Grammys weekend kicked off Friday night with MusiCares Person of the Year, the annual ceremony honoring musicians for their achievement in the music industry and dedication to philanthropy. This year’s recipient was Bob Dylan.
The evening featured an all-star tribute concert featuring Beck, Jack White, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Tom Jones, Crosby Stills & Nash, and Alanis Morissette. See a few fan-shot video clips and the full setlist below.
Beck – “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat”
Aaron Neville – “Shooting Star”
Alanis Morissette – “Subterranean Homesick Blues”
Los Lobo – “On A Night Like This”
Willie Nelson – “Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)”
Jackson Browne – “Blind Willie McTell”
John Mellencamp – “Highway 61 Revisited”
Jack White – “One More Cup Of Coffee”
Tom Jones – “What Good Am I?”
Norah Jones – “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight”
Dereck Trucks And Susan Tedeschi – “Million Miles”
John Doe – “Pressing On”
Crosby, Stills & Nash – “Girl From The North County”
Bonnie Raitt – “Standing In The Doorway”
Sheryl Crow – “Boots Of Spanish Leather”
Bruce Springsteen – “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”
Neil Young – “Blowin’ In The Wind”
Dylan didn’t perform, but he did speak during the event. He specifically thanked nine musicians who helped shape him over the years.
1. PETER, PAUL AND MARY
“I didn’t usually think of myself as writing songs for others to sing, but it was starting to happen. And it couldn’t have happened with a better group. They took a song of mine that I’d recorded before that was buried on one of my early records (Blowin’ in the Wind), and they turned it into a hit song. Not the way I would have done it — they straightened it out. But since then hundreds of people have recorded it. I don’t think that would have happened if it wasn’t for them. They definitely started something for me.”
2-4. THE BYRDS, THE TURTLES, SONNY AND CHER
“They made some of my songs top-10 hits. But I wasn’t a pop songwriter. I never even wanted to be that. But it was good that it happened. Their versions of songs were like commercials. I didn’t really mind that. Because 50 years later my songs would be used for commercials. So that was good, too. I was glad it happened.”
5. PERVIS STAPLES AND THE STAPLE SINGERS
“Before they were on Stax, they were on Epic. They were one of my favorite groups of all time. I met them all in ’62 or ’63. They heard my songs live. Pervis wanted to record three or four of them, and he did, with the Staple Singers. They were the type of artists I wanted recording my songs.”
6. NINA SIMONE
“I used to cross paths with her in New York City at the Village Gate nightclub. These were the artists I looked up to. She recorded some of my songs that she learned directly from me. She was an overwhelming artist. Piano player and singer. Very strong woman, very outspoken and dynamite to see perform. That she was recording my songs validated for me everything I was about.”
7. JIMI HENDRIX
“We can’t forget Jimi Hendrix. I actually saw Jimi perform when he was with a band called Jimmy James and the Blue Flames. Something like that. And Jimi didn’t even sing. He was just the guitar player. He took some small songs of mine that nobody paid any attention to and brought them up into the outer limits of the stratosphere. Turned them all into classics. I have to thank Jimi, too. I wish he was here.”
8. JOHNNY CASH
“Johnny Cash recorded some of my songs early on, too. I met him about ’63, when he was all skin and bones. He traveled long, he traveled hard, but he was a hero of mine. I heard many of his songs growing up. I knew them better than I knew my own. Big River, I Walk the Line. ‘How high’s the water, mama?’ I wrote It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) with that song reverberating inside my head. I still ask, ‘How high’s the water, mama?’
“Johnny was an intense character, and he saw that people were putting me down. Playing electric music. And he posted letters to magazines, scolding people, telling them to shut up and let him sing. In Johnny Cash’s world of hardcore Southern drama, that kind of thing didn’t exist. Nobody told anybody what to sing or what not to sing. Critics didn’t do that kind of thing.
“I’ve always got to thank him for doing that. Johnny Cash was a giant of a man. The Man in Black. And I’ll always cherish the friendship we had until the day there is no more days.”
9. JOAN BAEZ
“Oh, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Joan Baez. She was the queen of folk music then and now. She took a liking to my songs and brought me with her to play concerts where she had crowds of thousands of people enthralled with her beauty and voice. People say, ‘What are you doing with that ragtag, scrubby looking waif?’ And she’d tell the audience in no uncertain terms, ‘Now, you’d better be quiet and listen to your songs.’ We even played a few of them together.
“Joan Baez is a tough-minded as they come. … A free, independent spirit. Nobody can tell her what to do if she doesn’t want to do it. I learned a lot of things from her. A woman of devastating honesty. For her kind of love and devotion, I could never repay that back.”
A full video of the concert will likely be released in the future.