Grammy performances are great opportunities for performers because many people in the United States are watching. The Grammy Awards are almost on par with the Super Bowl and this spawns some interesting performance ideas. Below is a list of some of the more interesting performances in Grammy history.
- Metallica Metallica performed "One" during the Grammy Awards shortly after their first "MTV" video was released. The band generated mild but silent outrage because singer James Hetfield replaced a word in the lyrics with a naughtier word. Hetfield is a man who likes to stay in character, even on polite television networks. The year 1989 was the first year of the Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Performance award and Metallica lost to Jethro Tull. This generated more outrage than Hetfield's naughty lyrics. The award was separated into two distinct awards the following year to distinguish between the two genres of music.
- Lady Gaga Lady Gaga appeared at the Grammy Awards inside of a giant egg. The artistic intent became more clear when Gaga broke out of the egg to perform the song "Born This Way."
- Eminem and Elton John Eminem is notorious among gay rights groups for lyrics that are widely construed as homophobic. Elton John, Eminem's long-time friend and mentor, is openly gay. Eminem, with tongue in cheek, agreed to perform at the Grammys on the condition that Elton John be included. His wish was granted when the two of them sang together at the Grammys. Eminem knew nothing about Elton's sexual orientation at the time, but the disclosure never ruined their friendship.
- Herbie Hancock Herbie Hancock put out some crazy music after the Miles Davis days. He performed a warped version of "Rocket" at the Grammy Awards and truly proved that he didn't lose his psychedelic roots. The breakdancers on stage were more surreal than the song itself. They sure kept up with the tempo changes, too.
- Michael Jackson Michael Jackson performed two songs at the 1988 Grammys. "The Way You Make Me Feel" featured Michael and a crew of dancers. "Man in the Mirror" featured Michael and a crew of... Southern Baptists? Anyway, a duet with Paul McCartney would have been better, but this is still probably one of the best Grammy performances of all time.