2016 Grammy Awards Tributes to Honor Bowie, Frey

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Joe Perry, Johnny Depp and Alice Cooper are among the few classic rockers performing at this year's Grammy Awards

Joe Perry, Johnny Depp and Alice Cooper are among the few classic rockers performing at this year’s Grammy Awards

Update (2/15/16): Joni Mitchell has already won for Best Album Notes for the album Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting To Be Danced. That’s her ninth Grammy (and first since 2007.)

Buddy Guy has won for Best Blues Album, his seventh Grammy. And the Amy documentary about Amy Winehouse has won for Best Music Film. Complete list of winners (and nominees) are here.

Update (2/10/16): Eagles members Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit will be joined by band co-founder Bernie Leadon and their friend Jackson Browne to pay tribute at the Grammy Awards to Glenn Frey. Billboard speculates that a performance of “Take it Easy” is inevitable. Given that it was the band’s breakthrough hit and that Frey famously helped Browne finish writing the song, that seems like a safe bet. But considering the talent assembling for the event, anything is possible.

Click here to watch Browne discussing “Take it Easy” during his current tour.

Music lovers were shaken by a sobering start to 2016 with the deaths of classic rock legends like David Bowie,  Glenn Frey, Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kantner and Signe Toly Anderson, Natalie Cole and Maurice White. It’s sad to say that there are already almost too many high-profile musicians to salute, but this year’s Grammys will feature tribute performances for at least several of them on Monday, February 15th at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The 58th Grammy Awards will be broadcast live on CBS at 8 p.m. ET. LL Cool J hosts for the fifth consecutive year.

Supergroup The Hollywood Vampires are putting together a performance to honor Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister who died in late December, and Lady Gaga will be singing a solo Bowie medley. “We started this band as a means to toast our ‘dead drunk friends’ at the Rainbow, all the ghosts at the bar, and now I guess Lemmy is involved in that too,” Alice Cooper explained to Rolling Stone. The Vampires consist of Cooper, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan, Johnny Depp and a rotating cast of other musicians. As for Gaga’s Bowie tribute, Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich says, “It’s going to be a true homage to who David was, particularly musically, but not ignoring his influence on fashion and pop culture in a much broader way.” Gaga has received high marks for her rendition of the National Anthem at Super Bowl 50 and also performed a tribute to The Sound Of Music at last year’s Oscars ceremony.

Another group of artists – Gary Clark, Jr., Bonnie Raitt and breakout country star Chris Stapleton – are putting together a Grammy tribute of their own for blues legend B.B. King, who died last May. “It’s been a tough year,” Ehrlich admitted to The Los Angeles Times. “We knew we wanted to do something for B.B. He was really one of our special Grammy guys.” Over the course of his life – 89 years – King received 15 Grammys as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987.

It would be a travesty for the Grammys to overlook tributes to Frey and others as well, but so far Bowie, Kilmister and King are the only ones with confirmed nods. Read Best Classic Bands contributor Jim Sullivan’s take on the deaths of older rock legends here.

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Best Classic Bands Staff
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