5 Most Memorable Vocal Performances of the Grammy Awards

Jamie Freedman

Performing at the Grammy Awards is as much of an honor as being nominated for the award itself. This year’s Grammy Awards will feature Rihanna and Adele to Justin Bieber and Carrie Underwood. But every-so-often the Awards Ceremony delights viewers with a truly unforgettable performance. We looked back on the past year’s shows, and picked five that we can’t get out of our heads. We’re not sure if this year’s performers will be able to top these, but we’d love to see them try.

Best Pairing – Beyoncé & Tina Turner

2008, 50th Grammy Awards.

What can we say about how wonderful it was to see Beyoncé and the absolutely incredible Tina Turner perform “Proud Mary” together? In her intro, Beyoncé calls Turner “The Queen,” embodying glamour, soul, passion, talent and strength. Let’s not forget that Turner is edging up on 70 in this performance, in silver spandex too! 

Best Last-Minute Replacement – Aretha Franklin

1998, 40th Grammy Awards.

Due to doctor’s orders, Luciano Pavarotti cancelled his Grammy Performance. With only minutes’ notice, Aretha Franklin stepped in and stunned the world with her soulful interpretation of “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s Turnadot.

Most Athletic Performance – P!nk

2010, 52nd Grammy Awards.

For those who were not familiar that P!nk was a gymnast for several years before she made it in the music world, it might have been surprising when she sang “Glitter in the Air” while spinning on silk ropes in the air over the audience. The powerhouse vocalist’s performance was breathtakingly beautiful, especially after being dipped in water as the final move. One can’t help but wonder how the celebrities seated below felt about getting wet.

Best Career-High Performance – Whitney Houston

1994, 36th Grammy Awards.

This 1994 performance of “I Will Always Love You” has not only gone down in Grammy history as one of the best, but also in music history. Whitney Houston was at the top of her game, and the song earned her three Grammys that year.

Best Raw Performance – Michael Jackson

1988, 30th Grammy Awards.

It really is impossible to beat the King of Pop. In this medley of “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Man in the Mirror,” Michael Jackson shows off his signature dance moves as well as his vocal chops. The second half of this performance focuses on the song, and as he drops to his knees and the music drops out, and Michael improvises over the beat and gospel choir.


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Jamie Freedman
Love of The Beatles, Palestrina, Sharon Jones, Black Mirror, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Game of Thrones.
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