Home Music Music Lists

The Best Moments From 40 Years of American Music Awards

Guns N’ Roses’ profane acceptance speech, Justin and Britney’s matching outfits and more

dick clark american music awards

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

Dick Clark created the American Music Awards in 1973 as a populist response to the Grammys. While other awards are decided by an organization of music industry employees, the AMAs were designed to reflect the preferences of the music-buying public.

M. Caulfield/WireImage

2003

Eminem was the big winner with four awards, but didn't make it to the show — 8 Mile co-star Mekhi Phifer accepted for him, swearing Em was on his cellphone.

Frank Micelotta/Getty

2004

Anna Nicole Smith was not in top form for her AMAs appearance, slurring her words and becoming the subject of several jokes during the show.

Lester Cohen/WireImage (Jermaine), Kevin Mazur/AMA2009/WireImage (Janet)

2009

Janet Jackson opened the show with a medley, and later paid tribute to her late brother Michael by joining in a dance number and performing their duet, "Scream."

Show Comments