meta-scriptMick Jagger, Will Smith, Mindy Kaling, Nick Jonas, A.R. Rahman And More Confirmed For 'I For India' Coronavirus Fundraiser |
Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones performs in 2018

Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones performs in 2018

Photo: Matthew Baker/Getty Images


Mick Jagger, Will Smith, Mindy Kaling, Nick Jonas, A.R. Rahman And More Confirmed For 'I For India' Coronavirus Fundraiser

Taking place May 3, the four-hour long benefit concert, presented in partnership with Facebook, will be India's largest fundraiser concert

GRAMMYs/May 2, 2020 - 09:31 pm

This weekend, the world's leading actors, artists and musicians are coming together as part of the "I For India" benefit concert, a home-to-home fundraiser event helping to raise donations for those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in India. Presented in partnership with Facebook, the concert will feature performances and appearances from some of the biggest stars from Hollywood as well as India's thriving entertainment industry, including Mick Jagger, Will Smith, Mindy Kaling, Jack Black, Nick Jonas, Sophie Turner, Bryan Adams, A.R. Rahman, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Akshay Kumar, Virat Kohli and several others. 

"I For India," India's largest fundraiser concert, according to the event's Facebook Fundraisers page, will stream live globally on Facebook Sunday, May 3, at 10 a.m. EST/7:30 p.m. IST. All proceeds from the event will go to the India COVID Response Fund, which is managed by GiveIndia, the country's largest donation platform. Fans can donate now and during the concert.

Watch the livestream below.

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According to India's The Economic Times, "I For India" aims to entertain the country's citizens who are facing a nationwide lockdown; pay tribute to frontline workers; and raise funds for those struggling to find work, food and shelter. 

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"I For India" marks the grand finale of Facebook's #SocialForGood Live-athon, a weeklong charitable initiative aimed at raising donations for charities and organizations to use toward various COVID-19 relief efforts. 

The benefit concert comes as India faces nearly 38,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 1,200 deaths, at the time of this writing. While restrictions have been recently loosened in the country, India continues its nationwide lockdown, the world's largest coronavirus lockdown, according to The New York Times.

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Colombian singer Shakira performs with Argentine record producer and songwriter Bizarrap on the Sahara Stage during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, on April 12, 2024

Photo: VALERIE MACON / AFP) (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images


Coachella 2024 Weekend 1 Recap: 20 Surprises And Special Moments, From Billie Eilish & Lana Del Rey To Olivia Rodrigo With No Doubt

Weekend 1 of Coachella 2024 is a wrap, and the internet can’t stop talking about it. Here are 20 surprises and special moments from Coachella so far, including inspired team-ups, wackadoo moments in the clutch, and much more.

GRAMMYs/Apr 15, 2024 - 09:11 pm

It may be hard to believe, but Weekend 1 of Coachella 2024 is already over. Clearly, time flies when you’re having fun — particularly when beholding the world’s leading artists, convened in the Indio desert in California.

If you weren’t there, the festival was filmed, of course. You can enjoy Coachella from the comfort of your own home, sans-sunburn, undrenched with champagne.

As you survey Coachella’s sold-out first weekend, read on for 20 performances, debuts and moments that surprised and touched us from Coachella Weekend 1.

Lana Del Rey's Headlining Set Brought Out GRAMMY Winners Billie Eilish, Jon Batiste & Jack Antonoff

After rolling deep up to her desert set on a fleet of motorcycles for her Friday performance, Lana Del Rey infused her iconic sad-girl pop persona into every facet of her Gatsby-esque performance. 
Her headlining set also included some special GRAMMY-winning guests: Jon Batiste and 2024 Producer Of The YearJack Antonoff both accompanied on piano, while Billie Eilish joined her idol on stage for duet performances of "Ocean Eyes" and "Video Games." Sharing a moment with her hero on stage at the end of the set, Eilish declared, "This is the reason for half you bitches’ existence, including mine.”

Tyler, The Creator Brings Out Childish Gambino, A$AP Rocky, Kali Uchis and Charlie Wilson

Saturday's main stage event kicked off with a ruckus 80-minute set by creative magnet Tyler, The Creator, who transformed the stage into an ever-changing desert scene to host fellow performers.

First up, Childish Gambino hit the stage to perform a duet of "Running Out of Time," before A$AP Rocky joined for a performance of two tracks, "Potato Salad" and "Who Dat Boy."

Tyler admitted he once saw both as rivals, but now considers them friends. Kali Uchis also returned to the desert stage with Tyler for a quick appearance as well as legendary singer/songwriter Charlie Wilson, who made an unexpected appearance to accompany Tyler on a laid-back version of "EARFQUAKE." 

No Doubt Made Their Grand Re-Entrance (With Olivia Rodrigo!)

No Doubt electrified Coachella with their first performance in nine years, featuring all original members and a blend of eclectic hits that defined their career. Their memorable reunion set highlighted their timeless appeal and was punctuated by a surprise appearance from pop sensation Olivia Rodrigo for a duet performance of No Doubt classic, "Bathwater."

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce Show Up To Support Ice Spice And Jack Antonoff's Bleachers

The Queen of Pop, Taylor Swift herself, showed up on Sunday with her boyfriend Travis Kelce among the crowds to support her friends: producer and Bleachers band member Jack Antonoff and Eras tourmate Ice Spice

Will Smith Joined J Balvin For The “Men In Black” Theme

What slap? Last year, Will Smith appeared at “A GRAMMY Salute To 50 Years Of Hip Hop” as one half of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. And at Coachella 2024, the world was treated to another throwback, as he and four-time GRAMMY nominee J Balvin performed the immortal theme to Men in Black.

Doja Cat Brought Out A$AP Rocky, 21 Savage and Teezo Touchdown

GRAMMY winner and 19-time nominee Doja Cat turned in a performance heavy on rap — and also puppet dinosaurs. As per the former, A$AP Rocky, 21 Savage and Teezo Touchdown touched down, collaborating with Doja on “Urrrge,” “N.H.I.E.,” and “Masc,” respectively.

Ice Spice Previewed A New Song Onstage

Something’s stirring in Ice Spiceworld. At Coachella, she wowed with her live debut of a new song that sampled Sean Paul’s 2005 track “Gimme the Light.” (She closed out with “Think U the Shit (Fart).”)

As reported earlier in April, Ice Spice is going to make her acting debut in Spike Lee’s new movie High and Low, starring Denzel Washington

Peso Pluma Made His Coachella Debut

¡Corridos tumbados de por vida! In the wake of his big win at the 2024 GRAMMYs — Best Música Mexicana Album (Including Tejano), for GÉNESIS Peso Pluma lit up Coachella 2024 with that signature fusion of folky guitar ballads and modern hip-hop, with special guests including Becky G and Arcángel.

Lil Uzi Vert Previewed A New Song Onstage

Ice Spice wasn’t the only act to preview new material at Coachella 2024. Enter four-time GRAMMY nominee Lil Uzi Vert, who performed a hypnotic and — again — unnamed track, one that seemed to be tailor-made for Coachella.

A Mini-Fugees Reunion Went Down (Thanks To YG Marley)

Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean are no strangers to reigniting the Fugees spirit onstage — they did so at Essence Fest 2022, while was reporting on site. This time, they kept it in the family; during Hill’s son YG Marley’s set, both Fugees came out, playing classics like “Killing Me Softly.” (The embattled Pras wasn’t present.)

Blur Announced This Was Their Last Performance Together

Social media is currently abuzz at the allegedly unresponsive audience for Blur — but what’s a viral, out-of-context clip supposed to prove, anyway? Whatever the case may be, after their rollicking set, Damon Albarn and company declared that the Britpop icons were entering another hiatus.

Bizarrap Brought Out Shakira

Mega-watt Argentine producer Bizarrap brought his BZRP Music Sessions to the Coachella stage and included a surprise appearance from superstar Shakira.

Shakira and Bizarrap won the Latin GRAMMY for Song Of The Year at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs for "Shakira: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53," a featured track on her fresh-out-the-trap album, Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran

Billie Eilish Threw A Special “Billie & Friends” Party & Hyped Up The Crowd With The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside”

After surprising fans during Lana Del Rey's Friday set, Billie Eilish treated fans and special guests to a preview of her new album, Hit Me Hard and Soft at the Do LaB Stage on Saturday night.

The previewed songs were well-received by an enthusiastic set of attendees who were introduced to yet-to-debut tracks "“Lunch,” "L’Amour De Ma Vie," and "Chihiro." 

"Yo Gabba Gabba!" Showed Up To The Aquabats’ Pool Party

Christian Jacobs, lead singer of the Aquabats, co-created the "Yo Gabba Gabba!" TV show — and the colorful cast of costumed characters showed up to their pool party! This marks yet another example of ska picking up at Coachella — see the transcendent No Doubt and Sublime performances.

Sublime Made Their Coachella Debut With Jakob Nowell

As you may have read, Sublime are back, against the odds — not with Rome, but with Jakob Nowell, original Sublime frontman Bradley’s son. (It must be said: Bradley died at 28, ending the band’s original run; as he takes the guitar and mic, Jakob himself is 28.)

Speaking of the guitar — he wielded his old man’s, in an emotional and electrifying set that proved these songs’ durability and beyond.

Vampire Weekend Brought Paris Hilton Onstage To Play Cornhole

Life imitates Mad Libs! The beloved indie rockers are out promoting their new album, 2024’s Only God Was Above Us — and who better to cheerlead than the one and only Paris Hilton, to play the classic bean bag game with the crew?

Dom Dolla Brought Out Nelly Furtado

Dance/electronic sensation Dom Dolla returned to Coachella for a charged set featuring festival first-timer Nelly Furtado who joined to perform their GRAMMY-nominated track, "Eat Your Man."

Furtado gave her all during the rousing performance, a testament to the duo's synergy after Dom Dolla brought the singer out of a six year hiatus to work together on the song.

Sky Ferreira Made A Surprise Appearance With Kevin Abstract

If Sky Ferreira seems like an unlikely candidate to belt out a Lady A hit, think again. The singer/songwriter brought newfound heft to the five-time GRAMMY winners’ classic hit, “Need You Now,” with Kevin Abstract.

Does this foreshadow a reappraisal of the country mainstays’ catalog? Once the dust settles re: the ska revival, we’ll have that conversation.

Kesha Showed Up To Rock With Reneé Rapp (And Diss A Certain Disgraced Rapper)

“Wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy,” Kesha once rapped, in her inescapable 2009 hit “Tik Tok.” Well, that didn’t age well, and Kesha knew that. So she changed “P. Diddy” to “me” — and if that’s just going to be the official lyric now, that’s fine by the music industry. Reneé Rapp, of Mean Girls fame, bolstered her.

Mac DeMarco Joined Forces With Lil Yachty

Mac DeMarco’s been a savvy chameleon at this stage in his career, prioritizing brainy collaborations over typical album release cycles.

He has two songwriting credits on Yachty’s game changing 2023 album Let’s Start Here, and during Yachty’s performance, he showed up to perform two of his song songs: “On The Level,” from 2017’s This Old Dog, and “Chamber of Reflection,” from his decade-old album Salad Days.

Additional reporting by Nina Frazier.

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Bryan Adams
Bryan Adams

Photo: Todd Owyoung / NBC via Getty Images


10 Fascinating Facts About Bryan Adams: From Writing For KISS To His Serious Side Hustle

The GRAMMY-winning singer and guitarist has sold over 75 million albums and is about to share his songs on the world stage. Ahead of his So Happy It Hurts tour, read on for 10 lesser-known facts about the raspy-voiced rocker.

GRAMMYs/Jan 19, 2024 - 02:54 pm

One of Canada's biggest rock stars, Bryan Adams has had a massively successful and sonically diverse career that spans 45 years. With one win and 16 GRAMMY nominations under his belt, Adams' prolific output includes numerous chart-topping albums and big-name collaborations.

Yet, for a man who has sold over 75 million albums and wants his music to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, Bryan Adams doesn't seem to seek the limelight. 

He’s not tabloid fodder, doesn’t date celebrities, and does not court controversy. While he certainly will promote his latest album or tour — and will begin his international tour on Jan. 20 in Montana —  but Adams is an intensely private individual who is selective with the interviews that he gives and in what he speaks about. He is also not a flamboyantly dressed performer, preferring the jeans and t-shirt that he has carried over from his very beginnings. Appropriately enough, he often calls his band the Dudes Of Leisure.

Adams’ most recent studio album is called So Happy It Hurts and recently released a 3-CD box set of live recordings of three classic albums performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall: Cuts Like A Knife, Into The Fire, and Waking Up The Neighbors.

Ahead of his So Happy It Hurts Tour — which will certainly see Adams perform hits "Summer Of ‘69," "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You," "Can’t Stop This Thing We Started" — read on for 10 lesser-known facts about the raspy-voiced rocker.

who has befriended and collaborated with an impressive range of artists across numerous media.

He Signed His First Contract For $1

Back in 1978, when was just 18 years old, Adams signed a recording contract with A&M Records who decided to take a chance on the fledgling rocker with a "wait and see" attitude. 

They signed him for the paltry sum of $1 which Adams insisted on receiving so he could frame it. 

While his first two albums, Bryan Adams (1980) and You Want It You Got It (1981) didn’t exactly set the world on fire, his third release Cuts Like A Knife (1983) went platinum in America and triple platinum in his native Canada, selling at least 1.5 million copies worldwide. Seems like A&M got a great return on their investment.

His Breakthrough Hit Was Written For Someone Else

In January 1983, producer Bruce Fairbairn asked Adams and songwriting partner Jim Vallance  to come up with a song for Blue Öyster Cult. Their original version of "Run To You" did not impress the band (or Adams) and they passed — so did .38 Special and other groups. 

When Adams needed one more song for 1984’s Reckless, he pulled out "Run" and taught it to his band. This time, everyone including album producer Bob Clearmountain was impressed. It became the album's lead single and Adams' biggest hit, peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. 

Although the previous Cuts Like A Knife had three hits singles and went platinum, Reckless spawned six hits ("Heaven" went No. 1) and turned Adams into a superstar, selling 5 million copies in America and reportedly 7 million more globally.

He’s Penned Dozens Of Songs For Others

Adams has co-written songs for numerous other artists, many of them hard rockers. In 1982, he and Vallance co-wrote "Rock and Roll Hell" and "War Machine" with Gene Simmons for the KISS album Creatures Of The Night; and he worked with Paul Stanley and Mikel Japp on "Down On Your Knees" for KISS Killers

That led to credits on albums by Ted Nugent, Motley Crue and Krokus (who used a leftover from Reckless). But the recipients of Adams’ songs span a wide range of artists including Neil Diamond, Tina Turner, Bonnie Raitt, Loverboy, .38 Special, and Anne Murray.

He Loves A Good Duet

Bryan Adams' duets often appear on movie soundtracks and tend to do well. His Reckless collaboration with Tina Turner, "It’s Only Love," was a Top 20 hit, peaking at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. But things got bigger from there. 

"All For Love," his song with Sting and Rod Stewart for the Three Musketeers film soundtrack (1993) went No. 1 in at least a dozen countries, selling nearly 2 million copies globally. He’s also duetted with Bonnie Raitt ("Rock Steady"), Barbra Streisand ("I Finally Found Someone" which went Top 10), and Melanie C from Spice Girls ("When You’re Gone"). He’s also recorded with Chicane, Pamela Anderson, Emmanuelle Seigner, Loverush UK, and Michael Bublé.

In recent years, Adams has said that he would like to duet with Beyonce and Lady Gaga. And in case you missed it, Taylor Swift once brought him onstage to perform "Summer Of ‘69."

The Reckless Video Album Is A Story Of Unrequited Love

With its six videos slightly out of order from actual release, the Reckless video compilation (1984) charts a melancholy story. In "This Time" (the final video from Cuts Like A Knife), Adams is seeking out a woman in a desert town who's only shown with glimpses of her legs and heels. At the end, he finds her in the back of his van and they hook up — or is it just a mirage? 

"Summer Of ‘69" intercuts black and white footage of Adams and a young woman during their teen years with color images of their separate lives today. At the end, his old flame drives by with her current boyfriend who sees her eyeing the rocker, gets angry, and violently stops the car. In "Somebody," she escapes the car as he screams at her, and then she and Adams wander in different locations as they recollect one another. 

In "Kids Wanna Rock," Adams jumps onstage for a high energy performance, while in "Heaven," his old flame’s new guy has been pulled over for drunk driving, so she ditches him to see the Bryan Adams show conveniently happening across the street. He is unaware she is there, mesmerized by him. 

After he races off the stage he finds himself locked inside the venue with snow coming down outside. In "Run To You," actually the album’s first single, Adams performs in wind and snow-swept environs and fantasizes about the same woman who finally walks up to him at the end. But they never embrace or kiss.

He’s An Acclaimed Photographer

Adams has been taking photos for most of his life, but it’s no longer a hobby. — he has photographed everyone from rock stars to royalty, and even himself for his own album covers. He got a lot of good pointers about photography and darkroom work when the famed Anton Corbijn shot the cover for 1987’s Into The Fire.

While Adams’ memorable portraits of people like Pink, Mick Jagger, Amy Winehouse, Rammstein, and yes, Queen Elizabeth II, he has also published books of portraits of homeless people, wounded war veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, images of sand from the Island Of Mustique, and American women dressed in Calvin Klein. He uses proceeds from these books to benefit various charitable causes. He also shot the 2022 calendar for the Pirelli Tire Company to help them celebrate their 150th anniversary. 

These days, Adams told Louder Sound that he is "a photographer moonlighting as a singer."

He’s A Longtime Vegan & Animal Rights Advocate

The singer first became vegetarian at age 28 and later turned vegan, citing animal cruelty in the face of human food consumption. Adams has said that he gets an abundance of energy from his plant-based diet, noting he no longer gets sick. 

Adams has promoted his lifestyle to fans through positive posts, and he joins other famous musicians who are also vegan including Paul McCartney, Billie Eilish, and Stevie Wonder.

He Is Staunchly Committed To Humanitarian & Charitable Causes

Adams has lent his voice and face to a variety of causes. It all started with his appearance at the Live Aid Festival in 1985, which raised many for Ethiopian famine relief. That was followed by the two-week Amnesty International A Conspiracy of Hope tour in 1986, the 1988 Peace Concert in East Berlin, and many others. From earthquake and tsunami relief to climate change to the Mideast peace process, he has been involved in many causes, and he is an LGBTQ ally as well.

In 2006, he co-founded the Bryan Adams Foundation with the goal of improving quality of life around the world via financial grants. Funds "support specific projects that are committed to bettering the lives of other people. The Foundation seeks to protect the most vulnerable or disadvantaged individuals in society." A big goal is "to advance education and learning opportunities for children and young people worldwide."

He Co-Wrote A Broadway Musical

Adams is known for having hit songs from movies including Don Juan DeMarco, The Three Musketeers, The Mirror Has Two Faces, and Robin Hood, Prince Of Thieves. Some people might not know that he and Jim Vallance co-wrote the score to the Broadway adaptation of "Pretty Woman," which ran for 420 performances over a year starting in August 2018. It is currently touring the UK and U.S. 

None of the movie’s pop songs were used; the score was entirely theirs. And it turns out he and Vallance had to audition their work to producers. Adams told Billboard in 2016 that the duo crafted three songs and presented them to the producers, who responded with a "don’t call us, we’ll call you" approach. Thirty minutes later, Adams got the call.

He Tours Places Other Western Artists Don't Visit

Bryan Adams has performed in places other Western artists don't often visit. He has toured India several times; Adams first played Mumbai in the early ‘90s and was impressed with the loyalty of Indian audiences. He was reportedly the first Western artist to play Karachi, Pakistan after the Sept. 11 attacks, and toured in Syria and Lebanon in December 2010. He said Syria had a great audience and had never hosted a Western artist before. 

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The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones

Photos (L-R): Mark Seliger, Kevin Mazur/WireImage, Tom Hill/WireImage, Mark and Colleen Hayward/Redferns

Songbook: The Rolling Stones' Seven-Decade Journey To 'Hackney Diamonds'

Artistically, the Rolling Stones are back in business, with their first album of original material in 18 years — including a GRAMMY-nominated single. If you've gotten the bug for the first time in a while, here's a crash course on their recorded history.

GRAMMYs/Jan 5, 2024 - 02:40 pm

What is it like to listen to new Rolling Stones music in 2024? You might think of overabundant slickness ,everything-to-everyone commerciality, a sense of rock-by-committee. But if your immediate association with the band is their status as an industry unto themselves — with the music as an afterthought — then you may not know the Rolling Stones.

"This is a performance-based record; this is live. That's why it speeds up and slows down and pushes and pulls — the only way the Stones should be." That's what GRAMMY-winning producer Andrew Watt — the "sprightly young fellow" that Paul McCartney recommended to the band — told Rolling Stone of the Stones' new album, Hackney Diamonds.

But it goes deeper than that. In a scathing review of Hackney Diamonds, Pitchfork declared the Stones to "gleam like sickly wax figures. Jagger, terrifyingly, has never sounded so youthful." Has Jagger been rendered animatronic? A resounding no — at 80, he simply remains a force of nature — as do his fellow surviving Stones, guitarists Keith Richards and Ron Wood.

"I've never seen anybody push themselves to the level that this guy pushed himself to in the studio," Watt continued to Rolling Stone. "He never left a vocal without a full deep sweat, putting every single thing he had into it every time." Best of all, this wasn't in the pursuit of perfection, but a beautiful racket.

"What's so f—ing cool," Watt continued, "is sometimes he'd do a take and he'd be like, 'I'm singing too good. I need to do that again and throw that away more… give it more feeling.'"

Across seven decades, the Stones have more than earned their stripes as the self-dubbed "World's Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band" — and so much of it has to do with that feeling.

That's why they're in the upper echelon, toe-to-toe with the Beatles in that tired binary, despite never pursuing a fraction of their innovation or ambition. Because when it comes to bluesy yearning, broiling salaciousness and that guitar weave, no guitar band has ever come close.

As veteran music journalist Rob Sheffield once put it, "Part of Mick's vast intelligence was to understand that he didn't have that kind of sincerity in his empty heart, and he was too crafty to make a clown of himself trying to fake it. He knew he couldn't out-Beatle the Beatles. So the Stones chose different turf to conquer. The Stones are Stonesier. The Beatles are merely better."

There's no way that a single article can contain all the facets of the Stones. But if you saw the news of Hackney Diamonds — their first album of original material in 18 years — and find yourself catching the bug again, here's a brief breakdown of their vast catalog.

The Brian Jones Era (1962-1969)

The thing about the greatest rock 'n' roll bands is that they tend to have ghosts following them around — e.g. integral, original members who lost their way, or their life, early on.

The Beatles did, in the incorporeal form of Stu Sutciffe. So did Pink Floyd, in Syd Barrett. Today, the spirits of Dennis and Carl Wilson silently observe the Beach Boys. The list goes on and on.

The Stones might have the ultimate band ghost in Brian Jones — their bowl-cutted, blonde angel who actually started the group, back in 1962.

Many decades on, Paul McCartney got flak for calling the Stones a "blues cover band," which obviously didn't take into account the Glimmer Twins' numberless, unforgettable originals. But that was what they were, from the jump.

If you haven't heard their 1964, self-titled debut, subtitled England's Newest Hit Makers, it's a proto-punk banger — with revved-up takes on "Route 66" and Chuck Berry's "Carol," among other selections from across the garage R&B canon.

Very soon after, the Stones began writing inspired originals, like "As Tears Go By" and "Get Off of My Cloud." (Not to mention, er, one you may have heard about "girl reaction.") Around the time of 1966's Aftermath — their first masterpiece — Jones was decorating their tunes with outré instrumentation, like the ominous sitar on "Paint It, Black."

Jones continued to make inspired contributions to the Stones' palette, including in their still-underrated 1967 goof on Sgt. Pepper's, Their Satanic Majesties Request.

As he became eclipsed  by Jagger and Richards, Jones became more and more unmanageable, culminating in his ousting and drowning in a pool in 1969.

This earliest incarnation of the Stones has its partisans: it's arguable that they never went on to write a song as lovely as the acoustic "Back Street Girl," for example. But with the passing of the torch to Mick Taylor, the stadium-sized version we all know and love was rapidly approaching.

The Mick Taylor Era (and after) (1969-1976)

While Taylor's tenure as Stones axeman lasted only five years, the former Bluesbreaker might be the greatest guitarist the band ever enjoyed.

After a couple of cameos on 1969's epochal Let it Bleed — the one with "Gimme Shelter" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" on it — Taylor joined the band proper for 1971's Sticky Fingers, one of their most beloved albums by far.

Therein, that aforementioned weave is on full display, between Richards and Taylor: they should teach the rhythmic underpinning of "Brown Sugar" and "Can't You Hear Me Knocking" in school. 

Plus, the immortal, still soul-inflaming ballad "Wild Horses" contains perhaps their most elliptical, haunting lyric: "Let's do some living after we die."

Despite Jagger's vocal dislike of the album, the double-disc Exile on Main St. is considered their masterpiece for very good reasons: Despite the brilliance of albums like Aftermath onward, they hadn't quite made an album that hung together cohesively, with a clear arc.

But Exile on Main St. — famously recorded grungy, topless and stoned in a rented French villa, as tax exiles — is worth many, many listens, front to back. It begins gakked out and flying high, as on "Rocks Off," then ends clear-eyed, hungover and grappling for salvation, as on "Shine a Light."

The Stones never quite revisited the heights of Exile on Main St. — although its lumpy, potent follow-up, 1973's Goats Head Soup, deserves more flowers.

After 1974's It's Only Rock n' Roll — chiefly known for the oldies favorite of a title track — Taylor left on short notice, following personality differences and rancor over credits.

He was replaced by the Faces' Ron Wood — essentially the Stones' version of Ringo, in that he was never considered a technical whiz, but the glue that continues to hold colorful, volatile personalities together.

Forging On With Ron (1976-present)

Jagger, Richards, bassist Bill Wyman, and drummer Charlie Watts' first album with Wood was 1976's Black and Blue, their most exhausted album by some margin. (Which doesn't mean it's bad at all: bone-weary Stones has a patina all its own, and "Memory Motel" belongs in the time capsule.)

But this rudderlessness proved to be a fluke: they followed it with 1978's Some Girls, at the height of punk and disco. That album's highlights, like "Miss You," "Beast of Burden" and "Shattered," restored the band to their debaucherous glory.

The follow-up, 1980's Emotional Rescue, was fine, but a bit of a bunt. Especially compared to the following year's Tattoo You, a terrifically echoey and plasticine document of their stadium prowess with a lead single implanted in our heads from birth: "Start Me Up."

Unfortunately, the ensuing '80s were as unkind to the Stones as they were to 95 percent of their contemporaries — although 1989's rewarding Steel Wheels is an ugly duckling worth hearing at least once. That year, their inimitable bassist Wyman left the group, never to fully return.

The Stones released a grand total of two albums in the '90s, mostly raking it in as titans of the live circuit. In 2005, they released A Bigger Bang, which would turn out to be their final album until 2016, in the back-to-basics blues-covers release Blue & Lonesome.

Tragically, in 2021, Watts — their steely, enigmatic engine driver, and a reluctant rock star if there ever was one — passed away of cancer.

Before his death, they'd fitfully hit the studio. But this time, they set a hard deadline, with a plucky, 30-something producer — and the result was the Stones' most acclaimed album in many decades.

Watts: A Light Goes Out (2021-present)

It's hard to put into words how bone-snappingly vital the Stones sound on 2023's Hackney Diamonds, deep into the AARP demographic.

The lead single, "Angry" — nominated for Best Rock Song at the 2024 GRAMMYs — finds Watts' appointed heir, Steve Jordan, leading the charge, with the three soul survivors powered by that old piss and vinegar.

From there, all the way to the Muddy Waters coda ("Rolling Stone Blues") that gave the band their name, Hackney Diamonds is a triumph.

The ridiculously high-profile guests throughout, like Elton John ("Get Close"), McCartney ("Bite My Head Off") and Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder ("Sweet Sounds of Heaven"), never feel like they're buoying the proceedings; they sound like the Stones' most voracious fans, living the dream. (As McCartney put it after tracking his viciously fuzzy bass part: "I just played f—ing bass with the Stones — and I'm a f—ing Beatle."

Jagger and Richards are adamant this isn't the end: half an album's already in the can. Who knows where it'll go — but one thing is certain, they'll never dilute or compromise this stew. That feeling — the one they've been chasing since they were flop-haired teenagers — is much too important.

Living Legends: Chicago's Robert Lamm On Songwriting and Longevity

DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince performing at "A GRAMMY Salute To 50 Years Of Hip-Hop."
DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince performing at "A GRAMMY Salute To 50 Years Of Hip-Hop."

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images


How DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince Created The Ultimate Prototype For The Producer/Rapper Duo

Ahead of their much-anticipated reunion on the CBS special "A GRAMMY Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop," take a look at the groundbreaking ways DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince bolstered the power of the hip-hop duo.

GRAMMYs/Dec 8, 2023 - 05:12 pm

There were plenty of rapper/DJ duos before DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. Most notably, T La Rock & Jazzy Jay released the influential 1984 single "It's Yours," Def Jam's first release as a rap label run by Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons. There was Mantronix, consisting of MC Tee and producer Kurtis Mantronik, who had their first hit with "Fresh Is the Word" a year later. Well before that, '70s hip-hop pioneer Kool Herc was a DJ known for getting the party started with rhymer Coke La Rock.

But the Philadelphia duo of Jeffrey Townes and Will Smith went beyond their predecessors in several important ways, and set up a prototype of the rapper/DJ — or, as music-making techniques changed, rapper/producer — combination that would explode in the years following their success.

By the time Jeff and Will (and their third member, beatboxer Ready Rock C) released their first single in 1986, duos were a thing in pop music: Soft Cell, Erasure, Eurythmics. The prominence of musical pairs would continue to grow over the next few years, largely because of technology. 

As a 1987 Philadelphia Inquirer article headlined "Pop’s New Dynamic Duos" pointed out, "The electronic age has yielded not only a new kind of music, via synthesizers, sequencers, drum machines, digital audio computers, hardware and software, but it has also spawned a new kind of group: duos in which one [person] sings and the other pushes buttons."

This division of labor — one person on music and one on lyrics — worked perfectly in hip-hop, a genre that came out of parties where a DJ spun records and someone on a mic hyped up the crowd. But when it came to DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, unlike some of their predecessors, it was clear they were a team: Not only were they co-billed, but the DJ's name came first. 

That's largely because Jeff was the virtuoso. While Will had the movie-star chemistry and funny stories, Jeff was the music obsessive and the innovative record-spinner who implemented new techniques — most notably, the robotic-sounding "transformer" scratch, which Will takes credit for naming in his 2021 memoir. 

And Jeff was the one who proved his hip-hop bona fides by defeating all comers and being crowned the best DJ in the land at the 1986 New Music Seminar. It's a scene that rightfully opens up the very first episode of Smith's new podcast, a good indication of exactly how important that battle was to Will, Jeff and the entire hip-hop world at the time. (You can listen to Jeff's winning routines here).

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Putting Jeff's name first in the pairing made sense in a number of ways: not only was he unimpeachably credentialed and respected, but the order itself was also a nod to the DJ's primacy in the origins of hip-hop, and in the group's home city of Philly. Whether all of those ideas were consciously considered in how they named themselves or not, they were all there in how the duo was considered.

The equality of members was emphasized from the very beginning in their music, too. Sure, their first single was the wacky, I Dream of Jeannie theme-quoting story-song "Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble." But their second was a tribute to "The Magnificent Jazzy Jeff."

They kept that balance throughout their early career as a group. Their second album, He's the DJ, I'm the Rapper, had it throughout — in its title, and especially in its songs.

The record marked another pivotal moment for rap, as it was the genre's first double album. The first two sides had plenty of Will's stories ("Parents Just Don't Understand"; "A Nightmare on My Street"), but sides C and D — billed as a "Bonus Scratch Album" — belonged almost entirely to Jeff.

Whether it was Will and Jeff's success, the overall prominence of duos across genres, or just something in the water, within a few years of DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince getting their start, co-billed DJ/emcee duos were pretty much everywhere. There was Eric B & Rakim, whose first single came out the same year as Will and Jeff's, and Cash Money & Marvelous, who released their first single one year later. 

We also can't forget L.A.'s entry into the sweepstakes, Rodney-O & Joe Cooley, whose 1987 single "Everlasting Bass" was the city's pre-gangsta rap anthem. X-Clan compatriots Unique & Dashan came out in 1989 and, like Rodney-O and Cooley, billed the rapper first. DJ Chuck Chillout & Kool Chip had limited releases as a team — one single and one album to follow it up — but they made an impact regardless. By the dawn of the 1990s, the equally billed DJ/rapper duo was a hip-hop trope. 

It was a format that would morph over the years. First, into groups like Gang Starr, which consisted of a rapper and a DJ/producer subsumed under a single entity name. Later, into MF DOOM's album-length producer collaborations like Madvillainy (Madlib) and The Mouse and the Mask (Danger Mouse). And even today, into rapper/producer pairings like Drake and Noah "40" Shebib, 21 Savage and Metro Boomin, or The Alchemist and essentially everybody in the world

Without DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, the world might not have paid so much attention to all of these efforts. If there's one thing that Jeff and Will showed us, it's that in rap music or anywhere else, there's real power in teamwork.

DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince will reunite as part of "A GRAMMY Salute To 50 Years Of Hip-Hop," which will air Sunday, Dec. 10, from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. ET and 8 to 10 p.m. PT. Tune in on the CBS Television Network, and stream live and on demand on Paramount+.