*Charlie Wilson, Valerie Simpson and Vernon Reid perform “Dance to the Music” in a tribute to Sly Stone, and Andra Day salutes Nina Simone with a performance of “Mississippi Goddam” as part of PBS’ “GRAMMY Salute to Music Legends 2017,” the second annual all-star concert spotlighting the Academy’s 2017 Special Merit Awards recipients.
Sly Stone and Nina Simone are among this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award honorees, alongside fellow recipients Shirley Caesar, Ahmad Jamal, Charley Pride, Jimmie Rodgers and the Velvet Underground.
The two-hour special, featuring rare performances by honorees and renditions by the artists they’ve inspired, was recorded in July at New York’s Beacon Theatre and will air Friday, October 13 from 9 – 11 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.) David Letterman’s former band director Paul Shaffer serves as musical director.
There is also a special appearance by GRAMMY winner Whoopi Goldberg, who accepts for the late Nina Simone.
Along with never-before-seen video packages celebrating each of the honorees’ contributions to the music industry and our cultural heritage and heartfelt testimonials from the presenters, the event also features performances by Lifetime Achievement Award honorees John Cale and Maureen “Moe” Tucker of the Velvet Underground, Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Shirley Caesar, jazz pianist Stanley Cowell, 12-time GRAMMY winner Kirk Franklin, GRAMMY winner Le’Andria Johnson, past GRAMMY nominee Neal McCoy, six-time GRAMMY winner Randy Newman, past GRAMMY nominee Catherine Russell, Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Charley Pride, past GRAMMY nominee Russell Thompkins Jr. of The Stylistics, five-time GRAMMY winner Dionne Warwick, past GRAMMY nominee Charlie Wilson, and two-time GRAMMY winner Dwight Yoakam.
In the clips below, Andra Day explains what Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Nina Simone means to her and performs “Mississippi Goddam,” and Charlie Wilson, Valerie Simpson, and Vernon Reid perform “Dance to the Music” to honor Sly Stallone.
Below, the full lineup (the honorees in bold type; performers in parentheses):
“You Make Me Feel Brand New” (Russell Thompkins Jr.)
“Then Came You” (Dionne Warwick)
“Mississippi Goddam” (Andra Day)
The Velvet Underground
“I’m Waiting for The Man”/”Sunday Morning” (John Cale Band with Maureen “Moe” Tucker)
“Hobo Bill’s Last Ride”/”Mule Skinner Blues”/”T for Texas” (Dwight Yoakam)
Ralph S. Peer
“Crazy Blues” (Catherine Russell)
“The Great Pretender” (Russell Thompkins Jr.)
“Georgia on My Mind” (Andra Day)
Medley: “You Name It”/”It’s Alright, It’s OK”/”You’re Next in Line for a Miracle “/”Satan, We’re Going to Tear Your Kingdom Down” (Kirk Franklin with Le’Andria Johnson)
“Caught Up”/”Jesus, I Love Calling Your Name” (Shirley Caesar)
“But Not For Me”/”Ahmad’s Blues”/”Poinciana” (Stanley Cowell)
“A Few Words in Defense of Our Country”/”I Think It’s Going To Rain Today” (Randy Newman)
“Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone” (Neal McCoy)
“Kiss an Angel Good Morning” (Charley Pride)
“I Want to Take You Higher”/”Everybody is a Star”/”Sex Machine”/”Dance to the Music” (Charlie Wilson, Valerie Simpson, Vernon Reid)