Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Through the Years- My Favorite Grammy Performances

The Grammys this past weekend were one of the most watched ever- no doubt the discussions that were occurring on social media contributed- but if one thing is clear, its that year in and year out, people looooove to talk about the musical performances- and with good reason.  Musical performances seem to be stepped up for the Grammys, each year with there being one or two in particular that people can't stop talking about.  Here are a few of my favorites from years past.

Anyone who didn't know who Mumford & Sons were before last year's Grammys sure as hell did after this night.  Starting with a raucous- as -hell performance of "The Cave" (they really get going right around the :45 mark HERE), and then onto a number with Bob Dylan and the Avett Brothers, it'll make you tired just watching these guys rock it out in one hell of an on-stage party.  Video of it is hard to come by, but here's a 'homemade' video (complete with background coughing) of the full performances:

John Mayer, Norah Jones, and Keith Urban honored Dolly Parton with a trio performance of "Jolene".  Keith and John offer up the steady beat and guitar, and Norah's voice (accompanied by John & Keith's) just plain old sounds cool against Keith & John's guitars.

Cee Lo & Gwyneth
Like a modern day Elton John-Big Bird muppet hybrid, its a fun, playful performance and doesn't try to be anything else (although I never really got the whole "Gwyneth Paltrow is a singer" thing), but regardless....who doesn't love Muppets?

One of my all-time favorite Grammy performances.  Even if you aren't a Pink fan, just watch the whole thing.  This is what a 'performance' is all about.

As I always say, I love an unexpected combo, like this performance of Coldplay with Jay Z from the 2009 Grammys:

For those who forgot, Adele existed before her current album (21) with her album 19, which included the song "Chasing Pavements". Here's her Grammy performance of the song from 2009, with Jennifer Nettles from Sugarland joining in:

The Grammys are really all about entertainment, and I'm not sure what could be more entertaining than this 2008 performance by Kanye West with Daft Punk:

Not to be outdone, Beyonce and Tina Turner stole the show with their duet:

John Mayer, Corinne Bailey Rae, and John Legend performing their songs with help from each other.  Its a really simple performance, but the simplicity of seeing three people just doing their thing (and who are really good at it) is amazing to watch:

U2 and Mary J. Blige perform "One".  We all remember this one.  For a reason.

Madonna performing "Hung Up" at the 2006 Grammys was pure entertainment. As Madonna knows best.

In 2003, James Taylor and Yo Yo Ma collaborated on a sweat and soft performance of "Sweet Baby James":

The 2002 Grammys were the first that aired post- 9/11, and similar to U2 performing at halftime at the Superbowl that same year, U2 sang "Walk On" at the Grammys with poignancy and respect:

In 2002, Alicia Keys graced the Grammy stage for the first time with a rousing rendition of her first hit, "Fallin'":

U2's landmark album All That You Can't Leave Behind was released in 2001, an album that post- 9/11 would evolve to have more meaning than anyone could have initially imagined, as evidenced by the aforementioned seminal Superbowl halftime performance.  This performance was before:

1993 was the year of "Tears in Heaven", which was one of those songs that permeated the airwaves at every turn- and with good reason, given the emotional reason for the song (Eric Clapton wrote it in an effort to deal with his grief over the tragic death of his 4 year old son). He performed the song at the Grammys that year:

Michael Jackson's performance included "The Way You Make Me Feel" and an incredible performance of "Man In The Mirror" (with full chorus and lots of MJ moves):

In the days of jelly bracelets and Madonna-lace-gloves, Cyndi Lauper performed the timeless "Time After Time":

What are some of your favorite Grammy performances?

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