Every year the Grammys have an In Memorium segment, but this year’s was certainly longer than usual. Even with the earlier tributes to George Michael, Sharon Jones, Phife Dawg and Prince, the annual montage was still a sobering reminder of all the great artists who passed away in the last year. John Legend and The Color Purple‘s Cynthia Erivo performed a beautiful rendition of The Beach Boys‘ “God Only Knows” to introduce and conclude the tribute.
After an introduction from Recording Academy president Neil Portnow about the importance of preserving music’s place in American culture, Legend opened the performance solo, accompanying himself on the piano before the video tribute began. Featured were Merle Haggard, Joey Feek and Juan Gabriel, among many, many others.