Celebrities Who Got Snubbed From The Grammys 2024 In Memoriam Tribute

The Grammy Awards is, as broadcaster CBS and the organizers at the Recording Academy like to call it, "music's biggest night." Luminaries from every branch of the American music industry gather annually in Los Angeles to celebrate themselves and each other, bestowing little trophies on the creators of the previous year's most crucial songs, records, albums, and musical achievements.

Throughout the entire show, the one thing viewers can count on is star-studded spectacle. The most famous and popular musicians in the world show up to perform, present awards, receive awards, or hang out in the audience. Those that can't be there due to the most extenuating circumstance of all — death — get their recognition, too. The Grammy Awards, like most other major awards shows, features a sweet and somber "in memoriam," a musically-accompanied montage noting the important music people who died between the last ceremony and that one. But due to time constraints, human error, or producers' discretion, not every single person who perishes makes it into the montage. Here are the notably not-so-dearly-departed, it would seem, who didn't appear in the 2024 Grammys memorial package.

The 2024 Grammys In Memoriam was very inclusive

Eschewing a somber tone and downplaying the sadness of the task at hand, the 2024 Grammy Awards "In Memoriam" segment consisted of a 20-minute, multi-artist tribute performance. Stevie Wonder played "For Once in My Life" with footage of the deceased Tony Bennett, then "The Best is Yet to Come," then ceded the stage to Annie Lennox accompanied by Wendy and Lisa on "Nothing Compares 2 U," in honor of Sinead O'Connor. Before Fantasia brought down the room with a take on "Proud Mary" in the style of Tina Turner, Jon Batiste led a choir in "Lean On Me," pausing to comment that the idea here was "a celebration of life."

As each musical combo played, images and names filled large screens on the stage, listing the musical figures who died since February 2023. All the big names got a moment, including Jimmy Buffett, Melanie, Robbie Robertson, Harry Belafonte, Randy Meisner of the Eagles, Burt Bacharach, Shane MacGowan, Wayne Kramer, and Gordon Lightfoot. A few dozen individuals were honored, but the Grammys forgot several important people.

The Grammy Awards snubbed Smash Mouth singer Steve Harwell

The most notable exclusion from the In Memoriam is likely that of Steve Harwell. On September 3, 2023, the former frontman of Smash Mouth died at age 56. His pop-rock band was phenomenally successful, registering huge late '90s hits like "Walkin' on the Sun," "All Star," and "Then the Morning Comes." By another metric, such as history with the Grammy Awards, Smash Mouth was legitimate, with Harwell directing the band into a nomination in 1999, for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "All Star."

Fans on social media noted their disappointment. "You forgot to include Steve Harwell from Smash Mouth during the In Memoriam segment? He was a Grammy-nominee!" wrote Rick Duran (@rduran). "The Grammys will include an engineer that plugged in a microphone in 1967 for their 'In Memoriam,' but not a true musical talent like Steve Harwell from Smash Mouth?!" added Tony Mazur (@tonymazur).

Numerous band members didn't make it into the Grammys' tribute

Grammy-watching users of X, formerly known as Twitter, barely even noticed that the Grammys neglected to include many of the musicians who died in 2023, including guitarist Wayne Swinney of the popular 2000s hard rock band Saliva, Tom Petty sideman Tom Leadon, '90s gangsta rapper C-Knight, drummer Gary Young of indie rock legends Pavement, frequently sampled drummer George Brown, and Kurt Vile collaborator Rob Laakso.

Another significant omission: Buck Trent, a Country Music Association Instrumentalist of the Year and sideman to country icon Roy Clark on stage and on the long-running variety TV series "Hee-Haw," received a nomination for Best Country Instrumental Performance in 1979. He died in October 2023, but he didn't merit a slot in the "In the Memoriam."

Bands that found popularity in their native U.K. in the 1980s but not the U.S. were left underrepresented in the 2024 Grammys' memorial tribute. The death of the guitarist of Killing Joke went unmentioned, but the demise of the Smiths' bassist was acknowledged. "No Geordie Walker in the in memoriam," observed The Puck Hag (@ThePuckHag), "but at least Andy Rourke got a moment." Mars Williams played saxophone for the Psychedelic Furs for years and supported the Killers and Billy Idol, but none of that could warrant an appearance. "Mars Williams should've been included in the tribute," user Costello (@qayruaza) said.