Music

Brandi Carlile, Lionel Richie Lead Grammys 'In Memoriam' Tribute to John Prine, Kenny Rogers

Brandi Carlile, Brittany Howard with Coldplay’s Chris Martin, and Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak paid tribute to the artists who died last year during the 2021 Grammy Awards’ In Memoriam segment.

Introduced by Grammys host Trevor Noah, the lengthy 12-minute block kicked off with Mars and Paak — who performed earlier in the night as the duo Silk Sonic — roaring through “Long Tall Sally” and “Good Golly Miss Molly” in honor of Little Richard. Mars handled vocal duties, while Paak backed him up on drums. Little Richard, the architect of rock & roll, died last May at age 87.

Lionel Richie followed with a somber rendition of “Lady,” a signature song of Kenny Rogers that Richie wrote and “The Gambler” recorded in 1980. Rogers, a Country Music Hall of Fame member and collaborator of Richie, died last March at 81. “I miss you, Kenny. I miss you, man,” Richie said at song’s end.

Brandi Carlile sang John Prine’s “I Remember Everything,” a song that won Prine a pair of posthumous Grammys during the afternoon’s pre-televised ceremony for Best American Roots Song and Best American Roots Performance. Prine died from complications related to Covid-19 in April 2020 at age 73. Accompanying herself on acoustic guitar and wearing a shimmering suit, Carlile, a friend of Prine’s, added emotional heft to “I Remember Everything” — the last song Prine recorded before his death. “We all thank you, John,” Carlile said, “for everything.”

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Howard, with Martin on piano, wrapped up the segment with “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” as images of Bunny Wailer, Hal Willner, and Jerry Jeff Walker flashed by. Howard released a version of the inspirational ballad last November. The In Memoriam montage also included images or video of Eddie Van Halen, Pop Smoke, Mary Wilson, Charlie Daniels, bluegrass picker Tony Rice, Bill Withers, Chick Corea, Jan Howard, Johnny Nash, Sophie, Charley Pride, Ennio Morricone, and Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne, among many others.

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