Last night marked the return of America’s annual extravaganza of music – the Grammys – and it was a big one with performances from Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and Nine Inch Nails and Queens Of The Stone Age. Most surprisingly, Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons took to the stage to perform an unexpectedly great mash-up of ‘MAAD City’ and ‘Radioactive’.
It’s not the first team effort the Awards have played host to. No, no, no! Like a parent insisting the whole family sits down for Sunday dinner every week even when there’s a match on, the Grammys regularly bring together groups of unlikely-to-hang-out-in-real-life artists. Here are five others we didn’t see coming…
1. Beyoncé and Prince
FYI this isn’t slinky secret-album Beyoncé, this is 2004 glittery-pink-tutu Beyoncé. There’s hand-waving, mic-sharing, tambourine-shaking, whole-body-shimmying and of course all-round fierceness from both B and P. He does a guitar solo to the ‘Crazy In Love’ ‘uh ohs’ and she belts out the last note of ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ in front of a wind machine. The highlight though? Justin Timberlake in the audience grinning in an overstimulated manner.
2. Dave Grohl, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt, Elvis Costello and Tony Kanal
Oh-ma-gawd it’s the rock supergroup to end all supergroups: the best of Foo Fighters and No Doubt smushed together with Costello and Bruce and the E Street Band. This 2003 collab’s less genre-crossing more “how the hell did the manage to get ALL those musicians to be free on the same night?!”. The lads perform ‘London Calling’ as a touching tribute to Joe Strummer. Lined up in all-black outfits infront of boyband mic stands, there’s choreography, harmonies and an incredible guitar solo.
3. Elton John and Eminem
What happens when a figurehead of the gay community comes together with a rapper who frequently uses homophobic language? Answer: Confusion, outrage, a Mr Blobby inspired suit and a classic Grammy duet. The 2001 collab opens with Em performing ‘Stan’ while sitting on a bed wearing baby blue sweats before shit gets cray and Elton appears on the keys singing Dido’s part.
4. Melissa Etheridge and Joss Stone
Before Joss Stone became the girl who moved to America and came back with a weird accent who wasn’t Natasha Bedingfield, she was a genuinely impressive up-and-coming soul singer. She hit the Grammy stage in 2005 to perform a tribute to Janis Joplin with singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge, who was recovering from breast cancer at the time. Emotional and powerful, their duet is a truly brilliant mishmash of ‘Cry Baby’ and ‘Piece Of My Heart’.
5. Madonna and Gorillaz
Finally, Madonna and Gorillaz teamed up to do a mash-up of ‘Feel Good Inc.’ and ‘Hung Up’ in 2006. Gorillaz performed ‘live’ as a hologram and were joined by a hologram version of Madonna sporting a lilac-corseted leotard. We have to admit the production’s pretty cool even if they essentially took turns to sing their songs while on stage at the same time.
I highly recommend watching this not-unexpected but still brilliant performance of Kanye West and Jamie Foxx performing ‘Gold Digger’ as marching band leaders. They look so cute in their tall silly hats…