Throwback Thursday: Grammys Past and Present

This past Sunday was one of the biggest night’s in music. That’s right. It was the Grammys. Some think that the Grammys are simply a popularity contest for the biggest names in Pop, R&B, Hip-Hop, Rock and Country. For others, that’s all they need to hear to dub it as the biggest night in music. We witnessed performances by Beyonce, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Alicia Keys, Adele, John Legend, and many more. The biggest winner of the night, Adele, stunned the audience each time she graced the stage, Beyonce channeled a golden goddess with her motherhood inspired performance, and Chance the Rapper proved to be the most surprising winner, and a Grammy game changer.  Today, we’re going back in time to compare this year’s Grammys to previous years. What tributes were the most iconic? Who else has made Grammy history? And who has the most memorable Grammy snub? (Hint: Beyonce).


This year, Bruno Mars and The Time electrified the crowd with their tribute to Prince. This incredibly funky set was full of purple, sparkles, and guitars. The Time starred opposite of Prince in his 1984 movie Purple Rain while Prince wrote and produced a few of The Time’s albums. Bruno, on the other hand, grew up being heavily influenced by the likes of Prince, Elvis, and Michael Jackson, to name a few. Although Prince can never be duplicated, Bruno does a good job at imitating.

Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars during his tribute to Prince at the 2017 Grammys on Sunday

We also cannot forget Adele’s tearful tribute to George Michael. One of the most talked about moments of the night was when Adele stopped her performance of “Fastlove” and said, “I know it’s live TV. I’m sorry, I need to start again…. I can’t mess this up for him. Can we start over?” Afterwards, she belted out a near perfect performance and received a standing ovation from the audience.

But what were some of the other iconic tributes over the past few years?

2016 – Lady Gaga’s David Bowie tribute. It’s Lady Gaga. She’s theatrical and she has a wonderful voice. Enough said.

2015 – Stevie Wonder tribute. You know the old saying, “give people their flowers while they are still alive?” Well, that’s what Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga, Pharrell, Annie Lennox, John Legend, Ariana Grande, Babyface, and the Band Perry all did during the 2015 tribute to Stevie Wonder.

2012 – Whitney Huston tribute. No one will ever forget the shocking news of the passing of Whitney Houston the night before the 54th annual Grammys. Jennifer Hudson delivered a soul-shattering performance of “I Will Always Love You.”



As disappointed as many were to see Beyonce lose Album of the Year, I cannot, in good conscience, call her loss a SNUB because she lost to Adele. 25 was the love album that I did not know I needed to hear until I heard it. However, her loss is considered a major snub for the simple fact that Lemonade was a genre

Beyonce 2017 Grammys

Beyonce during Adele’s acceptance speech for AOTY

masterpiece and a shift from what she has released in the past.

Her album resonated with women of color and explored the 11 stages of the emotional roller-coaster of a relationship. She has yet to win a Grammy for AOTY despite being nominated for the third time. Adele even had to ask the question, “What does she have to do to win Album of the Year?” I’m wondering the same thing, Adele.


2015 – Beyonce. Again. This was her second time being snubbed for AOTY. Her self-titled visual album, Beyonce lost to Beck for AOTY.

2013 – Frank Ocean. Frank’s album, Channel Orange lost AOTY which is why he decided not submit his latest album, Blonde for consideration for 2017. Channel Orange was nominated for four Grammys but only received one.

2008 – Kanye West or Amy Winehouse. Kanye led the year with eight nominations for his album Graduation including AOTY. Amy Winehouse followed with the smash-hit, Back to Black. Both fell short to Herbie Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters. 



Chicago native Chance the Rapper made Grammy history by being the first artist to win a Grammy without selling any copies of his album, Coloring Book. Coloring Book is only available for streaming, and Chance has garnered huge success for an artist that is not signed to a record label. The 23-year-old indie artist beat his mentor Kanye, and Drake for Best Rap Album along with wins in the categories for Best New Artist, and Best Rap Performance.

Chance the Rapper

Chance the Rapper accepts one of three awards at the 2017 Grammys.

2014 – 33 same-sex couples got married during Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ performance of “Same Love.”

2012 – Whitney Houston passed the night before the 54th annual Grammys. LL Cool J was hosted the show and it is ranked as the 2nd highest-rated Grammys telecast with 39.9 million viewers.

All in all, the 2017 Grammys had its enjoyable moments. Chance the Rapper wins the night with his self-promotion of Coloring Book. From a marketing standpoint, Chance is able to have full creative control of his music, including choosing who he would like to collaborate with. I am interested to see how this plays out in the coming years for him and other indie artists looking to score big.

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