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The 2023 Grammy Awards honored the lives and careers lost in the music industry this past year in a touching In Memoriam segment, with performances by Kacey Musgraves, Sheryl Crow, Mick Fleetwood, Bonnie Raitt and Quavo.
Host Trevor Noah introduced the tribute, acknowledging the importance of how music can unite people through their differences, while also acknowledging the influence of Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons in hip-hop over the years. “It’s Black kids and white kids rejecting segregation in the 1950s, and instead, blending R&B, country and even gospel into rock and roll,” Noah said. “In the 1980s, a young Black rapper from Queens and a Jewish white kid in his NYU dorm came together to make some of the greatest hip-hop of all time. They made a powerful new sound together because they were different.”
He continued, “Music isn’t just the harmony of sound. It’s the harmony of human beings of different races, genders, religions, identities, sexual orientations, knowing with difference but rejecting division to find moments of joy, and unity and harmony. And that’s what music is all about.”
Surrounded by a garden of roses and dressed in red, Kacey Musgraves performed “Coal Miner’s Daughter” in tribute to the life and career of Loretta Lynn, while playing the same guitar that Lynn often used with her full name written across the neck.
Quavo honored his nephew and fellow Migos rapper Takeoff with a moving performance of “Without You,” featuring worship music group Maverick City Music. The rapper released the track “Without You” last month, only two months after Takeoff, 28, was shot and killed in November. After the performance, Quavo held up Takeoff’s chain to the sky. Maverick City Music is also nominated for four awards at this year’s ceremony.
In remembrance of Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie, who also died in November, Crow, Fleetwood and Raitt closed out the segment to sing “Songbird,” one of four songs written solely by McVie on the band’s 1977 album Rumours. Crow played on the piano, while Fleetwood performed on a handheld drum. McVie also posthumously won a Grammy award for best arrangement, instruments and vocals for “Songbird (Orchestral Version)” by Vince Mendoza.
The tribute also remembered Olivia Newton-John, Lisa Marie Presley, David Crosby, Jeff Beck, Terry Hall, Anita Pointer, King Crimson’s Ian MacDonald, Irene Cara, Yukihiro Takahashi, The Clash’s Keith Levene, Coolio and Depeche Mode’s Andrew Fletcher.
The 65th Grammy Awards are being held Sunday at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
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