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2016 Grammys: What to Watch and Who to Root For

Theo Wargo / Kevin Winter / Carlos Mueller, Getty Images
Theo Wargo / Kevin Winter / Carlos Mueller, Getty Images

On Feb. 15, the 58th Annual Grammy Awards will take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. To get ready for what is billed as “Music’s Biggest Night,” we’ve gone through the nominees to bring you our Guide to the 2016 Grammys.

As with last year, classic rockers were shut out of the major categories: Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. And even for the rock-specific awards, where artists of a certain vintage could usually gain a nomination, the powers-that-be decided to look toward younger artists, with only the relatively veteran Foo Fighters getting a nod for Best Rock Performance. Still, we found plenty of great music to enjoy this year.

But looking through the list of Grammy nominees, we also found classic rockers in a couple of odd places. Paul McCartney picked up a couple of nominations for “All Day,” his collaboration with Kanye WestKeith Urban‘s shout-out to John Mellencamp, “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16,” is up for Best Country Solo Performance; and Don Henley received a Best American Roots Song nomination for “The Cost of Loving.”

The categories devoted to reissues caught our eye, too, with Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones acknowledged. Dylan’s Frank Sinatra-inspired collection, Shadows in the Night, also was recognized for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, and James Taylor‘s Before This World was honored with two nominations.

Below are the live performances that we’ll definitely be tuning in for as well as a list of some of the classic rock-related awards categories. We put the nominated classic rockers in bold text.

David Bowie Tribute



Lady Gaga will pay tribute to David Bowie, who died on Jan. 10. Nile Rodgers, the producer of Bowie’s Let’s Dance album, has signed on to be the musical director.

“We had already booked Lady Gaga on this year’s show, but when David passed — almost in a single moment — we knew we had to change direction,” Grammys executive producer Ken Ehrlich said. “We immediately spoke and agreed that she should be the one to honor David. She’s perfect for it. So I reached out to Nile and, before long, we were on our way to creating what we believe will not only make a great Grammy moment, but one befitting of David.”

Jo Hale / Larry Busacca, Getty Images
Jo Hale / Larry Busacca, Getty Images

Lemmy Tribute



Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, who passed away on Dec. 28, will also be remembered at the Grammys. The Hollywood Vampires, the band Alice Cooper assembled that includes Joe Perry and Johnny Depp, will be on hand to pay tribute to Lemmy.

Grant Lamos IV / Ian Gavan, Getty Images
Grant Lamos IV / Ian Gavan, Getty Images

Glenn Frey Tribute



Jackson Browne and surviving members of the Eagles will offer a musical tribute to Glenn Frey, who died on Jan. 18. Browne will be joined by co-founding Eagles Don Henley and Bernie Leadon, as well as fellow band members Timothy B. Schmit and Joe Walsh. The tribute will include a performance of “Take It Easy,” an early Browne/Frey co-write that gave the Eagles their first hit single in 1972.

Frazer Harrison / Rick Diamond, Getty Images
Frazer Harrison / Rick Diamond, Getty Images

58th Annual Grammy Award Nominees



Tony Bennett & Bill Charlap, The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern
Bob Dylan, Shadows in the Night
Josh Groban, Stages
Seth MacFarlane, No One Ever Tells You
Barry Manilow (& Various Artists), My Dream Duets

Kelly Clarkson, Piece by Piece
Florence + the Machine, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Mark Ronson, Uptown Special
Taylor Swift, 1989
James Taylor, Before This World

Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
Florence + the Machine, “What Kind of Man”
Foo Fighters, “Something From Nothing”
Elle King, “Ex’s & Oh’s”
Wolf Alice, “Moaning Lisa Smile”

J. Cole, “Apparently”
Drake, “Back to Back”
Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Nicki Minaj Featuring Drake & Lil Wayne, “Truffle Butter”
Kanye West featuring Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom & Paul McCartney, “All Day”

Kanye West featuring Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom & Paul McCartney, “All Day”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Drake, “Energy”
Common & John Legend, “Glory”
Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”

Cam, “Burning House”
Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”
Carrie Underwood, “Little Toy Guns”
Keith Urban,John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16″
Lee Ann Womack, “Chances Are”

The Mavericks, “All Night Long”
Don Henley, “The Cost of Loving”
Punch Brothers, “Julep”
Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, “The Traveling Kind”
Jason Isbell, “24 Frames”

Patti Smith, Blood on Snow
Dick Cavett, Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, And Assorted Hijinks
Jimmy Carter, A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety
Janis Ian & Jean Smart, Patience and Sarah 
Amy Poehler (& Various Artists), Yes Please

Lorraine Feather, “Be My Muse”
Patrick Williams Featuring Patti Austin, “52nd & Broadway”
Catina DeLuna Featuring Otmaro Ruiz, “Garota De Ipanema”
David Bowie, “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)”
Jimmy Greene With Javier Colon, “When I Come Home”

Of Monsters and Men, Beneath the Skin (Deluxe Box Set)
Father John Misty, I Love You, Honeybear (Limited Edition Deluxe Vinyl)
Various Artists, The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records, Volume Two (1928-32)
Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers (Super Deluxe Edition)
Grateful Dead, 30 Trips Around the Sun
The Decemberists, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World (Deluxe Box Set)

Various Artists, Folksongs of Another America: Field Recordings From the Upper Midwest, 1937-1946
Lead Belly, Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection
Joni Mitchell, Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, a Ballet, Waiting to Be Danced
Tennessee Ernie Ford, Portrait of an American Singer
Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra, Songs of the Night: Dance Recordings, 1916-1925

Bob Dylan and the Band, The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11
Erroll Garner, The Complete Concert by the Sea
Various Artists, Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, And Country 1966–1985
Various Artists, Parchman Farm: Photographs and Field Recordings, 1947–1959
Fannie Lou Hamer, Songs My Mother Taught Me

James Taylor, Before This World
Melody Gardot, Currency of Man
The Bird and the Bee, Recreational Love
Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color
Diana Krall, Wallflower

Ingar Heine Bergby & Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Amdahl: Astrognosia & Aesop
Roger Waters, Amused to Death
Oyvind Gimse, Anita Brevik, Nidarosdomens Jentekor & Trondheimsolistene, Magnificat
Paavo Jarvi & Russian National Orchestra, Shostakovich: Symphony No. 7
Tove Ramlo-Ystad & Cantus, Spes

James Brown, Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown (Mick Jagger co-producer)
Foo Fighters, Sonic Highways
Nina Simone, What Happened, Miss Simone?
Roger Waters, The Wall
Amy Winehouse, Amy

David Bowie Singles, Ranked Worst to Best


Next: 10 Times the Grammy Got It Wrong

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