Sir Elton John has a career and catalog that spans 50 years of music. No one living on planet Earth, or the realms of deep space, can resist the refrains of “Rocket Man.” All the world remembers when a tearful Elton John transformed “Candle in the Wind (Goodbye Norma Jean) into “Goodbye English Rose” to honor his beloved friend, and the “People's Princess,” Diana, in the most personal way possible at her memorial service.

Tuesday night, April 10, was another kind of memorial service for the composer. It was time for Elton John and his stalwart and marvel lyricist, Bernie Taupin, to be treated to their own songs in love and admiration, all from invited performers, as a Grammy Salute.

With no disrespect to talents or any performer’s true respect for the John/Taupin catalog of songs, some among the lineup seem nearly omnipresent at many tributes. Little Big Town, Shawn Mendes, and the incredible power and presence of John Legend, to close a show, seem fixtures on the go-to list for musical honors.

Sandwiched in between the Grammy concert evening’s opening, and memorable closing with Elton John himself backed by his welcomed chorus were three performances worthy of recognition and replay.

Lady Gaga in her glory for Elton

Before Lady Gaga graced her piano bench in gleaming white feathers that, of course, the honoree of the evening would appreciate, there were other heartfelt tributes.

Miley Cyrus had the perfect amount of sass for “The Bitch Is Back,” and Elton John has been a true friend to the singer, showing the world what range she really has. Sam Smith spoke from the heart, relating what it meant as “a male singer-songwriter from England, who is gay” to see Elton John as a role model and mentor. His performance of “Daniel” was as dramatic as the sentiment demanded.

Lady Gaga's presence alone was a reason to celebrate, considering her battle through the effects of fibromyalgia. Her heart was on her adorned sleeves as she spoke of being thrilled “to call myself your family, your friend, your lady,” with a shimmy even as she was seated. She continued “before I loved you and your beautiful family, I loved your songs.” Calling the works “masterpieces,” the songstress rightly stated that they will never fade from musical consciousness.

She quoted “How wonderful life is while you're in the world,” and naturally donned exquisite matching shades before singing “Your Song” with the vibrant, resonant voice that so many fans have not heard live for too long.

The performance brought the entirety of Madison Square Garden and the star-studded crowd to life and to their feet. Elton John, his husband, David Furnish, and Bernie Taupin mouthed their awe and gratitude, and the honoree gave bows and salutes to the singer. It was hard not to think of Lady Gaga lyric from her own song, “I may not be flawless but you know I've got a diamond heart.” That same caring and vulnerability were visible among the friends.

Quieter than Coldplay

Chris Martin is used to filling massive arenas with his frenetic energy, the lights, and spectacle that encompass a Coldplay performance.

His songs convey deep emotion, but the colors and motion, both from the stage and the crowd, can overwhelm casual fans at the moment.

Chris Martin took to the breezy yet bereft ballad, “We All Fall in Love Sometimes,” to its totally pure and reflective roots. Wearing a knit cap and jeans, and never leaving his piano stool throughout the jazzy verses, Martin made every line more pungent with the air and ache of a love gone. The spotlight shone more on the piano than the player, and the audience and the artist of the night echoed approval.

Shooting for a country touch

Elton John couldn't help but notice Miranda Lambert in her short blue dress full of sparkles. Bernie Taupin’s life and character are the source of the Americana heritage that rings through so many of the Elton John songs, such as “Border Song” that was presented in an accompanied reading by “Hamilton” star Christopher Jackson and Valerie Simpson.

Taupin surrendered his British citizenship to become his own version of the American cowboy, and the lyricist is more likely to show up at his daughter's barrel racing events than he is to ever sit at the center of attention at events like this one. Still, Miranda Lambert was bound and determined to do him and Elton John proud.

“My Father’s Gun” goes all the way back to 1970’s “Tumbleweed Connection,” and Miranda Lambert recorded the song for the Nashville edition of the Elton John/Bernie Taupin anthology, “Restoration.” Lambert has taken her share of Grammy and ACM hardware, but it wasn't until she had “been through some things” in her adult years that the song came alive in new ways for the singer. She poured her heart out in this number about loss and preserving family legacy. The performance actually happened on a January night, but her emotion evoked a warm Western sunset.