Guest Column: The Night I Almost Killed Ken Ehrlich

Annie Lennox on the backstage Grammy shock brought the producer to his knees

Eurythmics almost Killed Ken Ehrlich
Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

The work that goes into creating a live televised event on the scale of the Grammys is simply astonishing.

Unless you happen to be a performer or a person who works behind the scenes, you cannot even begin to imagine what it takes to deliver a production of this kind. It’s a massively complex team effort, with each technical contributor being poised to deliver their particular skill set at the highest level. It has to run flawlessly and there’s absolutely no room for error.

In 1984, Eurythmics almost gave poor Ken Ehrlich a massive heart attack when we took to the stage with our band to perform “Sweet Dreams.” (The song had been nominated for an award.) We’d already run through rehearsals several times and now the “real deal” live performance was just minutes away. The only problem was that Ken couldn’t see me.

I was actually standing a few feet away from my mic stand, but to him I was nowhere to be seen and he was starting to panic. “Where’s Annie?!” “Where’s Annie??!!” He was not a happy man. To save him from imminent collapse, I touched him on the shoulder and said, “I’m here Ken!”

He stared blankly at me — mystified. Unbeknownst to him, I had decided to change my gender identity for the performance and present myself as a man. A man with black hair and side burns in a suit and tie.

The dark-haired man said, “It’s Annie!” At which point Ken fell down on his knees right there on the floor … thumping the ground and praising God Almighty for saving the day, (“Holy shit”!) while laughing with almost hysterical tears of relief.

I’d just like to take this opportunity to publicly and personally apologize to him for almost having totally wrecked his day.

P.S.: I can tell you one thing about Ken Ehrlich. He’s a great sport!