On February 8 the recording academy announced a pair of special tributes for music’s biggest night: the late George Michael and Prince will be celebrated at the 59th Grammy Awards, which will air live on CBS on Sunday, February 12.
Prince died on April 21, 2016, at age 57 as the result of a drug overdose. He’s best known for his musical film “Purple Rain” and its soundtrack, which won him an Oscar and two of his seven career Grammys.
George Michael died a few months later, on Christmas Day. The British star rose to fame as a member of the duo Wham! before striking out on his own. His most famous songs include “Careless Whisper,” “I Want Your Sex” and “Freedom ’90.” Though he only won two Grammys during his life, one of those was Album of the Year for his debut solo album “Faith” in 1989.
Said recording academy president and CEO Neil Portnow in a statement, “George Michael and Prince were pop icons who showcased rare musical genius and otherworldly charisma. While each possessed a distinct style and sound, they were both adored by audiences worldwide. The passings of two such creative innovators were a huge loss for the creative community; The Recording Academy is humbled to pay homage to their tremendous legacies on the Grammy stage.”
Added Grammy executive producer Ken Ehrlich, “While the primary focus of the Grammy Awards is to celebrate and honor the year’s best in music, we consider it our responsibility to tell music’s broader story by honoring its legends lost.”
Specific details about the tribute performances were not revealed, but previously announced performers include Lady Gaga, Kelsea Ballerini, Lukas Graham, Demi Lovato, Andra Day, Tori Kelly, Cynthia Erivo, John Legend, Adele, William Bell, Chance The Rapper, Gary Clark Jr., Daft Punk, Alicia Keys, Bruno Mars, Maren Morris, Anderson Paak, Sturgill Simpson, A Tribe Called Quest, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, and The Weeknd. The 2017 Grammy Awards are being held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The event is being hosted for the first time by James Corden, a Tony and Emmy winning performer and the host of CBS’s “Late Late Show” where he has already gotten cozy with several Grammy winners thanks to his viral segment “Carpool Karaoke.”
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