UPDATE: On Thursday (Feb. 2), The Recording Academy announced that Dave Grohl would not be performing with Anderson .Paak and A Tribe Called Quest at the 59th annual Grammy Awards. In a statement, The Recording Academy and AEG Ehrlich Productions apologized for the error, saying their “announcement was made prematurely” and “prior to confirming all participants.”
Yesterday (Jan. 31), the series of this year’s “Grammy Moments” was announced, featuring the usual roster of unlikely collaborators who will be pairing up to make some memories at music’s biggest night next Sunday, Feb. 12. The announced couplings ranged from the fairly predictable (Daft Punk and The Weeknd — who’da thought?) to the significantly less obvious (Maren Morris and Alicia Keys), but the presence of one man was all but assured: Cuddly Foo Fighters frontman and professional all-things-music celebrator Dave Grohl, who will be performing alongside burgeoning soul sensation Anderson .Paak and legendary hip-hop crew A Tribe Called Quest.
Three things are certain every year at the Grammys: Death montages, Internet outrage at young people not knowing who old dudes are, and Dave Grohl making new friends. It seems like every ceremonies for the last decade has involved the esteemed rock representative teaming up with someone unexpected to make beautiful music, typically with endearingly awkward results. Before he adds his shredding to a particularly rocked-up version of Tribe’s “We the People” (or whatever song they may choose), let’s take a look back at the legacy that led us invariably to this moment: a history of Dave Grohl’s unlikely Grammy collabs.
2004: Foo Fighters and Chick Corea, “Times Like These”
At the height of the Grammys mid-’00s fascination with the cross-genre collaboration, the Foos took the stage with jazz fusion pianist Chick Corea to perform their Best Rock Performance-nominated hit single “Times Like These.” It was a performance that started out interesting, as Correa’s twinkling keys complemented a slowed-down version of the group’s power-pop rave-up pretty nicely, but made less sense as the song kicked into top gear, with Corea’s scattered ivory-tickling sounding like it was huffing alongside the band, struggling to keep up.
2008: Foo Fighters w/ Ann Marie Calhoun and the My Grammy Moment Orchestra, “The Pretender”
This was an even more awkward pairing than usual for the Foos at the Grammys, because it was presented so uncomfortably: Jason Bateman announced Anne Marie Calhoun as the winner of the My Grammy Moment contest to be a featured performer alongside Grohl & Co. for a performance of their statue-winning “The Pretender,” while the other two nominees had to shuffle of the stage as losers. The actual performance was fine, though the orchestra (including young violinist Calhoun) was barely audible for most of it, until the song’s conspicuously long breakdown section really gave the strings their time to shine.
2009: Dave Grohl & Paul McCartney, “I Saw Her Standing There”
Certainly one of the less surprising of these collabs — though not as much of a no-brainer as his presence in the All-Star Joe Strummer tribute performance of “London Calling” in 2003, which was too obvious to even be worth mentioning. Still, gotta appreciate any performance that allows Grohl to unleash his inner Animal on the drums in service of a rock All-Timer, as if The Beatles’ early classic “I Saw Her Standing There” had some hidden proto-punk cred we’d never before realized.
2012: Foo Fighters feat. Deadmau5, “Rope (Remix)”
Pulling double-duty at the ’12 ceremonies, the Foos played Wasting Light second single “Walk” earlier in the night, before performing its predecessor “Rope” as part of the Grammys’ odd Everything Is EDM medley — which also featured David Guetta doing some faux-knob-twiddling on his since-forgotten Lil Wayne and Chris Brown collab “I Can Only Imagine.” Dance’s resident demon rodent also showed up halfway through “Rope,” as the performance slowed down into the song’s Deadmau5 remix, before the masked man himself took center stage for his own “Raise Your Weapon.” The whole thing wasn’t quite as bumpy as it sounds from the description, but it was close.
2014: Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Dave Grohl and Lindsey Buckingham, “Copy of A” / “My God Is the Sun”
To be fair, this time, the awkwardness wasn’t Grohl’s — he fits well enough with Queens of the Stone Age and Nine Inch Nails, even if all three artists’ intrinsic brands of hard rock are pretty disparate. Instead, it belonged to the folksy six-string plucking of Fleetwood Mac axeman Lindsey Buckingham, which laid on top of the performance like Bacon Bits on a cheesecake, and to the Grammys broadcast in general, who decided to mostly tune the performance’s final half out so they could get through the credits early.
2016: Dave Grohl & The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Elevator Jam
Not part of the official Grammys celebration, but perhaps it was due to a lack of invitation to perform at the awards proper that Grohl decided to strap on a bass drum and tour the premises with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, marching all the way to the ceremonies together. It’s a lesson the Grammys have apparently well-heeded for 2017 — give Grohl an official spot on the lineup, or you might see him grabbing famous folks at random on the red carpet for impromptu jam sessions.