Since 1991, the Recording Academy’s MusiCares, which helps musicians in need, has awarded a Person of the Year award during Grammy Week to honor Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett, Bruce Springsteen, Luciano Pavarotti, and other superstars at a gala -Ceremony.
With this type of event banned by the pandemic, MusiCares got smaller on Friday evening March 12th – but made an even bigger and certainly more global statement.
Instead of a person, it was People of the Year, who recognized basic musicians and backline employees in the industry with “Music on a Mission”, a 70-minute virtual concert and a fundraising campaign. During the premiere streamcast, new performances and archive clips from previous events were mixed. Almost 18,700 were shown. This shows the good work MusiCares has done through testimonials from recipients – including a backstage VIP coordinator and touring drummer for Little Big Town – and previous award winners such as Elton John, Carole King, Gloria Estefan and Bonnie Raitt among others.
The tidbit, of course, was seldom seen material from these earlier ceremonies, from Cirque du Soleil’s “LOVE” cast and Paul McCartney and his band in 2012 to Lady Gaga’s solo rendition of “You’ve Got a Friend” in honor of Carole King two years later. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and Stevie Nicks teamed up for a blazing “Stop Draggin ‘My Heart Around” in 2017, while Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played “Born to Run” from 2013 and the Jonas Brothers Aerosmith from “ Crazy “honored” at last year’s ceremony.
Highlights of the fresh clips included BTS ‘energetic rendition of “Dynamite” in an empty theater, HER’s retro-soulful “Fight For You” and HAIM’s lively “The Steps”. John Legend also went the solo route, playing “You Move I Move” in front of a Grammys wall in his home.
“Music on a Mission” will remain available at grammy.com/musicares. Tickets are $ 25.
The 63rd annual Grammy Awards, meanwhile, will take place on Sunday, March 14th at 8 p.m. on CBS (WWJ, Channel 62 in Detroit). The pre-show premiere ceremony will be streamed at 3pm on grammy.com.