Music

Stevie Wonder, Annie Lennox & Jon Batiste Honor Late Music Legends at 2024 Grammys

Stevie Wonder, Annie Lennox and Jon Batiste were among those honoring the lives and careers of late music icons during the Grammy Awards on Sunday (Feb. 4) in Los Angeles.

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Wonder honored the late, legendary performer Tony Bennett, who died July 21, 2023, at age 96. Wonder performed “The Best Is Yet to Come,” as well as “For Once in My Life,” the latter as a “duet” with Bennett, with footage of the late artist performing on a big screen. Bennett recorded “For Once in My Life” in 1967, with Wonder’s version of the song releasing in 1968.

Wonder celebrated Bennett’s “love for art, his love for peace, his love for unity, his love for civil rights.” He added, “Tony, I’m going to miss you forever.”

Lennox teamed with duo Wendy & Lisa to fete the late Sinead O’Connor with a rendition of her hit “Nothing Compares 2 You.” Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman were part of Prince’s band The Revolution (the late Prince wrote “Nothing Compares 2 U”). Lennox ended her performance by calling for a ceasefire and asking for world peace, another nod to O’Connor’s own activism. The Irish singer-songwriter died on July 26, 2023, at age 56.

As each musician performed, the names and photos of numerous artists, songwriters, performers and music executives who passed away in the past year scrolled across screens, as the Grammys honored Jimmy Buffett, Chita Rivera, Burt Bacharach, songwriter Cynthia Weil, rapper Magoo, as well as executives including country music radio executive Charlie Monk, A&M Records co-founder Jerry Moss, Sire Records’ Seymour Stein and more.

Lenny Kravitz appeared to honor Clarence Avant, known as “The Godfather of Black Music,” who died in August 2023 at age 92. Avant played key roles in labels including Venture Records and Sussex Records, and managed artists including Little Willie John and Jimmy Smith. Kravitz called Avant “a trusted mentor and believer in the likes of Quincy Jones and Bill Withers, just to name a few.”

The In Memoriam section continued as Batiste joined with Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Ann Nesby and Cory Henry for a soulful, uplifting performance that included “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Lean on Me” and “Optimistic,” featuring soul-searing vocals from Nesby. Later in the evening, Fantasia Barrino and Oprah Winfrey feted late entertainer Tina Turner.

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