meta-scriptOn 'Killin' It,' K-Pop's P1Harmony Prove They're The Heroes We've Been Waiting For | GRAMMY.com
P1Harmony Discuss New Album 'Killin' It'
P1Harmony

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interview

On 'Killin' It,' K-Pop's P1Harmony Prove They're The Heroes We've Been Waiting For

P1Harmony's first full-length release celebrates their musical identity, proving that the sextet has been killin' it all along. The group spoke with GRAMMY.com about their aesthetic, touring dreams, and career milestones.

GRAMMYs/Feb 9, 2024 - 04:06 pm

K-pop group P1Harmony did not start with the odds in their favor. They debuted months into a global pandemic, without the resources of a huge company, at a time when live performances were nil. But the scrappy sextet persevered, and have now released six EPs, embarked on two tours, and headlined venues in five continents.   

Formed in 2020, the group's name is an amalgamation of "plus," "one," and "harmony," meaning members Keeho, Jiung, Intak, Theo, Jongseob and Soul can achieve endless harmonious possibilities as a unit. P1Harmony's latest album, Killin’ It, is their first full-length release. The album is both a confident celebration of their musical identity and a comprehensive introduction to any new fans.

Out Feb. 5, the 10-track Killin' It  features a minimalist, synth-driven title track with a catchy 808 base and masterful rap that pays homage to '90s hip-hop and K-pop. P1Harmony's catchy electropop permeates the sentimental "Late Night Calls'' and influences the freestyle chants on "Everybody Clap," and the anthemic "Street Star." The record's final track, "I See U," is a confession of love to their fans, known as P1ece.

P1Harmony have had a flair for drama since their debut teaser. In keeping with the K-pop trend of incorporating storylines into their visual releases, six EPs ended with the reveal that P1Harmony were hidden "heroes," facing the world fused as one. Killin’ It continues the "forgotten heroes" theme, with Keeho taking the conceptual reins on the album.

P1Harmony members have been contributing towards their releases since the beginning — a concept that has only recently gained popularity in K-pop. Killin’ It is no different, and Jongseob, Intak, Jiung, and Keeho are credited for lyrics and composition on several tracks. 

In a saturated industry, P1Harmony’s Gen-Z sense of humor gives them a leg up amongst their peers. In fact, they are known as much for their unfiltered personalities as they are for their music. In a particularly viral example, leader Keeho advised a fan to cut her friend's hair off because they were making fun of her curls. 

Ahead of the release of Killin' It, GRAMMY.com caught up with the group over Zoom, to chat about perfectionism, touring dreams, and career milestones.

**Tell us about the first full length album. What were you trying to go for with Killin’ It?** 

Keeho: This is an album where we could really cement what we're good at, what we like to do and what we want to keep doing in the future. I feel like it's kind of different from the EPs because those were more chances for us to experiment and filter out what does and doesn’t stick. 

We've created so many memories and experiences where we learned what things look good on us and sounds sonically good to us. It's a really good turning point as well. Our storylines from the previous EPs are wrapping up and it's a new chapter for us moving forward.

Jongseob: I wrote on all 10 tracks on this album, and that process was very exciting. I feel like I could fit more of my own style in this album than before. This was also like a playground for me because I got to do whatever I wanted with my own verses. 

Do you feel like it took more effort to make Killin’ It than with previous releases? Is there an added pressure because it's P1Harmony's first full length album? 

Intak: Because we were on and off tour, I always had to write on the move. As a writer it took me a lot longer and a lot more focus to write my raps than in previous albums. 

Keeho: Of course there is added pressure. Yes, I am confident and happy to show our P1eces what we’ve made, but even to this day, there's always that feeling of is there anything we could have done better? As perfectionists, we’re always trying to find the flaws so we can minimize them, but no matter how much we try they never go away. It’s not always bad though, because it’s also a way to constantly improve as artists. 

If we were always satisfied with everything we did, there would be nothing pushing us to go that extra mile. It gets stressful, but at the end of the day, if our fans love it then that’s all that matters. 

Where is the point when you realize you have to stop and let go of what you’re working on?

Jiung: It’s different for each of us, but as a team we also think that if we fix something too much, it goes wrong. We try our best to keep each other from going overboard.

Keeho: They say the first take is always the best take. And also, we have a deadline! [Laughs.] No matter how many times I want to do more, I have to send it across. 

I did a lot of contribution in the conceptual and visual side of this album, and I remember because of the deadline I was at the airport lounge finishing up the PDF and sending it over before I got on the plane. We were writing in hotel rooms, on planes, in the lounges —— there's always a deadline to be met. 

Visually, what was the creative direction for this album? What concepts did you draw inspiration from?

Keeho: The main story created for this full-length album was about P1Harmony being the "forgotten" heroes. Hence the theme I was very inspired by the movie Suicide Squad

For the "Killin' It" version, I really wanted to show off each member's identity through the outfits. I feel like a lot of the time when we figure out outfits we tend to play it safe and match a certain color scheme or silhouette, but I really wanted each member to have their own style. If you watch The Hunger Games, each member of Katniss' team has a matching gold emblem to signify they are in one team, like the Mockingjay pin. The one thing that brought us together was our matching necklaces, brooches, and pant chains.

For the "Maximum" version, I thought if we make the set in contrast a lot smaller than we are, we can give off the illusion of literally being bigger than everything. We came up with the amusement park idea because there's something fun and colorful but also eerie and dark about it. Maybe it comes from my fear of clowns and rollercoasters but I liked that difference in feeling. 

I would love to do something cinematic again like we did during our debut. 

What do you want your next milestone to be?

Jiung: I think the next tour, because I feel it would be even better than the one we just finished. I'm excited to fill up the setlist with the album that we're about to release.

**What would need to happen for you to think, okay, we've made it, I can retire peacefully?**

Keeho: We're very young. [Laughs.]  I don’t know about retiring yet. 

Jiung: I don’t think we're gonna retire. We're so passionate and we're so happy to show ourselves in every area. 

Theo: If we did a stadium tour, I would retire. 

Keeho: We’d have to get Beyoncé level. We’re talking big production, we’re talking Renaissance

I don't know how convincing it might sound but I feel like, as long as we have a reason and it's something that we love to do, we are so, so, so hardworking. It is almost violent and scary to see. We will sacrifice sleep, food, anything if it's really something we love to do. And if it gets to the point where we get the opportunity to do a stadium tour, I think it'd be awesome. 

**Some of that is a little alarming — please take care of yourselves! Your last EP, Harmony: All In, spoke a lot about the challenges that come with loving yourself. How do you experience self-love today?**

Theo: Nothing has really changed for me. I feel like up until the point where I pass away, I don’t think it will be a difficult task for me to love myself.

Jiung: For me, sometimes it's a roller coaster but I'm good now. It’s all good with my bros.

Five out of the 10 songs on Killin' It are about love. How would you explain what love is to somebody who's lost all their memory?

Jiung: I got the same question about two years ago at a fanmeet. I don't know how to translate it, but in Korean I said something like "love is when I'm thinking about you with my full energy."

Keeho: It’s a tricky question, though because I feel like love you is such a strong [phrase]  and it holds so much meaning. I would just answer like this [Keeho makes several heart shapes with his hands]. 

11 Rookie K-Pop Acts To Know In 2024: NCT Wish, RIIZE, Kiss Of Life & More

11 K-Pop Boy Groups To Watch In 2023
(Back) TEMPEST, VERIVERY (Front) Kim Min-Seo and Hwang Yun-Seong of DRIPPIN, Intak of P1Harmony, CRAVITY

Photos: JUNG YEON-JEAFP via Getty Images; Jun Sato/WireImage;The Chosunilbo/JNSImazins via Getty Images; Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images; John Lamparski/Getty Images for Empire State Realty Trust

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11 K-Pop Boy Groups To Watch In 2023: Cravity, Tempest, Verivery & More

From rookies to more established acts, guys are taking the K-pop world by storm this year. Read on to learn about 11 boy groups whose recent successes have made them artists to watch in 2023.

GRAMMYs/May 24, 2023 - 01:59 pm

The complexity of Korean pop music is akin to an ocean of changing tides. Every year brings a stream of new elements that, in due course, become part of the fabric of the genre. That’s the part of the magic of K-pop: a guaranteed churning of trends and influences that continue to mesmerize millions.

While last year saw an awakening of girl groups, the current landscape of boy groups is reaching an interesting phase. Well-established ensembles are growing more soloists than ever, and different generations of performers exist side-by-side in a way previously unseen. At the same time, survival television shows (those similar to “American Idol” or “The Voice”) remain a cultural phenomenon in Korean music, serving as a vault for trainees and many in this new wave of boy groups.

Within this new wave, K-pop acts such as VERIVERY and ONEUS are experiencing long-awaited recognition, while the groups who debuted during the pandemic are finally performing in front of live audiences. Meanwhile, rookies like xikers are raising their hands with a desire to conquer, and yet-to-debut acts like ZEROBASEONE are hotly anticipated.

Here, get to know 11 rising boy groups
in order of debut consolidating their position under the bright lights of K-pop’s dominion.

VERIVERY

Energy and precision are integral parts of Verivery’s identity. The group seems to flip a switch in the audience with their impeccable coordination and lively dance-pop sound. But they also embrace dualities in their music exploring the emotional highs and lows of life.

Hailing from Jellyfish Entertainment, the septet debuted in January 2019 with the new jack swing single "Ring Ring Ring," and continually sharpened their skills to drive impact. Verivery’s third single album, Liminality - EP. Love, and its title track, "Tap Tap," opened a new chapter, and the group captured their first-ever wins in MBC’s "Show Champion" and KBS’s "Music Bank."

ONEUS

If there’s one group that thrives on defying creative limits and building timeless narratives, it’s ONEUS. They’re called "stage geniuses" for a reason. 

Formed by music label RBW in 2019, the quintet have established themselves as versatile performers with intricate choreographies and vocal prowess. Each record reveals a new soundscape, and with it, there’s a seamless unpredictability that increases their public acknowledgement. 

Their eighth mini-album, Malus, released last September, proved to be a breakthrough. ONEUS earned four trophies from South Korean music shows, and they crossed the barrier of one million accumulated sales on the Circle Chart, one of the most notable music charts in their home country.

CRAVITY

CRAVITY combines the words "Creativity" and "Gravity" to state their aura can draw you in like a magnet. They’re joie de vivre personified and may switch gears from "monster rookies" to K-pop dynamos at any moment.  

Since debuting in 2020 under Starship Entertainment, the group has displayed great adaptability when tackling different musical colors. But the arrival of Liberty: In Our Cosmos, the second part of their first full-length album, in March 2022, channeled a youthful approach that’s become their signature sound. This conceptual glow-up fully fleshed out CRAVITY’s abilities that shine the most in feel-good pop terrains, crafting a unique niche as a result. 

TREASURE

Backed by YG Entertainment (Blackpink, BIGBANG), TREASURE burst onto the scene in the summer of 2020 with the hard-hitting single "Boy." It was the crowning of sky-high expectations since they came together a year prior through the challenging survival show YG Treasure Box. However, in November 2022, vocalists Bang Yedam and Mashiho left, and TREASURE had to redirect their trek with 10 members.

TREASURE aren’t only known for their blistering levels of performance, as they also flaunt a diverse sonic palette and self-written material. Take, for example, the potent "JIKJIN," which contrasts with the zestful charisma surrounding "Hello," or the enchanting (and viral) "DARARI," composed by former member Bang Yedam. They’re creative powerhouses and this is just the beginning for them.

DRIPPIN

This seven-member group assembled by Woollim Entertainment demonstrates how it’s possible to mature a career without compromising brilliance. DRIPPIN boasts one of the most solid repertoires in the fourth generation of K-pop. 

When DRIPPIN debuted in 2020 with their EP, Boyager, their musical compass signaled lightness, but as time passed, the course steered towards a darker route. It was an organic and smooth transformation, exemplified by their fantastic Villain album series released throughout 2022.

P1Harmony 

The start of P1Harmony’s journey in October 2020 was literally a cinematic experience that laid the foundation for their exciting artistry. They’re adventurous and fun, so better be prepared every time they take the stage — because you’re in for a ride.

Of course, nothing of this would be possible without having a mesh of talents working in tandem. The voices of Keeho and Theo balance out the fierceness of rappers Intak and Jongseob, while Soul and Jiung are proven all-rounders. This blend and a penchant for electrifying tracks are the main propulsors behind P1Harmony’s international popularity.

TEMPEST

Living up to the essence of their group’s name, up-and-coming stars TEMPEST are a force to be reckoned with. And contrary to the title of their debut song, "Bad News," their entrance into the K-pop realm was a harbinger of potential.

The septet comes from Yuehua Entertainment, home to Iz*One alum Choi Yena and girl group EVERGLOW. Several members participated in competition programs like "Produce 101" and "I-LAND" so their perspective, along with their collective strengths, indicates that these newcomers wield the confidence of veterans. Last year, the group won accolades across different South Korean music ceremonies as best new artists – including the New Wave Award from the Asia Artist Awards.

TAN

When exploring the vastness of K-pop, it’s always a pleasant surprise to discover captivating hidden gems. This is the case of TAN, a septet formed through MBC’s survival show "Extreme Debut: Wild Idol.

What makes TAN such an alluring act is its musical nostalgia, which is reminiscent of one of the most brilliant eras of K-pop. Press play on their first single "Du Du Du," and you’ll find yourself immersed in a second-generation revival layered with stunning vocals. Fortunately, the group is holding the line, and their latest record, "FIX YOU," continues with this evocative quality even a year after their debut.

xikers

Xikers are the freshest (and youngest) idols on this list, yet they’re threading a path that has many paying close attention. 

Formerly known as KQ Fellaz 2, the world witnessed the group’s onstage verve when they opened for labelmates ATEEZ during their 2022 North American tour. In March, they debuted with the double-punch "TRICKY HOUSE" and "ROCKSTAR," both singles from their first mini-album, HOUSE OF TRICKY: Doorbell Ringing. The seven-track project has sold more than 140,000 copies in South Korea. With their vibrant teamwork, aural intensity, and rapidly growing recognition, xikers are certainly a bunch to keep your eyes on.

BOYNEXTDOOR

At the end of 2020, K-pop giant HYBE announced the acquisition of KOZ Entertainment, a music label spearheaded by Block B’s leader Zico. The news was received with surprise, and fans wondered what kind of endeavors this business alliance could offer.

What followed has been a series of revelations that have created enthusiasm about their first project together: A group called BOYNEXTDOOR. The six members – Sungho, Riwoo, Jaehyun, Taesan, Leehan and Woonhak – were officially presented on May 12, and the concept is already striking as bright and juvenile. We will get the whole picture once BOYNEXTDOOR debuts on May 30 with their first single album, WHO!    

ZEROBASEONE 

Although the story of ZEROBASEONE (shortened as ZB1) is yet to unfold, a promise of success is darting their presence in the industry. Word on the street says they will inaugurate K-pop’s fifth generation, but that will be a topic of discussion when they step into the spotlight next summer. In the meantime, we’ll see how many records go down before that happens.

This nine-member, multinational ensemble emerged from Mnet’s reality competition Boys Planet – a spin-off of 2021’s Girls Planet 999, which created their sister group Kep1er. It’s a well-rounded lineup that will allow for artistic agility and breathtaking stages, the same characteristics that attracted hundreds of thousands of viewers during ZB1’s formation process week after week. Worth mentioning that Zhang Hao, a music prodigy from Fujian, China, made history as the first foreigner to win a Korean survival show of this kind, and he will be the group’s center.

TXT, Blackpink, Aespa & More: Here Are All The K-Pop Tours And Events You Can Catch This Summer

Megan Thee Stallion performing in Houston June 2024
Megan Thee Stallion performs in Houston on June 15, 2024.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Live Nation

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5 Iconic Moments From Megan Thee Stallion's Houston Hometown Shows

Megan Thee Stallion returned to Houston on June 14 and 15 for an epic homecoming filled with surprise guests, gifts and plenty of twerking. Revisit five of the most exciting moments from the Houston stops on the rapper's Hot Girl Summer Tour.

GRAMMYs/Jun 17, 2024 - 08:31 pm

Seven years into her career, Megan Thee Stallion is no stranger to a sold-out crowd. The rapper has been dubbed "Sold-out Stalli" since selling out nearly 20 shows on her Hot Girl Summer Tour — and though her stops at Houston's Toyota Center weren't the first sellouts on the trek, they were considerably the most meaningful ones.

"I'm so happy to be home," Megan, a lifelong Houstonian, told the crowd on June 14, night one of the back-to-back shows. After honing her rap skills and launching her career in H-Town, the star expressed her gratitude for the support her Houston fans have shown her from the start. 

"Hotties, y'all know what we've been through, y'all been rocking with me since day motherf—in' one," she gushed on night one. "I love y'all, I appreciate y'all, I respect y'all and I'm very grateful for y'all because, without the Hotties, there would be no motherf—in' Hot Girl Coach."

The two-night stint highlighted Megan's vulnerability, drive and exceptional showmanship. But above all else, her hometown shows reminded fans that she's just a strong-kneed, animé-loving girl from Houston. 

Below, check out five of the most memorable moments from Megan Thee Stallion's Houston homecoming.

She Organized A Hottie Egg Hunt

Before stepping on stage on June 14, Megan sent Houston fans on a Hottie Egg Hunt for a chance to win merchandise and tickets to the show that night. The three-part interactive adventure featured clues, documented on Instagram and X, that helped fans locate the golden eggs. 

The first clue reads, "A wild stallion can't be tamed…meet me at the place where I'm gonna rock the stage!" The second, "Where I run through the mall with your daddy." The last, "People are smart, my Hotties are smarter, find this egg where I got one degree hotter."

Eager fans scoured the whole city and eventually found the eggs at Megan’s favorite spots in Houston: Toyota Center, The Galleria and Texas Southern University. So far, Houston has been the only city Megan has done this for, making for another special moment between her and Houston hotties.

She Continued To Prove She's A Girls Girl

An unfortunate rap show trend has seen several female opening acts receive hate ahead of male headliners. Luckily this hasn't been the case for Memphis rapper GloRilla, who has noticeably been enjoying her experience as an opener on the Hot Girl Summer Tour. 

On night two in Houston, GloRilla presented Megan with a blown-up art piece commemorating her upcoming album, Megan, on stage. In return, Megan complimented the 24-year-old rapper, saying, "Glo is one of the realest women I've ever met." 

That evening, Megan showed her love for another rising star — and fellow Houston female rapper — Monaleo. The Mo City rapper sent the crowd into a frenzy as she sang her 2023 hit song "Beating Down Yo Block," which samples the classic "Knocking Pictures Off Da Wall" by Houston's Yungstar.

She Paid Homage To Houston Legends

Monaleo was far from the only Houston native to take the stage with Megan during her hometown visit. On night one, Megan surprised fans with a legendary performance from a few Houston all-stars. The room filled with excited screams as H-Town''s Bun B popped out to perform UGK's "Int'l. Players Anthem (I Choose You)." As if it couldn't get more iconic, Megan joined the legend on stage to rap Pimp C's verse of the song. 

The night also featured a legendary performance of "Southside" by Lil Keke, which Megan teased prior in the show with her "Southside Royalty Freestyle." Fans also got to enjoy Slim Thug's verse from "Still Tippin," a song he shares with Mike Jones and Paul Wall. (Wall also performed the song on Megan's tour the previous night at Austin's Moody Center.)

On night two, Megan brought out another Houston great, Z-Ro to rap a classic, "Mo City Don." Though a Hot Girl at heart, Megan couldn't help but celebrate the legendary men who paved the way and left a historic mark in Houston's dynamic hip-hop scene. 

She Showed — And Received — Hometown Love

As Megan arrived at the Toyota Center on June 14, she received a surprise welcome by students from her alma mater, the Pearland High School Band and Prancers — a heartwarming kickoff to a night of mutual love between Megan and Houston that put her in high-spirits before the show. 

Both nights were filled with an immense amount of energy and support, from Megan signing autographs throughout the show to making sure she got the perfect selfie with her beloved supporters. Even during more tender moments — like “Cobra," a song about suicide and her depression — felt particularly moving because of the interaction between Megan and her hometown fans.

She Put The "Hot" In Hottie

Taking notes from another H-Town hero and fellow Houstonian, Megan put on an impressive show reminiscent of Beyoncé, from jaw-dropping choreography to stunning wind-blown poses. Megan also tapped into her past life as a Prairie View A&M Panther Doll with majorette-inspired dancing during her song "Cognac Queen." 

Of course, she wouldn't be Thee Stallion if she didn't show off her twerking skills and famously powerful knees during her two-hour show run. Fans even got to participate in the twerk-fest during intermission, as a "Hottie Cam" panned through the audience, showing love to the girls and boys.

If her hometown shows were any indication, Megan Thee Stallion's future is not just bright — it's smoking hot as well. 

GRAMMY Rewind: Megan Thee Stallion Went From "Savage" To Speechless After Winning Best New Artist In 2021

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys perform  at the 77th annual Tony Awards in New York City, Sunday, June 16.
Jay-Z and Alicia Keys perform "Empire State Of Mind" at the 77th annual Tony Awards on June 16.

Photo: Mary Kouw

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2024 Tony Awards Recap: Musical Theater Wins And Exciting Performances

From the big wins for "Merrily We Roll Along" to "The Outsiders" taking home Best Musical and "Suffs" unexpected win, musicals made a splash at the 2024 Tonys.

GRAMMYs/Jun 17, 2024 - 05:36 pm

Broadway had a jam-packed slate of musicals this year, with everything from originals to adaptations and highly anticipated revivals. It would only follow, then, that it would be a busy race toward the 77th Tony Awards

Fifteen musicals were eligible for nomination this year, up from nine in 2023. Fittingly, the June 16 telecast from Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater in New York City had some dramatic surprises — especially in the music-related categories. 

One race that was anyone’s game was Best Musical. While many thought Alicia Keys' "Hell’s Kitchen" would take the big win, the award went to "The Outsiders." Featuring music by folk duo Jamestown Revival, the book/film adaptation won a handful of awards, including Direction Of A Musical for Dayna Taymor. It was a landmark year, in which four of the five nominees for direction were women.  

Broadway is perhaps trying to capitalize on pop music fans more due to post-pandemic struggles and the reputation of Broadway being for the elderly elite. The uptick in pop stars gracing the Great White Way led the New York Times’ Michael Paulson to declare that Broadway was entering its pop era; fittingly half of the eligible new musicals had scores composed by people who primarily work as recording artists. 

Broadway is rife with recording artist-helmed scores and jukebox musicals, including Alicia Keys, David Byrne, Fatboy Slim, Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens, the Who, and Jamestown Revival. Recording artist-driven musicals were also among some of the notable snubs at the Tonys. Shows that failed to secure Best Musical or Original Score nominations included Ingrid Michaelson for "The Notebook," Barry Manilow for "Harmony," Huey Lewis for "The Heart of Rock and Roll," and Britney Spears for "Once Upon a One More Time."

The music categories did offer up some big name winners. Best Original Score was set to be an interesting category this year because a play, "Stereophonic," with music by Arcade Fire’s Will Butler was in the running. However, the suffragette musical "Suffs" written and starring Shaina Taub took home the award. She also scored Best Book of a Musical, which was predicted by several experts. "Stereophonic" did win five awards total including Best Play and Sound Design Of A Play. 

Orchestrator and musical director Jonathan Tunick expectedly won Best Orchestrations for "Merrily We Roll Along." While the orchestrations aren’t terribly different from the original production, the Sondheim show flopped when it first opened in 1981. Yet the "Merrily" revival has found huge success due to the strength of the music and its three famous leads — perhaps the biggest name on the show's Playbill,  Daniel Radcliffe, won  Best Performance By A Featured Actor In A Musical.

Radcliffe was joined in the winners’ circle by costar "Merrily" Jonathan Groff, who took home Best Performance By An Actor in a Leading Role In A Musical. Costar Lindsay Mendez lost out on Best Actress in a Featured Role of a Musical to "Hell’s Kitchen’s" Kecia Lewis, whose performance in the Alicia Keys bio-musical was very well reviewed. Considered a front runner for Best Musical, "Hell’s Kitchen" only ended up taking home two awards: Lewis’ actress award and Best Performance by a Leading Actress In A Musical, which went to Maleah Joi Moon, who was the frontrunner in predictions.  

Beyond wins and upsets, performances were the highlight of the Tonys. "The Outsiders" has been garnering praise for its rumble scene, a segment of which made up the show’s Tonys performance, complete with rain. Meanwhile, "Merrily" featured its three stars with a sweet rendition of "Old Friends." Other notable performances showcased the "wow-factors" from many of the nominated shows, including a number from the passionate dance-focused show, "Illinoise," and circus tricks in the number from "Water for Elephants." Jay-Z and Alicia Keys brought the audience to their feet with their performance of "Empire State Of Mind" from "Hell’s Kitchen." Meanwhile, "Suffs" leaned into the history lessons of the show.  

Non-nominee performances that stood out include a Fosse-fueled tribute to Chita Rivera, which also included a dance from "West Side Story" performed by host Ariana DeBose (who won an Oscar for the 2021 re-make for the role of Anita, which Chita Rivera originated on Broadway). Nicole Scherzinger, who will appear in "Sunset Boulevard" next season, sang the "In Memoriam." Speaking of West End, the London-transfer production of "Cabaret" included an immersive rendition of "Willkommen," led by Eddie Redmayne, who got dragged on social media and in the press for the clown-like performance many found "terrifying." 

Next year we will be getting even more pop-artist driven musicals, including Elton John leading the charge with two musicals in the works, "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Tammy Faye." Other notable upcoming shows will have music by John Legend, Elvis Costello, Nas, Neko Case, and Mitski. Plus, a production of "Romeo and Juliet" will feature music by frequent Taylor Swift collaborator (as well as 2024 Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical) Jack Antonoff

50 Years In, "The Wiz" Remains An Inspiration: How A New Recording Repaves The Yellow Brick Road 

 

Paul McCartney & Wings
Paul McCartney and Wings in 1974

Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images

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Wings Release 'One Hand Clapping': How To Get Into Paul McCartney's Legendary Post-Beatles Band

After 50 years on the shelf, Wings' raw and intimate live-in-the-studio album is finally here. Use it as a springboard to discover Paul McCartney's '70s band's entire catalog — here's a roadmap through it all.

GRAMMYs/Jun 17, 2024 - 05:19 pm

Whether it be "Band on the Run" or "Jet" or "My Love," chances are you've heard a Wings song at least once — in all their polished, '70s-arena-sized glory. More than four decades after they disbanded in 1981, we're getting a helping of raw, uncut Wings.

Last February, Wings' classic 1973 album Band on the Run got the 50th anniversary treatment, with a disc of "underdubbed" remixes, allowing Paul McCartney, spouse and keyboardist Linda McCartney, and guitarist Denny Laine to be heard stripped back, with added clarity.

After a few months to digest that, it was time to reveal a session that, for ages, fans had been clamoring for. On June 14, in came One Hand Clapping, a live-in-the-studio set from August 1974 that captured Wings at the zenith of their powers.

Back then, Wings had the wind in their sails, with a reconstituted lineup Band on the Run at the top of the charts. They opted to plug in at Abbey Road Studios with cameras rolling, and record a live studio album with an attendant documentary. The film wouldn’t come out until a 2010 reissue of Band on the Run; the music’s popped up on bootlegs, but had never been released in full.

That long absence is a shame; while One Hand Clapping is a bit of a historical footnote, it absolutely rips; Giles Martin shining up the mixes certainly helped. Epochal Macca ballads, like "Maybe I'm Amazed" and "Blackbird," are well represented, but when Wings rock out, as on "Jet," "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five," and "deep cut "Soily," they tear the roof off.

Basically, in range and sequencing, One Hand Clapping shows McCartney prepping Wings like a rocket; soon, it'd rip through the live circuit. If you've never taken a spin through McCartney's post-Fabs discography, though, you may not know where to go from here.

So, for neophytes (or just fans wanting a refresher), here's a framework through which to sift through the Wings discography — with One Hand Clapping still ringing in your ears.

The Essentials

Remember, as you get into Wings: don't cordon off their catalog from McCartney's solo work as a whole. In other words: if you haven't heard masterpieces like 1971's Ram yet, don't go scrounging through Back to the Egg deep cuts yet: check all that stuff out, then return to this list.

That being established: the proper Wings entryway is almost unquestionably Band on the Run. Like Sgt. Pepper's and Abbey Road before it, it's an exhilarating melodic and stylistic rush, a sonic adventure — whether you go for the original or the "underdubbed" version.

In the grand scheme of solo Beatles, Band on the Run is also the one McCartney album that slugs it out with John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band and George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, in terms of artistic realization.

That being said: despite slightly inferior contemporaneous reviews, its follow-up, 1975's Venus and Mars, is almost as good — and if grandiosity isn't your bag, you might actually enjoy it more than Band on the Run. (Think of Harrison following up All Things with the sparser, more spacious Living in the Material World, and you'll get the picture.)

Between those two albums, you've got a wealth of indispensable Macca songs — "Jet," "Let Me Roll It," "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five," "Rock Show," "You Gave Me the Answer" — as well as satisfying deep cuts, like doomed Wingsman Jimmy McCulloch's "Medicine Jar."

From there, it's time to understand Weird Wings — which rewinds the clock to their beginnings.

The Weirdness

As the McCartney canon goes, Ram's stock seems to shoot up every year, single handedly inspiring new generations of psych-pop weirdos. By comparison, Wings' debut, Wild Life, was critically savaged in 1971, and its reputation isn't much better today.

As you'll learn so often in your solo Macca voyage — you've just got to ignore the critics sometimes. Even McCartney himself said "Bip Bop" "just goes nowhere" and "I cringe every time I hear it." What he leaves out it's a maddening earworm — to hear this loony, circuitous little sketch once is to carry it to your deathbed.

Indeed, Wild Life is full of moments that will stick with you. In the title track, McCartney screams about the zoo like his hair's on fire; "I Am Your Singer" is a swaying dialogue between Paul and Linda; "Dear Friend" is one of McCartney's most moving songs about Lennon.

Wild Life's follow-up, Red Rose Speedway, is a little more candy-coated and commercial — but outside of the polarizing hit "My Love," it has some integral McCartney tunes, like "Little Lamb Dragonfly" and "Single Pigeon."

In the end, though, Wild Life is arguably the early Wings offering that will really stick to your ribs. It's not a crummy follow-up to Ram, but an intriguing off-ramp from its harebrained universe — and as the opening statement from McCartney's post-Beatles vehicle, worth investigating just on that merit.

The Deep Cuts

McCartney has always been a hit-or-miss solo artist by design — digging through the half-written pastiches and questionable experiments is part of the deal.

1976's Wings at the Speed of Sound features a key track in the irrepressibly jaunty "Let 'Em In," and an (in)famous disco-spangled hit in "Silly Love Songs." From there, with tunes like "Cook of the House" and "Warm and Beautiful," your mileage may vary wildly.

The ratio holds for 1978's London Town: you could put the gorgeous "I'm Carrying" on your playlist and scrap the rest, or you can go spelunking. And McCartney being McCartney, despite 1979's Back to the Egg being choppy waters, he nailed it at least once — on the lithe, sophisticated, Stevie Wonder-like "Arrow Through Me."

Today, at 81, McCartney is an 18-time GRAMMY winner and an enormous concert draw — charging through his six-decade catalog in stadiums the world over. These albums only comprise one decade in his history, where he flourished as a mulleted stadium act alongside his keyboarding wife. But his catalog would be so much different if he never got his Wings.

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