Day 193: TBT / Own the Moment – Aretha Franklin (1998)

With this year’s Grammy awards just a few days away, it seemed appropriate to share a vintage Grammy performance for today’s #TBT post. In 1998, Aretha Franklin owned the Grammy stage (and visibly impressed the entire audience, including Faith Hill, Celine Dion, and Vince Gill) with a rousing interpretation of “Nessun Dorma,” from Puccini’s Turandot. What makes the performance even more remarkable is the content in which it happened. In its retrospective look at the greatest Grammy moments of all time, Billboard magazine detailed the backstory:

“An hour into the live telecast, Luciano Pavarotti tells producer Ken Ehrlich over the phone from his hotel room that he is too ill to perform — the first time in Grammy history that an artist cancels an appearance while the show is already on the air. Ehrlich races to Aretha Franklin’s dressing room. The diva is 30 minutes away from singing “Respect” with Dan Aykroyd and John Goodman. She agrees to also perform the aria ‘Nessun Dorma’ (which she had sung three days earlier at a MusiCares fundraiser). Ehrlich would later call the 40th awards show ‘the night Aretha Franklin saved the Grammys.’”

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