Rihanna. Frank Ocean. Taylor Swift. Alicia Keys. Jack White. These are just a few of stars that are set to potentially shine on stage for the 55th annual Grammy Awards Sunday night.
So what better way to prep for the biggest night in music than by running down some of the most notable performances ever on the big awards show.
As you will see, not all of the infamous ones on this list were because the artist killed it. Some lip-synched. Some (soy) bombed. Some were jaw-droppers. And some just plain awesome.
Here’s ten that made the grade for differing reasons:
Madonna/Gorillaz/De La Soul, “Feel Good Inc.”/”Hung Up,” 1996
If anyone asks what the first ever hologram band was, you can tell them it was Gorillaz. The cartoon group teamed up with De La Soul (who aren’t even mentioned) and Madonna for a mish-mash of musical samplings which culminated in an unforgettable Grammy showing.
Radiohead, “15 Step,” 2009
Thom Yorke and co. pulled out all the stops by bringing along the USC Trojan Marching Band for the 2009 Grammy Awards. With all the people on stage, it could have been a disaster but turned out to be a match made in heaven.
Bob Dylan, “Love Sick,” 1998
Bob Dylan was in his glory after taking home the 1998 Grammy for Album of the Year for “Time Out of Mind,” but it was an attention seeker that will always be remembered during his performance. A shirtless man with the words “Soy Bomb” painted on his chest began gyrating around the stage in a bizarre dance, while an unfazed Dylan played on. The man, later known as Michael Portnoy, was escorted away by security after about a minute. It was later revealed that he was hired to dance behind Dylan during the performance, but changed the plan. So what does “Soy Bomb” mean? “Soy represents dense nutritional life,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “Bomb is, obviously, an explosive destructive force. So, soy bomb is what I think art should be: dense, transformational, explosive life.”
Marvin Gaye, “Sexual Healing,” 1983
It was the year and moment that soul legend Marvin Gaye’s comeback was complete. After being hitless for years, Gaye turned up the heat on this night, putting in a stellar performance of “Sexual Healing” (despite some feedback), and taking home two Grammys to boot. Sadly, a year later, he was shot and killed by his own father after an argument at the family home.
Milli Vanilli, “Girl You Know It’s True,” 1990
They’ll always have their night in the Grammy sun. They “sung” in front of millions and right after, took home the award for Best New Artist. You know the rest.
Trust me, watching the video is worth the effort once you see the priceless reaction on Ozzy Osbourne’s face after it’s over.
Michael Jackson, “Man in the Mirror,” 1988
Michael Jackson was known for his over-the-top performances, but on this night, it was a stripped down and moving rendition of his hit song had the audience on their feet.
Eminem/Elton John, “Stan,” 2001
This much-hyped (and gripping) duet had tongues wagging at the time. Slim Shady was being targeted by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation due to his homophobic lyrics, and had actually protested outside the Grammy Awards in 2001 because of his participation. What’s the best way of thumbing your nose at the protests? Get Elton John to help you out.
Tina Turner/Beyonce, “Proud Mary,” 2008
Tina Turner and Beyonce teamed up for a blistering rendition of the Creedance Clearwater Revival song, blending two different generations of soulfulness. No Ike needed.
Pink, “Glitter in the Air,” (2010)
Pink gets her Cirque on by getting wrapped up in a sheet, getting soaked in water, and getting high in the sky.
Kanye West/Jamie Foxx, “Gold Digger,” 2006
The twosome get the usually conservative star-studded audience out of their seats for this high-energy version of a tune that usually gets the party hoppin’.