During a year more political than Grammys past, Cabello used her onstage opportunity to shout-out those impacted by the DREAM Act, as she is an immigrant herself. Before presenting U2’s powerful (and scenic) performance of “Get Out Of Your Own Way,” Cabello briefly shared her own inspiring story amid fears of the Trump administration phasing out the Obama-era DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) program. “Just like the DREAMers, my parents brought me to this country with nothing in their pockets but hope. They showed me what it means to work twice as hard and never give up. And honestly no part of my journey is any different from theirs,” she said. "I’m a proud Cuban-Mexican immigrant born in eastern Havana standing in front of you on the Grammy stage in New York City. And all I know is that just like dreams, these kids can’t be forgotten and are worth fighting for."
Beyoncé's Balancing Act (2017)
After snagging nine nominations at the 2017 ceremony, Beyonce graced the stage once again— this time in her pregnant glory. After an emotional opening dialogue about motherhood and birth, she then performed “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles”— all while balancing on a tilted chair. She went home with just two Grammys, but her performance was the most talked-about one of the year.
Kendrick Lamar Makes a Powerful Statement (2016)
After winning five of his 11 Grammy nominations, Kendrick Lamar gave a visceral performance of “The Blacker The Berry” and “Alright” off his acclaimed second studio album To Pimp a Butterfly. The Compton rapper marched on stage in chains and ended with a formidable day-glo freestyle finale with with Lamar referencing Trayvon Martin’s death in 2012.
Lady Gaga Pays Tribute to David Bowie (2016)
No other artist could pay tribute toDavid Bowiequite the same way asLady Gaga, who is indebted to Bowie’s iconic style. Backed with a band featuring Chic’sNile Rodgers(a Bowie collaborator), Gaga performed a nine-song medley of the Thin White Duke's classic songs -- from “Space Oddity” to “Heroes.”
‘Hamilton’ Gives a History Lesson (2016)
The cast of the runaway hit musical Hamilton performed the opening number “Alexander Hamilton” at the 2016 Grammy Awards, marking the first time the Grammys aired live from Broadway.
A Bluesy Farewell to B.B. King (2016)
Bonnie Raitt, Chris Stapleton and Gary Clark, Jr. performed a wailing tribute to blues great B.B. King at the 2016 Grammy Awards. The trio performed the classic King track “The Thrill Is Gone” (originally released in 1969 and reaching the Hot 100 in 1970 at No. 15), which featured Stapleton and Clark trading verses and Raitt entering the fray with her own fiery guitar solo. B.B. would’ve been proud.
The Church of Beyoncé the Divine (2015)
Beyoncé took the stage for a truly heavenly edition of the Thomas A. Dorsey gospel classic “Take My Hand, Precious Lord.” Backed by a men’s choir, her voice was triumphant and her look just angelic. While she didn’t go home with album of the year for her self-titled record, she commanded the stage.
Getting Cheeky (2015)
Taken from their duets album, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett performed “Cheek to Cheek,” written by Irving Berlin. Classily dressed in black, the duo gave a fun and saucy performance and it was a moment for Gaga to shine in all her vocal glory.
The Unlikely Trio (2015)
Getting Rihanna, Paul McCartney, and Kanye West together to perform “FourFiveSeconds” was the ultimate multigenerational mash-up -- and definitely one of the best performances of the 2015 Grammy Awards.
Imma Let You Finish — For Real (2015)
What was initially thought to be a repeat of the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards run-in between Kanye West and Taylor Swift didn’t turn out so. Some people learn their lesson. When Beck won album of the year and 'Ye attempted to take the stage, laughs were had in the theater. (Of course, Yeezus had plenty to say about Beck’s unlikely win after the ceremony.)
One To Remember (2014)
Metallica performs at the Grammys for the first time since 1992, revisiting its 1988 classic “One” with classical pianist Lang Lang -- who phones drummer Lars Ulrich in San Francisco from Bejing to cook up the collaboration. “He’s like a conductor,” Lang says -- though most conductors don’t use pyro.
Christian MC Lecrae is the first rapper to win best gospel album for Gravity.
A Cowboy’s Farewell (2012)
Glen Campbell -- a four-time Grammy winner who is suffering from Alzheimer’s and is in the midst of a farewell tour -- is honored by Blake Shelton, who sings his hit “Southern Nights,” and The Band Perry, which performs “Gentle on My Mind.” Campbell then joins them onstage to sing “Rhinestone Cowboy.”
Rolling In The Gold (2012)
Just two years after Beyoncé sets a record for most wins by a female artist, Adele ties it by taking home six awards. The night begins with a poignant tribute to Whitney Houston, who died just the day before. Host LL Cool J speaks movingly about “a death in the family,” and Jennifer Hudson sings “I Will Always Love You.”
Which Came First, The Lady Or The Egg? (2011)
Lady Gaga is carried down the red carpet inside a giant egg -- and doesn’t stop for interviews because the latch is stuck. She emerges onstage to sing “Born This Way” and wins three Grammys. She later tells Jay Leno she spent three days in the “temperature-controlled” egg.
Greatest Of Ease (2010)
The crowd at the Staples Center gasps as Pink performs aerial gymnastics while singing “Glitter in the Air.”
Record Pace (2010)
Beyoncé sets a new record for a female artist when she takes home six Grammys, including song of the year for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).” Taylor Swift becomes the youngest-ever album of the year winner (at age 20) when Fearless nabs the trophy -- one of seven wins to date for Swift.
Baby Mama Drama (2009)
A very pregnant M.I.A. performs the hook of “Swagga Like Us,” joined by Kanye West, Jay Z, Lil Wayne and T.I. How pregnant? Tonight is her due date. She does not give birth onstage -- her son arrives three days later.
This Is 50 (2008)
For the Grammys’ golden anniversary, Tina Turner is lured out of retirement to duet on “Proud Mary” with Beyoncé. The night’s big winner is Amy Winehouse, who becomes the fifth woman to take home five trophies in one night.
Presenter Ellen DeGeneres announces, “Our next performer needs no introduction,” and then doesn’t give one to Paul McCartney, who sings live on the Grammys for the first time, performing “Fine Line” from his Chaos and Creation in the Backyard and “Helter Skelter.” He returns later to join Linkin Park and Jay Z for “Yesterday.” Jay Z stages a Beatles reunion by wearing a John Lennon T-shirt.
Holograms Get Down (2006)
Gorillaz -- the collaboration between Damon Albarn and cartoonist Jamie Hewlett -- appear as holograms to perform “Feel Good Inc.,” joined onstage first by De La Soul and then by Madonna, as the holograms segue into her song “Hung Up.”
Bald, Proud And Loud (2005)
A shaven-headed Melissa Etheridge appears onstage following chemotherapy for breast cancer, and stuns the audience with a fiery duet with Joss Stone on a Janis Joplin tribute, “Piece of My Heart.”
The Big Open (2004)
One of the most memorable show openings in Grammy history features Beyoncé teamed with Prince, for a medley of three songs from Purple Rain and a little “Crazy in Love” thrown into the mix.
Billy Joel and Tony Bennett team up on “New York State of Mind” in tribute to New York after 9/11. Alan Jackson provides an emotional moment when he performs “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).”
Elton & Em (2001)
Eminem battles accusations of homophobia by performing “Stan” with Elton John. Later, host Jon Stewart says that after performing with Elton, Eminem also has agreed to go to the bathroom with George Michael.
That Dress (2000)
One of the most memorable Grammy images of all time: the green Versace silk-chiffon dress worn by Jennifer Lopez. Her song “Waiting for Tonight” is up for best dance recording that year. Cher’s “Believe” wins, but 14 years later no one remembers what Cher was wearing.
Smooth Operator (2000)
Carlos Santana released his first album in 1969 and won his first Grammy in 1989. Tonight, powered by “Smooth,” he sweeps the awards -- eight wins ties the record for the most Grammys earned in one evening set by Michael Jackson and Thriller in 1984.
La Buena Vida (1999)
Ricky Martin, then virtually unknown outside the Latin pop world, gyrates his way into the mainstream with his performance of “The Cup of Life.”
During Bob Dylan’s performance of “Love Sick,” one of the “fans” onstage with Dylan is performance artist Michael Portnoy, who tears off his shirt, revealing the words “Soy Bomb” scrawled across his chest, then launches into a memorable spastic dance.
This Is 40 (1998)
The 40th annual Grammys are marked by a number of all-time stand-out moments: An hour into the live telecast, Luciano Pavarotti tells producer Ken Ehrlich over the phone from his hotel room that he is too ill to perform -- the first time in Grammy history that an artist cancels an appearance while the show is already on the air. Ehrlich races to Aretha Franklin’s dressing room. The diva is 30 minutes away from singing “Respect” with Dan Aykroyd and John Goodman. She agrees to also perform the aria “Nessun Dorma” (which she had sung three days earlier at a MusiCares fundraiser). Ehrlich would later call the 40th awards show “the night Aretha Franklin saved the Grammys.”
Teenage Dream (1997)
LeAnn Rimes, 14, becomes the youngest person to win a Grammy up to that point, when she takes home best new artist and best female country vocal performance. (In 2002 The Peasall Sisters -- Sarah, Hannah and Leah, ages 13, 9, and 7, respectively -- break the record when they share in the Grammy wins for their contribution to the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack.)
Take A Bow, Maestro (1997)
Conductor Georg Solti becomes the most decorated man in Grammy history when he wins his 31st award for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg.”
Bono Effs It Up (1994)
U2 win best alternative music album for Zooropa and Bono accepts by saying, “I think I’d like to give a message to the young people of America -- and that is we shall continue to abuse our position and f--- up the mainstream. God bless you.” He makes good on his promise nine years later when he drops the f-bomb again while accepting a Golden Globe for “The Hands That Built America.”
Mourner’s Song (1993)
Eric Clapton wins six Grammys, ending with record of the year for “Tears in Heaven,” written after the death of his 4-year-old son Conor. His acceptance speech is one of the most moving in Grammy history: “The one person I want to thank is my son for the love he gave me and the song he gave me.”
Rhymes With Great (1990)
Bonnie Raitt’s first album was released in 1971; 19 years later, she wins her first Grammy -- and three more. Album of the year Nick of Time promptly jumps to the top of the Billboard 200 on the chart dated April 7, 1990.
New York, New York (1988)
The 30th annual awards are held at Radio City Music Hall, prompting a medley of Big Apple performers in which Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” leads into Run-D.M.C.’s “Tougher Than Leather.”
License To Ill (1987)
It’s as if the MTV Video Music Awards have crashed the Grammys: The Beastie Boys -- accompanied by DJ Hurricane -- strut onstage in lockstep, goof their way through announcing the rock category winners and then bestow the best rock vocal performance Grammy on Robert Palmer. A bewildered Palmer takes the stage while Adam “MCA” Yauch attempts a handstand or breakdance headspin -- either way, it doesn’t work.
Whitney Ascendant, Tina Triumphant (1985)
“It was truly ‘A Star Is Born’ time,” producer Ken Ehrlich says of Whitney Houston’s performance of “Saving All My Love for You” (which itself goes on to win her an Emmy in 1986). Tina Turner wins three awards, including record of the year for “What’s Love Got to Do With It.”
Everybody Is A Star (1985)
After winning two Grammys for the Purple Rain soundtrack and another for Chaka Kahn’s cover of his “I Feel for You,” Prince closes the show with “Baby I’m a Star.” “Do you want some more?” he calls out, before executing a spin and seven perfect splits. The performance climaxes with audience members (including Boy George) dancing onstage while Prince exits up the aisle.
Michael’s House (1984)
When Michael Jackson wins his seventh Grammy of the night for Thriller, two things happen: He sets a new record for most wins at one ceremony, and he takes his sunglasses off for the first time that night, apparently at the request of his friend Katharine Hepburn. He then promptly breaks his own record with an eighth win, as “Beat It” takes record of the year.
Piano Summit (1983)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Grammys, Ray Charles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Count Basie take center stage at four grand pianos and trade verses of Charles’ “What I’d Say.” “Don’t sing rock’n’roll no more,” implores Richard. “Find Jesus like I did.” But rock’n’roll wins out when Lewis answers this call with a roaring “Whole Lotta Shaking Going On.”
Lennon Remembered (1982)
John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy wins album of the year, and Ono walks to the podium with 6-year-old son Sean and producer Jack Douglas. The audience erupts into sustained applause, which gives the overwhelmed Ono time to compose herself. Finally, she speaks: “I really don’t know what to say. I think John is here with us today. Both John and I were always really proud and happy that we were part of the human race. He made good music for the earth and for the universe.”
No Pants Dance (1979)
Wearing a tux jacket and no pants, Steve Martin begins to present the best pop vocal award. His pants are then handed to him onstage in a dry cleaning bag. Martin also receives a Grammy of his own (his second), for best comedy recording for A Wild and Crazy Guy.
Accepting his album of the year award for Still Crazy After All These Years, Paul Simon says, “Most of all, I’d like to thank Stevie Wonder, who didn’t make an album this year.”
Simon vs. Garfunkel (1975)
Paul Simon is one of the presenters for record of the year. When Olivia Newton-John’s “I Honestly Love You” wins, Art Garfunkel accepts on her behalf. “I thought I told you to wait in the car,” Simon jokes when he comes to the podium. Not to be outdone, Garfunkel deadpans, “Still writing, Paul?” Stevie Wonder wins back-to-back album of the year awards, following his Innervisions trophy with one for Fulfillingness’ First Finale.
Back-To-Back Flack (1974)
Roberta Flack becomes the first artist to win back-to-back record of the year awards, following her Grammy for “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” with one for “Killing Me Softly.” Only U2 has repeated the feat, winning with “Beautiful Day” in 2001 and “Walk On” in 2002.
She Watches Over Us (1973)
A single word makes for one of the most memorable acceptance speeches in Grammy history when Helen Reddy acknowledges her win for best pop performance female for “I Am Woman” by saying, “And I would like to thank God, because she makes everything possible.”
King Is Queen (1972)
Carole King wins four Grammys, including album of the year for Tapestry, and becomes the first woman to win song of the year for “You’ve Got a Friend.”
Live From L.A. (1971)
After years of taped post-Grammy telecasts titled The Best on Record, the Grammys air live on TV for the first time -- and the awards dinners in multiple cities come to an end. Andy Williams hosts for the first of seven times, and Simon & Garfunkel win five awards (although they don’t appear to be speaking to each other) with Bridge Over Troubled Water taking album of the year and the title track winning song and record of the year. Aretha Franklin performs “Bridge Over Troubled Water” during the broadcast and, a year later, wins best female R&B vocal performance for her own recording of the song.
Holy Elvis (1968)
The Grammys had not yet been invented when Elvis Presley was helping invent rock’n’roll in 1954, so it isn’t until 1968 that Presley wins his first award (of three) for best sacred performance for How Great Thou Art.
Meet The Beatles (1965)
The Beatles win the first two of their nine awards: best new artist and best performance by a vocal group (for “A Hard Day’s Night”). They also are nominated in two other categories, losing out to songs that go on to be classics: Record of the year goes to Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz’s “Girl From Ipanema” (not “I Want to Hold Your Hand”) and best contemporary song goes to Petula Clark’s “Downtown” (not “A Hard Day’s Night”).
Rock Arrives (1962)
A new category is added: best rock’n’roll recording. The winner: “Let’s Twist Again” by Chubby Checker. Mancini is the first artist to run up a big Grammy total in one night, when “Moon River” helps him take home five awards.
Genius Recognized (1961)
Ray Charles is the night’s big winner, nabbing his first four golden gramophones for The Genius of Ray Charles. The arranger on that album? Quincy Jones, who’ll go on to become the second-most decorated man in Grammy history, with 27 wins.
TV Debut (1959)
The second awards are given out six months after the first, on Nov. 29, and the TV audience gets its first taste of the Grammys when taped portions air on NBC Sunday Showcase, hosted by Meredith Wilson (author of the book and music for The Music Man). Performers run the gamut from jazz to folk to sacred music: Nat “King” Cole, Bobby Darin, Ella Fitzgerald, The Kingston Trio and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Darin takes home best new artist and record of the year for “Mack the Knife.”
The First Grammys (1959)
The inaugural Grammy Awards are not televised. Trophies are handed out at dinners in New York and Los Angeles on May 4. The very first song of the year and record of the year awards go to Domenico Modugno’s “Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare).” Henry Mancini wins the first of his 20 Grammys when The Music From Peter Gunn is named album of the year. Frank Sinatra loses out to “Volare” and Mancini, but still wins the first of his 11 awards when Only the Lonely takes home best recording package.