What A Wonderful World

Celebrate Earth Day with the GRAMMY playlist
  • Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.com
    John Mayer
  • Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage.com
    Herbie Hancock
  • Photo: Ron Galella/WireImage.com
    Marvin Gaye
  • Photo: Rick Diamond/WireImage.com
    Art Garfunkel and Paul Simon
  • Photo: Ron Galella/WireImage.com
    Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie
  • Photo: Michael Caulfield/WireImage.com
    Rubén Blades
April 20, 2011 -- 7:00 am PDT

Earth Day, the annual celebration of the birth of the modern environmental movement, has brought people from around the world together to commemorate Mother Earth and advocate for a healthy, sustainable environment for more than 40 years.

The Recording Academy got a head start on its greening efforts to preserve the planet's natural resources during the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards in February. The telecast was powered by 100 percent renewable energy. The high-profile red carpet was made from 100 percent postconsumer recycled content from recovered water bottles, tickets were printed on 100 percent recycled stock using soy-based inks and those attending the GRAMMY Awards were given the option to carpool through RideAmigos' ridesharing program. And to recognize the increasing consciousness about sustainability and its effects within the music industry, The Academy and its official recycling partner Waste Management presented Show Me The Green Light: A Conversation About Greening The Music Industry during GRAMMY Week. The event focused on the incorporation of a reduce, reuse and recycle philosophy and its emerging presence in an ever-changing industrial climate.

Regardless of whether you'll do your part by planting a garden, hugging a tree or recycling those leftover beverage cans from St. Patrick's Day, you can celebrate the planet with this GRAMMY Earth Day playlist.

"What A Wonderful World" (iTunes>)
Louis Armstrong

What makes the world more wonderful than trees of green, clouds of white and the colors of the rainbow? On this GRAMMY Hall Of Fame track (inducted in 1999) Satchmo himself can't help but think…what a wonderful world. He was also wonderfully honored with The Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1972.

Rubén Blades

Approaching music from a global perspective, Blades brings the sounds of the world together on Mundo. With contributions from musicians across Puerto Rico, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and the United States, this album took home Best World Music Album at the 45th GRAMMY Awards in 2002.

"Change The World" (iTunes>)
Eric Clapton

Clapton reached for the stars and pulled down two when this track won Record Of The Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 39th GRAMMY Awards in 1996. The track also reached No. 1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary and Adult Top 40 charts.

"What The World Needs Now Is Love" (iTunes>)
Jackie DeShannon

In a world with plenty of mountains, hillsides, oceans, and rivers, DeShannon sings of love as being what the world needs now. Co-written by GRAMMY-winning songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David, this track was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2008.

"Over The Rainbow" (iTunes>)
Judy Garland

Garland sings of rainbows, blue skies and bluebirds in this signature ballad from The Wizard Of Oz, the 1939 film which also featured Garland as the young Dorothy Gale from Kansas. There's no place like the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame for this track, which was inducted in 1981.

"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (iTunes>)
Marvin Gaye And Tammi Terrell

There wasn't a river wide enough to keep this tune from being inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 1999. The song also reached No. 3 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart in 1967.

"Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" (iTunes>)
Marvin Gaye

Considered by some to be the "mother" of all Earth Day songs, this track speaks to Gaye's concerns for the environment as evidenced by the lines "Where did all the blue sky go?" and "Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east." It reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the R&B Singles chart in 1971, and was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2002.

Dust Bowl Ballads, Volumes 1 & 2
Woody Guthrie

On this two-volume concept album Guthrie roughly follows John Steinbeck's 1939 novel The Grapes Of Wrath, chronicling the giant "Dust Storm Disaster" that hit the Great Plains in 1935, changing that part of the Earth's landscape. Both volumes were inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 1998.

"This Land Is Your Land" (iTunes>)
Woody Guthrie

From California to the New York island, this land was made for you (and Guthrie). Arguably one of the most important folk artists of his time, Guthrie received The Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 and GRAMMY Hall Of Fame honors when this standard was inducted in 1989.

"We Are The World" (iTunes>)
Michael Jackson

Originally recorded in 1985 to support USA for Africa, this anthem picked up the awards for Record and Song Of The Year at the 28th GRAMMY Awards. It was re-recorded with GRAMMY-winning producer Lionel Richie at the helm in 2010 during a time when the world extended a "helping hand" to support earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.

"Imagine" (iTunes>)
John Lennon Plastic Ono Band

These days it may be tough to imagine the world as Lennon sees it on this GRAMMY Hall Of Fame track (inducted in 1999), but the song is more relevant today than ever. Herbie Hancock recorded this anthem of peace in 2010 and garnered Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals honors at the 53rd GRAMMY Awards along with Jeff Beck, India.Arie, Konono No. 1, Pink, Oumou Sangare, and Seal. The track also appears on Songs For Japan, which was released in 2011 to benefit earthquake relief efforts in Japan.

"One Love" (iTunes>)
Bob Marley & The Wailers

One of Jamaica's first artists to earn international stardom, Marley paints an image of unity for people across the world with this anthem of one love and heart. While he never won a GRAMMY Award, Marley has received several posthumous honors, including The Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001 and five inductions into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame, including this track and his most recent induction in 2010, Catch A Fire.

"Waiting On The World To Change" (iTunes>)
John Mayer

While waiting on the world to change, Mayer took home the gold for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 49th GRAMMY Awards in 2006. The song also reached No. 1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart.

"Bridge Over Troubled Water" (iTunes>)
Simon And Garfunkel

This track garnered Simon And Garfunkel honors for Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year and Song Of The Year at the 13th GRAMMY Awards in 1970. Like a bridge over troubled water, this tune was laid down in a performance by Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli at the 52nd GRAMMY Awards in 2010, a performance that was later made available at iTunes to help raise funds for earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.

"Under The Sea (From The Little Mermaid)" (iTunes>)
Various Artists

The Caribbean crab Sebastian from Disney's The Little Mermaid proclaims to Ariel that everything's better down where it's wetter. This sing-a-long tune garnered GRAMMY honors for Best Song Written Specifically For A Motion Picture Or For Television at the 33rd GRAMMY Awards in 1990.

What eco-friendly songs will you be listening to on Earth Day? Drop us a comment and share some of the artists who will make your playlist.

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