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Alicia Keys To Amy Winehouse: 7 Happenings At The 50th GRAMMY Awards
Held at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles on Feb. 10, 2008, the 50th GRAMMY Awards was a celebration worthy of Music's Biggest Night's golden anniversary.
One of several editions in GRAMMY Awards history where there was no single host playing the role of primary MC during the main Awards telecast, the 50th GRAMMY Awards were perhaps most notable — even more so than in years past — for the stunning collection of performers who took to the GRAMMY stage throughout the evening.
Whether it was the Foo Fighters taking over L.A. Live's outdoor plaza just outside the telecast venue, Kanye West blowing minds alongside French dance pioneers Daft Punk or Andrea Bocelli delivering a heart-wrenching swan song for the late Luciano Pavarotti, the GRAMMYs' golden anniversary was packed with unforgettable moments.
Take a look back at just a handful of music's most memorable moments from the 50th GRAMMYs.
Past Meets Present: Alicia Keys Backs Up Frank Sinatra
The night opened with a restatement of the Recording Academy's mission statement: "We honor our past, we celebrate the present and we always look toward the future." Thereafter, Alicia Keys took to the GRAMMY Stage to demonstrate that statement in an inspirational marriage of performance and technology through a commanding "duet" with a nearly 50-year-old black-and-white recording of Frank Sinatra singing "Learnin' The Blues."
Morris Day And The Time Bring The House Down
Prince contemporaries and influential pioneers of the Minneapolis Sound Morris Day And The Time brought the funk to the GRAMMY Stage for their first live performance in 15 years. They were joined in top form by Rihanna and Time member Jimmy Jam, coming together to rip through a medley of the Time's "Jungle Love" and Rihanna's GRAMMY-winning and GRAMMY-nominated (respectively) hits "Umbrella" and "Don't Stop The Music." Following Rihanna's transition to center stage, the Time returned to reprise "Jungle Love" and close out the unforgettable set.
A Touching Sendoff For Pavarotti
Five-time GRAMMY winner and GRAMMY Legend honoree Luciano Pavarotti died tragically in 2007. Following the annual In Memoriam segment honoring the musicians the community lost during the previous year, Andrea Bocelli took the stage alongside Josh Groban to sing Bocelli's "The Prayer." Prior to beginning the elegiac ballad, Bocelli announced, "I am here to honor the memory of one of the greatest artists of our time, Luciano Pavarotti."
Kanye West Parties With The Robots
Coming into the night as the artist with the most overall nominations — and leaving as one of the night's biggest winners after taking home four GRAMMY wins for his successful third album Graduation — Kanye West ascended the GRAMMY stage amid surging pyrotechnics to stand at the foot of French techno legends Daft Punk's signature pyramid-shaped DJ booth for a show-stopping performance of West's Best Rap Solo Performance-winning hit "Stronger." Aside from being one of the most anticipated performances of the evening, the set marked first-ever televised performance of Daft Punk's career.
Foo Fighters And John Paul Jones Are Too Big To Contain
Spurred in part by the social media campaign My GRAMMY Moment, built around activating young musicians who were frequent users of the still-nascent video sharing platform YouTube, GRAMMY-winning perennial arena rockers Foo Fighters, joined by none other than Led Zepplin's very own John Paul Jones, held court at a huge outdoor stage in the Nokia Plaza just outside Staples Center. A group of My GRAMMY Moment finalists were included in the open-air performance, and together they ripped through the Foos' Best Hard Rock Performance GRAMMY-winning "The Pretender."
A Homerun For Amy Winehouse
Surely the biggest story of the night was the string of GRAMMY successes earned by R&B singer Amy Winehouse. Though nominated for a total of six awards that night — and also scheduled to perform — Winehouse, fresh out of a rehabilitation treatment program, was denied a visa to fly to the U.S. Though the decision was ultimately reversed, it was too late to make it to Los Angeles. Instead, her stunning performances of "You Know I'm No Good" and megahit "Rehab," as well as her five GRAMMY acceptance speeches for Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Best New Artist, Record Of The Year, and Song Of The Year, were all broadcast via satellite.
Icons Of Rock Close The Show
Forming an impromptu rock supergroup, and reminding the gathered celebrants that sometimes the old ways are still the best ways, rock and roll legends John Fogerty, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard took the GRAMMY stage as Icons of Rock to close the night out with a no-holds-barred set of Fogerty's "Comin' Down The Road," Lewis' "Great Balls Of Fire" and Richard's " Good Golly Miss Molly." What better way to cap off a historic evening?