited soul icon Stevie Wonder, who helped the group create the ultimate version of “Get Lucky” that blended several classics together: “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” “Le Freak” and “Another Star.” his performance united multiple generations of artists together (It was amazing to see the Beatles family, Steven Tyler, Marc Anthony, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Keith Urban, Beyoncé and Jay-Z get down on the Staples Center floor).
I do not own the clips that were featured in the article. They belong to CBS & The Recording Academy.