Editorial: Grammy Salute to the Sounds of Change

March 17, 2021, there was the music special Grammy Salute to the Sounds of Change, hosted by rapper and actor Common. It was a celebration of classic hits that stood the test of time. He covered the music history and the events during which some of those famous songs came out. Common was a fantastic host.



-It started with Cynthia Erivo’s performance of John Lennon’s classic hit Imagine. An inspirational song that still resonates, even 50 years later! 

-Chris Stapleton performs Louis Armstrong’s classic song What a Wonderful World.

-LeAnn Rimes sang Loretta Lynn’s The Pill, a controversial song from the 

The 70s.

-Patti Labelle sang the legendary hit You Don’t Own Me, an original by Lesley Gore.

-Andra Day, who portrayed the late Billie Holiday in the mini-series, sang the historic song Strange Fruit, which covers the tough subject of lynching in the south. 

-Leon Bridges sang his impactful hit Sweeter, a song released during the Black Lives Matter Movement.

-Gladys Night performed Marvin Gaye’s classic What’s Going On. The musical crew consisted of Sheila E for Percussion, Israel Houghton for Guitar, Smoke for Keyboard and Adam Blackstone for Bass. 

-Eric Church sang War, an original by Edwin Starr.

-John Fogerty sang two songs:

   *A cover of Weeping

   *His original hit, the song Fortunate Son, which he first performed as a criticism of the Vietnam War

Billie Porter performed the hit song You Are My Friend by Patti Labelle.

Emily Estefan sang This Is What

Brad Paisley performed his 2009 hit Welcome to the Future. The first time he sang it was in July 2009 at the White House when Barack Obama was the first Black president. 

Yolanda Adams sang a cover of We Shall Overcome, Pete Seeger.

Historical Moments -Examples

-John Prine’s single Paradise is a song that covers the struggles of strip mining in Kentucky

-Feminist segment includes a clip of Shania Twain’s Man I Feel Like a Woman. This portion covered Kesha’s legendary moment when she courageously sang her song Praying, after telling her story about being a victim of sexual abuse (2018) 

-The Grammys started to take place during the Civil Rights Era. Aretha Franklin performed Bridge over Troubled Water, an original by Simon & Garfunkel.

An example of homage to the civil rights movement was Common & John Legend’s performance of the song Glory from the film with the same name covering the march in Selma, Alabama. 

-The Grammys at the 56th Grammys did a massive wedding ceremony.

-Gloria and Emilio Estefan were among the first artists to represent Latin music that led to Latin X, then the Latin Grammy Awards. 

There was so much music history in this two-hour program. I may have left out some things. My apologies. I enjoyed watching this music special and learning about the songs that marked moments in history and stood the test of time. These tunes are timeless classics and have an incredible legacy—excellent job to Common for hosting the Grammy Salute to the Sounds of Change.

Flora Youssef

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