The 52nd Annual Grammy Awards air this Sunday, January 31. In honor, Access Hollywood counts down the most memorable moments from the show’s over half-decade history.
From Helen Reddy and Milli Vanilli, to Jennifer Hudson and Eminem with Elton John…. who will be #1?
Read on to find out!
10. Milli Vanilli (1990)
Maybe they will always be remembered for all the wrong reasons, but Milli Vanilli will go down in Grammy history as one of the Top Ten Grammy Moments when they won a Grammy in 1990 for “Best New Artist.” The world was in shock when it was revealed that the pair hadn’t sung a single note on their multi-platinum debut, “All or Nothing.” Milli Vanilli became the first artists to ever be stripped of their Grammy win.
9. Jennifer Hudson – “You Pulled Me Through” (2009)
It was hard not tear up when watching the touching 2009 Grammy performance by “Dreamgirls” star Jennifer Hudson. Despite coping with the murder of her mother, brother and nephew just four months earlier, Hudson was able to flawlessly pull off a legendary performance of her song “You Pulled Me Through,” marking her comeback to the spotlight. A full choir sang behind her adding even more emotion and passion to the piece. Hudson barely finished the song, as she too, got emotional singing the last lyric of the song in this unforgettable performance.
8. Michael Jackson – “Man in the Mirror” (1988)
If anyone knew how to put on a memorable performance, it was the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. In 1988, Jackson enchanted the crowd with his Grammy performance of his Billboard topping song, “Man in the Mirror.” His high-energy performance integrated his signature MJ dance moves, including a never-before-witnessed quadruple spin, accompanied by a full choir of voices behind him. Of course, this wasn’t the only or last great performance we got out of Jackson throughout the years.
7. Helen Reddy (1973)
A controversial acceptance speech lands itself in our most memorable Grammy moments. Accepting the Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, “I Am Woman,” in 1973, Helen Reddy thanked those who had contributed to her success. At the end of her speech she said, “I would like to thank God, because she makes everything possible.” Her mention of God as a “she” had CBS flooded with complaints and uproar of applause from the audience.
6. Melissa Etheridge and Joss Stone – “Piece of my Heart” (2005)
Melissa Etheridge and Joss Stone pay homage to Janis Joplin in the unforgettable performance of Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” at the 2005 Grammy Awards show. The song, packed with raw emotion, was Etheridge’s first public appearance since undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She bravely stepped out on the stage, her head bald from chemotherapy, and sang her heart out. Etheridge rocked out on her guitar as she and Stone sang in perfect harmony together, mixing Stone’s soothing voice with Etheridge’s famed raspy rocker’s tone. In that one performance, she declared her victory over a potentially deadly disease.
5. Michael Jackson – “Thriller” (1984)
Who other than The King of Pop could make our list not once, but twice? Nobody will forget the 26th Annual Grammy Awards when Michael Jackson was recognized with 12 nominations and eight Grammy wins. Jackson became the first to set the record for the most nominations in one year!
4. Yoko Ono’s Salute To John Lennon (1982)
One of the most touching moments in Grammy history brought an audience of thousands to their feet at the 1982 Grammy Awards. That year, Yoko Ono accepted the Grammy for Best Album on behalf of her deceased husband, the legendary John Lennon, just 15 months after she watched him be gunned down by a deranged fan. The applause from the crowd had a tremendous affect on Ono who afterwards said, “I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of love from the audience that (son) Sean and I felt as we walked to the podium…”
3. Jennifer Lopez’s Infamous Green Dress (2000)
No list of most memorable Grammy moments couldn’t include J.Lo’s infamous see thru jungle sarong that she wore to the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards in 2000. Accompanied by her boyfriend of the time, Sean “Diddy” Combs (at the time, Puff Daddy), Jennifer Lopez’s dress raised major eyebrows on the red carpet with its down-to-the-navel neckline. One wrong move would have meant a major malfunction (which fortunately never happened!). J.Lo’s dress is forever etched in our minds as the most daring of daring, and it launched a trend or revealing gowns (note: Toni Braxton’s similar gown in 2001).
2. Ricky Martin – “The Cup of Life” (1999)
How could we forget the performance that jump-started the career of Latin singing sensation Ricky Martin? He blew the U.S. away when he performed “The Cup of Life” at the 1999 Grammy Awards show. Maybe it was the song, maybe it was the dance moves, but we think maybe it was those leather pants!
1. Eminem Feat. Elton John – “Stan” (2001)
How can we forget the controversial 2001 Grammy performance by Eminem featuring Elton John? The gay community had previously criticized Eminem, about his homophobic lyrics making this Grammy duo an unexpected, but impressive one. When asked about his part in the performance, John told the Los Angeles Times, “I’m a big fan of [Eminem’s] music… I’d rather tear down walls between people than build them up.” Elton John played piano, singing the chorus to Eminem’s popular song “Stan.” The performance was a success, ending with a hug between John and Eminem and the two joining hands, as the audience applauded the new friendship.
HONORABLE MENTION MOMENTS:
Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya, And Lil Kim – Lady Marmalade (2002)
At the 2002 Grammys, Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya and Lil’ Kim teamed up with musical diva Patty LaBelle to perform the hit single “Lady Marmalade,” which the four younger singers had re-recorded for the “Moulin Rouge” film soundtrack. Originally sung by Patty LaBelle in 1975, the women gave an outstanding performance. It was steamy, it was sexy, and the unbelievable vocals earned them all, a well-deserved standing ovation.
Madonna with Gorillaz & De La Soul – “Hung Up / Feel Good Inc.” (2006)
Technology played a huge role at the Grammys in 2006 when music legend Madonna paired up with “virtual band” Gorillaz & hip-hop legends De La Soul to perform Gorillaz’ hit “Feel Good Inc.” and Madonna’s hit song, “Hung Up” together. The catch?… both the Gorillaz and Madonna appeared mostly in 3-D animation. Many had no idea Madonna wasn’t really on stage for half of the performance, until after the show! The trio from De La Soul were the only actual human beings on stage for most of the act.
Beyonce & Tina Turner – “Proud Mary” (2008)
Eight-time Grammy winner and legendary diva, Tina Turner united with modern diva, Beyonce Knowles, making for quite the memorable performance. The then 68 –year-old Turner proved she could still wow a crowd with her infamous hip-shaking dance moves while Beyonce kept up beside her.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard Runs The Stage (1998)
Believe it or not, Kanye West wasn’t the first to run on stage and steal an awards show winner’s thunder… In 1998, Wu-Tang Clan’s Ol’ Dirty Bastard stormed the stage, as Shawn Colvin was about to receive a Grammy for Song of the Year. O.D.B. made sure to praise his own group as he chatted it up with the audience. “I went and bought me an outfit today that costed a lot of money today, you know what I mean? Cause I’m thinkin’ that Wu Tang was gonna win.” He was sure to finish off his speech with a classy, “Wu Tang is the best!”
Bing Crosby’s Lifetime Achievement Award (1962)
Although the first Grammy Awards were presented in the year 1959, the well-known Lifetime Achievement Award didn’t make an appearance until 1962. This was the year that Bing Crosby became the very first recipient of the award, celebrating the incredible and significant contributions that he had accomplished in the recording industry.