Two Turntables and a Keytar: The Night Herbie Hancock Rocked the Grammys

The androids turn out to be breakdancers.

That’s the spoiler recap of Herbie Hancock’s performance at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards, in 1984. He was there to play his crossover hit “Rockit,” an early hip-hop touchstone, ubiquitous in the clubs and on the street. (It won for Best R&B; Instrumental that year.) What nobody could have foreseen was that his performance would be a Grammy Moment, to use the Recording Academy parlance, of rare cultural impact — one of the most stealthily influential in the history of the awards.

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