Grammy Awards: Aerosmith, Run-DMC Kick Down the Wall Between Genres Again

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The hip-hop legends took to the stage after the rockers performed "Livin' on the Edge," which saw lead singer Steven Tyler do a brief, impromptu duet with Lizzo.

Rock juggernaut Aerosmith reunited with hip-hop pioneers Run-DMC on Sunday night at the 2020 Grammy Awards as part of a tribute performance to the classic rockers' 50-year music career and a MusiCares philanthropic honor. 

Alongside the surviving members of Run-DMC, the legendary rockers delivered their signature cool and charismatic bravado as they performed the genre-smashing remix of their 1975 hit "Walk This Way." The Sunday night performance brought the stadium to its feet as Joseph "Run" Simmons and Darryl "DMC" McDaniel took center stage with Tyler by busting through a wall. In the video, it's the opposite, with Aerosmith busting through the literal and metaphorical wall between the two groups. 

Peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, the 1986 crossover collaboration not only surpassed Aerosmith's original release on the charts, but laid the foundation for the rap-rock genre. 

Taking the stage minus original drummer Joey Krammer, the Boston rockers kicked off the performance with "Livin' on the Edge," to a background of fire and screens full of civil rights imagery. Tyler and lead guitarist Joe Perry both walked into the audience during the song, with the singer even stopping for a brief duet with Lizzo

The four-time Grammy winners' appearance at the Staples Center came just short of the 30th anniversary of Aerosmith's Grammys stage debut, which saw the band perform their version of The Beatles' "Come Together" back in 1991. The Sunday night performance doubled as recognition of the group's considerable career and their selection as the 2020 recipients of the MusiCares Person of the Year award.

Granted by the charity arm of the Recording Academy, the honor, established in 1991, has commended recipients for their artistic achievement and impact in the music industry, as well as their dedication to philanthropy. Across Aerosmith's five decades of music-making, the band has supported nonprofit organizations such as Amnesty International, Save the Music Foundation and Janie's Fund, which was founded by lead singer Steven Tyler and partners with the nonprofit Youth Villages to help abused and neglected girls.

Tyler has previously supported MusiCares, having donated clothing and memorabilia to the organization's annual benefits and performed at a 2008 benefit concert for the MAP Fund, which provides addiction recovery treatment and resources for members of the music community. On Friday night, just two days before the 62nd Grammys ceremony, Melissa Etheridge, Kesha, the Jonas Brothers and John Legend all honored Aerosmith's iconic catalog with their takes on the band's biggest hits as part of the Grammy MusiCares Tribute and charity event.

Since forming in 1970, Aerosmith has released 15 studio albums and sold an estimated 150 million records worldwide. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, Aerosmith has amassed 21 Hot 100 entries since forming and scored their first No. 1 single with 1998's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing." All four of the band's Grammy wins have been in the best rock performance by a duo or group for their hits, "Janie's Got a Gun," "Livin' on the Edge," "Crazy" and "Pink."

The 62nd annual Grammy Awards were hosted by Alicia Keys and aired live on CBS.