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Iconic Grammy Performances: Aretha Franklin, Christina Aguilera, and more

With the upcoming 62nd GRAMMY Awards airing this Sunday, let’s look back at some pretty iconic performances. Some standout features include Aretha Franklin’s aria, Christina Aguilera’s chilling rendition of “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” and Prince and Beyoncé’s high-energy duet. This article is a full-on history lesson of musical appreciation for some of the GRAMMY’s best acts.

Iconic Grammy Performances: Aretha Franklin, Christina Aguilera, and more

Aretha Franklin “Nessun Dorma” at the 40th GRAMMYs, 1998

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, found herself singing the classic aria “Nessun Dorma,” originally planned as Pavarotti performance. The legendary opera singer pulled out last minute due to sickness. However, producer Ken Ehrlich remembered seeing Franklin perform the song at a MusiCares dinner nights before in tribute to Pavarotti. He asked her to fill in, she agreed, and the rest is history; this performance is the epitome of stylistic interpretation. That night, Franklin invented Opera Soul. And it will forever go down in history as one of the greatest contributions to modern music.


Christina Aguilera “A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” at the 49th GRAMMYs, 2007

Christina Aguilera delivers a powerhouse performance with her rendition of James Brown’s “A Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” The song has a double meaning: the rules of society gave advantages to men; however, everything would be nothing without a woman or a girl. Aguilera comes out in a white suit, ready to riff away. Soon, she topples over herself and leans into a tasteful wail (or scream?). Throughout this performance, she is dynamic, captivating, and dominates the man’s world like a boss herself!


Beyoncé and Prince Medley at the 46th GRAMMYs, 2004

His Royal Badness, or Prince, opened the 46th GRAMMYs alongside superstar legend-then-baby-diva Beyoncé. The opening act consisted of his hit “Purple Rain,” electric guitars, tambourines, and lots of energy from both artists. Beyoncé joined the legend on the main stage, sharing the mic with her signature husky belt. Although known for being an isolated and socially-awkward musician, Prince gravitated toward the singer and shared her energy. There was a temporary shift to “Crazy In Love,” Beyoncé’s first solo single; however, it goes back to Prince’s “Purple Rain” rather quickly. Even though it was Prince’s show, Beyoncé held her own and supported the legend with tons of energy.

Prince didn’t lie when he said, “Don’t hate us because we’re fabulous.” Following this performance, he returned to the mainstream with six #1 albums in the US that decade.

Fun Fact: Beyoncé initially did not want to do this duet because her first solo album, “Dangerously in Love,” was being released, meaning she was already busy promoting and performing music. However, producer Ken Ehrlich convinced her after an LA photoshoot.


What is your favorite Grammy performance? Let us know in the comments!

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