Despite technical issues such as sound plaguing the 58th Annual Grammy Awards Monday night on CBS at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the music industry’s biggest TV event featured a number of memorable tributes to those who recently passed away to a first ever live Broadway opening number to Kendrick Lamar’s fiery performance. The big winners included Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” for Song of the Year, a tearful Meghan Trainor graciously accepting her Grammy for Best New Artist, “1989” was Album of the Year with Taylor Swift giving an acerbic acceptance speech, and not surprising Record of the Year went to “Uptown Funk.”
A majority of the three-and-a-half hour Grammy Awards live broadcast featured musical tributes that started off with MusiCares Person of the Year recipient Lionel Ritchie. Performers included John Legend, Demi Lovato, Luke Bryan, Tyrese, and Lionel Ritchie closing out his medley of hits. Stevie Wonder and Pentatonix performed an acapella of “That’s the Way of the World” in honor of Earth, Wind & Fire’s Maurice White. Members of the Eagles, along with Jackson Browne, performed “Take it Easy” for the late Glenn Frey. The most awaited tribute of the night was for Lady Gaga’s medley of David Bowie hits that included “Space Oddity” to “Heroes” and everything else in between.
For the first time in Grammy history they featured a “live” Broadway opening number performance from the smash hip hop musical “Hamilton” on President’s Day no less. The live feed went to New York City’s Richard Rodgers Theatre as the cast performed “Alexander Hamilton” starring Lin-Manuel Miranda as Hamilton, one of the founding fathers (and on the ten dollar bill). Later in the telecast, in a rare category presentation during primetime, the Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album went to “Hamilton” with Lin-Manuel cleverly rapping his acceptance speech during the Broadway show’s intermission.
One of the most memorable performances of the 2016 Grammy Awards was for Kendrick Lamar’s incendiary performance off his Grammy-winning Best Rap Album “To Pimp A Butterfly.” To say it was on fire is being literal and to some degree metaphorical with a concoction of music genres that included traditional jazz, fuse rap, reggae, and African. Flames could be seen on stage as Lamar made his political plea. Adele returned to the Grammy stage after several years absence, only to have it marred with a less than stellar performance of “All I Ask.” It was obvious she was struggling at times with the sound glitches.
Taylor Swift’s opening number was difficult to hear at times in the beginning. Other tribute performances were also for B.B. King by Chris Stapleton, Gary Clark Jr., and Bonnie Raitt. Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, and Joe Perry (Aerosmith), who comprise of the Hollywood Vampires, performed hits by the late Motorhead founder Lemmy Kilmister. Here is a complete list of winners from the Grammy Awards.