What a difference a quarter century makes. Twenty-five years ago, Metallica performed their song "One" at the 31st Grammy Awards, effectively ushering in the first year the Hard Rock/Metal category was introduced at the musical awards show. But when the band lost the Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance trophy to flute-playing Jethro Tull, critics had a field day over the diluted Grammy category, with Tull's record label later taking out a tongue-in-cheek Billboard ad that explained: "The flute is a heavy, metal instrument."
Metallica has gone on to win a whopping nine Grammys since then, but they may have just had their biggest Grammy moment at the 56th Grammy Awards with their collaboration with Chinese pianist Lang Lang for a re-do of their classic song.
So, what happens when classical piano meets iconic metal?
Guitarist Kirk Hammett explained to Rolling Stone, "Lang Lang has interjected himself into the song in a way I don't think anyone else has ever done in the course of our career … He's going to be weaving in and out of my guitar solos, which is amazing for me, because I've never played with another instrument that's been able to do that so effortlessly."
The collaboration didn't disappoint, and the Metallica/Lang Lang debut was one of the most buzzed about performances of the night. You can see it here.
Of course, this isn't the first time the Grammy Awards broadcast has featured unusual collaborations.
In 2001, Eminem teamed up with Elton John for a Grammy duet of the rapper's controversial song, "Stan." Eminem -- who was known to pen a homophobic lyric or two at the time -- told MTV News that he was adamant about performing with the openly gay music legend. And while the performance was certainly memorable (the two hugged and raised their hands in solidarity at the end of the song), Sir Elton is still getting flack for doing it.While pairing up Maroon 5 and Alicia Keys for the 2013 Grammys wasn't totally off the wall, it was odd to not see Keys tickling the ivories. Instead of her usual piano playing, the singer played the drums during part of her song, "Girl on Fire." Who was she trying to be, Sheila E to Adam Levine's Prince?
And talk about a crowded collaboration. In 2005, Bono, Stevie Wonder, Norah Jones, Brian Wilson, Alicia Keys, Alison Krauss, Scott Weiland, Billie Joe Armstrong, Tim McGraw, Steven Tyler and guitar legend Slash joined forces to pay tribute to The Beatles with a performance of "Nothing's Gonna Change My World." With Stevie on harmonica and Steven playing the maracas, it was the ultimate musical mash up.
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- Arts & Entertainment
- Grammy Awards
- Lang Lang
- Jethro Tull