Monday, February 11, 2013

Elton at The Grammy's

Elton John rehearsed Saturday at Staples Center with Grammy nominees Mumford & Sons, Zac Brown, Ed Sheeran and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes.

John is to pay a special tribute performance to the late musician/ actor Levon Helm at Sunday's Grammy Awards. He has prepared a rendition of the Band's "The Weight" and a duet of Sheeran's single "The A Team."

"The fun of it for me is playing with other people," said John, in a navy Adidas tracksuit with his trademark red shades.

In one of the Grammys' more touching moments on Sunday evening, an all-star crew of musicians – including Elton John, Mumford & Sons, the Alabama Shakes' Brittany Howard, Mavis Staples and producer T Bone Burnett – joined forces to pay tribute to the late Levon Helm and other musicians lost in the past year with a spirited cover of The Band's Music From Big Pink classic "The Weight."

"As we commemorate the passing of these great men and women, we remember the teachers and students of Sandy Hook whose songs unfortunately ended too soon," John remarked before cranking out the opening piano notes of the performance.

In the last years of his life, Helm – who died from cancer in April at age 71 – would hold "midnight rambles" in his barn in Woodstock, New York, drawing in musicians from My Morning Jacket to Lucinda Williams to join him for multi-hour, freewheeling jam sessions. Sunday's tribute to the Band drummer and vocalist felt much like another ramble, although one without its principal mastermind behind the kit.

The Grammys cover of "The Weight" was a gigantic group-hug: John played piano while the other featured performers traded off on vocal duties. Brown, John and Marcus Mumford each chipped in with one verse apiece, but it was the two female performers who stole the spotlight: Howard spiced up her verse with grizzly, rough-and-tumble charm and Staples, acting far younger than her 73 years, remained howling into the mike long after the song's final note rang out.

Ed Sheeran may have just gone from the A-team to A-list. The Grammys newbie took the stage Sunday (February 10) to perform his hit song "The A Team" with awards-show veteran Elton John.

While some may have expected the two to break out into one of John's classic tracks, they stuck to "The A Team," a dark ballad that describes a woman's battle with addiction. Sheeran kicked it off on guitar and was joined by John behind the piano, wearing a black jacket and bright blue shirt with matching blue tinted glasses. Though it ultimately lost to "We Are Young," Sheerean's track was nominated for Song of the Year.

This is hardly the first time that John has dueted on the Grammys stage: He also teamed up with Eminem in 2001 and Lady Gaga in 2010. However, when it came to performing with Sheeran, it was entirely the Rocket Man's idea.

"He put it together," Sheeran recently told MTV News. "He rung me up one day and said, 'How would you feel about performing with me at the Grammys?' I was like, 'I'll check my schedule.' " Even though the two only rehearsed once, Sheeran knew that this Grammys performance was key for his career.

"The thing is, when I've done it in England, they are my peers, I know them ... but I'm performing in front of people that have never even heard of me," Sheeran said, "So I've got to really make an impression. It's gonna be fun."

- Rolling Stone/ KPopStarz/ MTV

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