Fleetwood Mac was the first band to ever be honored in New York, by MusiCares as the Person of the Year on Friday evening. The traditional event held two days before the Grammy Awards included some big names.
In addition, a variety of performers from Keith Urban, Miley Cyrus, and Lorde to Brandi Carlise, Alison Krause, Imagine Dragons and even Jared Leto performed songs by the iconic band, at the Recording Academy gala.
The band was introduced by former President Bill Clinton, who infamously used the Fleetwood Mac song “Don’t Stop” in his successful 1992 presidential campaign. He made a point to mention that Hillary was in the audience.
When the band came on stage to accept this prestigious award, Stevie Nicks tearfully remembered Tom Petty, and according to E! News, Stevie “revealed” that Tom’s daughter Adria Petty came to New York to be “part of the special event.”
“The loss of Tom Petty has just about broken my heart. He was not only a good man to go down the river with, as Johnny Cash said, but he was a great father, and a great friend. My heart will never get over this.”
Fittingly, according to USA Today, Stevie mentioned that last year, Tom Petty was given the same MusiCares honor and Petty told the “Rhiannon” singer how “important it was to him.”
She went on to use the analogy of “going down the river” as she continued to speak as if Tom was right there before she burst into tears.
“So Tom, I know you’re standing next to me, because you always have been for so many years.”
Recording Academy president Neil Portnow spoke to USA Today explaining that Fleetwood Mac created their own unique sound, and pointed out that “Most greatness in music starts with the songs and as composers, they are brilliant and always have been so their repertoire is second to none.”
Portnow “recruited” Bill Clinton because of the “connection to the charity and the connection to the band,” and said it was “very generous” of him to come out and introduce the band. Clinton handed out a statuette to each of the five members of the band, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham.
Then other musicians performed songs from the band’s long career. Miley Cyrus sang “Landslide,” Lorde, “Silver Springs,” Keith Urban, “Second Hand News,” the Imagine Dragons, “Big Love,” The Zac Brown Band, “Don’t Stop,” Brandi Carlise, “Say You Love Me,” Jared Leto “Never Going Back Again,” Little Big Town, “Dreams,” One Republic, “Everywhere,” HAIM, “Gypsy,” Alison Krause and Jerry Douglas, “Songbird,” Juanes “Hold Me,” and the Lords of Portland performed “I’m So Afraid.”
Fleetwood Mac performed a medley including “The Chain,” where Harry Styles performed backup vocals, “Little Lies,” “Tusk,” Gold Dust Woman,” and “Go Your Own Way.”
According to Reuters, Clinton’s use of “Don’t Stop” as the theme song for his presidential campaign was successful for two reasons, The first, the song helped him create a relatable theme that helped him win the election against President George H.W. Bush and the second, was that the band reunited for his 1993 inaugural ball.
“They let me use it as a theme song and I have been trying to live by it ever since. I owe a great deal to all of them.”
In addition to Tom Petty, previous recipients includes Petty’s former Traveling Wilbury bandmate, Bob Dylan, as well as Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney.
The proceeds from the annual MusiCares gala earned around $7 million dollars, which goes to “members of the music industry in times of financial and musical need.