With all apologies to all the lip-syncing, highly choreographed pop stars out there, it's pretty clear that it's actually classic rockers who have been responsible for some of the best televised Grammy performances of all time. We combed YouTube and the the last few decades of Grammy history to find the 10 best musical appearances from the music industry's big night.

  • 1984

    Chuck Berry

    With Stevie Ray Vaughan and George Thorogood

    Talk about star power! This 1984 Grammy performance finds the bluesy duo of Stevie Ray Vaughan and George Thorogood joining forces with one of the most important pioneers in rock history for a raucous take on "Roll Over Beethoven."

  • 1987

    Paul Simon

    With a big vocal assist from South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Paul Simon kicked off the 29th annual Grammy Awards in very impressive style with a performance of "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" from his genre-busting 1986 smash Graceland.

  • 1989


    Perhaps as revenge for being passed over for the first-very Best Hard Rock / Heavy Metal Grammy the year before, Metallica leaned extra hard into their reading of the war horror story "One" the following year. No doubt all the gunfire, fireworks and excessive distortion made this terrifying tale of a soldier rendered limbless by a land mine even less palatable for the rich folks up front.

  • 1989

    Guns N' Roses

    A few years before their history-making (and trouble-making) co-headlining tour, Metallica and Guns N' Roses both played the same 1989 Grammys. But rather than trying to fight fire with fire, Axl Rose and company showed their superior range by performing the tender acoustic ballad "Patience."

  • 1993

    Eric Clapton

    Two years after the tragic death of his four-year-old son Conor, Eric Clapton's performance of "Tears in Heaven," a tender tribute to the boy, was the centerpiece of the 35th annual Grammy Awards.

  • 1998

    Bob Dylan

    This is the famous "Soy Bomb" incident, where performance artist Michael Portnoy -- unknowingly hired as a backup dancer -- ripped off his shirt and danced like he was having a seizure during Bob Dylan's performance of "Love Sick." The shame of it is that the song, from the fantastic 1997 album Time Out of Mind, was worthy of the spotlight in its own right, and this stunt took the focus away from one of Dylan's strongest (and most clearly sung) televised performances in quite some time.

  • 2002

    Billy Joel

    With Tony Bennett

    With the country still reeling from the 9/11 attacks five months earlier, the 44th annual Grammy Awards took on an understandably somber tone. Big Apple-area born stars Billy Joel and Tony Bennett joined forces for a jazzy take on Joel's love letter to their wounded hometown.

  • 2003

    Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Etc.

    The high-powered team of Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello and Dave Grohl paid tribute to recently deceased Clash star Joe Strummer with a crackling version of the group's 1979 world-gone-wrong anthem "London Calling."


  • 2007

    The Police

    "Ladies and gentlemen, we are the Police and we're back!" That's the completely pretense-free announcement Sting used to kick off both the 49th annual Grammy Awards and the group's highly profitable 16-month-long reunion tour. If they had any concern as to how they'd be welcomed back, the crowd reaction to the group's performance of "Roxanne" must have set them at ease pretty quickly.

  • 2009

    Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

    Former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant, together with his 'Raising Sand' partner Alison Krauss, completely dominated the 2009 Grammy Awards. They won awards in all five categories in which they were nominated, and raised the roof with this performance of "Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)."

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