Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” (1980)
These two music icons brought the Grammy audience to their feet after finishing this duet, which the Recording Academy considers to be the second most memorable of all time.
Michael Jackson, “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Man in the Mirror,” (1988)
Five years after “Thriller” dominated the charts, Jackson returned in 1987 with “Bad,” an album that spawned seven hit singles. He wowed audiences when he performed two of them for more than 10 minutes with very little theatrical elements to distract listeners from his powerful stage presence.
Eric Clapton, “Tears In Heaven” (1993)
Not only did Clapton deliver a flawless rendition of his emotional hit single about the death of his four-year-old son, Conor, but he did it without dropping a single tear. The 17-time Grammy Award winner deserves at least a Golden Globe just for keeping it together on stage.
Whitney Houston, “I Will Always Love You” (1994)
One of the greatest vocalists to ever live, Whitney Houston opened the 1994 Grammys with a stunning rendition of her instant-classic “I Will Always Love You” from the “Bodyguard” soundtrack. She later went on to sweep the awards, including Record and Album of the Year.
Aretha Franklin, “Nessun Dorma” (1998)
Medical reasons forced Luciano Pavarotti to cancel his planned performance of the aria from the final act of Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Turandot” last minute, but Franklin stepped in and nailed every note.
Bob Dylan, “Love Sick” (1998)
Before Dylan won Album of the Year for his 1997 record, “Time Out of Mind,” the legendary folk singer rocked his way through a performance of “Love Sick,” and didn’t miss a beat when a shirtless man with “Soy Bomb” painted on his chest began spastically dancing right next to him. Dylan ripped into one of the best guitar solos the Grammys have ever hosted as the pest was being led off stage.
Eminem, Elton John, “Stan” (2001)
When Eminem was under fire from gay rights activists for homophobic lyrics on his 2000 album “The Marshall Mathers LP,” the rapper responded with perhaps the most powerful statement possible when he performed a duet with the famous openly gay rock star.
Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya, and Lil’ Kim – “Lady Marmalade” (2002)
Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor were the stars of Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 blockbuster “Moulin Rouge,” but let’s be honest, it’s the hit single that these ladies recorded for the soundtrack that we all remember most. And the four singers got a chance to take the lead, and capitalized on it, when they treated the audience to a 21st century cabaret and a surprise appearances from Missy Elliot and Patti LaBelle.
Melissa Etheridge and Joss Stone, “Piece of My Heart” (2005)
Two-time Grammy winner Melissa Etheridge stepped proudly on stage with a bald head (her first public performance since undergoing treatment for breast cancer) to join Best New Artist nominee Joss Stone in a tribute to Janis Joplin.
Gorillaz and Madonna, “Feel Good Inc.” and “Hung Up” (2006)
Even when the pairing of performers at the Grammys doesn’t make sense on paper, like the 2006 joint performance by Damon Albarn’s animated band and pop star Madonna, it can lead to unexpectedly awesome results.
Beyonce and Tina Turner, “Proud Mary” (2008)
Grammys performances are famous for bringing together the biggest artists in the industry for unforgettable performances, including a 2008 collaboration between Tina Turner and Beyonce that brought down the house.
Pink, “Glitter in the Air” (2010)
These days, the true test of a pop star seems to (sadly) be singing live while stripping down. Pink did one better at the 52nd annual Grammy Awards when she stripped her white robe to reveal a skin-tight bodysuit — while spinning gracefully through the air Cirque du Soleil-style. Are you taking notes, Miley Cyrus?
Lady Gaga, “Born This Way” (2011)
By the time Lady Gaga took the Grammys stage in 2011, the world was already used to her crazy antics, but no one was expecting her to roll down the red carpet in a giant plastic egg. The pop star didn’t emerge until she was on stage to sing and dance her heart out in a theatrical performance of the equality anthem “Born This Way.”
Adele, “Rolling in the Deep” (2012)
The 2009 Grammy Award-winner for Best New Artist dropped a stirring comeback performance after being forced to cancel concerts in late 2011 to treat a vocal-cord hemorrhage. To make her return to the stage even sweeter, the singer won all six Grammy Awards she was nominated for.
Jennifer Hudson, “I Will Always Love You” (2012)
Just 24 hours after news of Houston’s death broke, the Grammys brought Jennifer Hudson on stage for a pitch-perfect tribute to the late legend, proving that her legacy will live on forever.
Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons, “M.a.a.D. City/Radioactive” (2016)
2016’s Grammys featured a variety of mashup performances and duets that ranged from inspired to head-scratching. One of the more curious combos was Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons. Lamar fit an explosive political statement about black people being killed within the band’s head-banging performance.
Beyonce, “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles” (2017)
This glittering gold performance of two tracks from “Lemonade” is spellbinding in its choreography and its stage design. But did we mention she did it all when she was pregnant with twins?