Commercials for the upcoming American Music Awards feature a very simple tagline: "Your playlist goes live." The broadcast, which turns 40 this year, is better known for the spectacle it offers from more than a dozen performers than the actual trophies it hands out. While the Grammys bring prestige and the MTV Video Music Awards aim for zeitgeist, the AMAs are about showcasing the top of the charts, much like the show's creator, Dick Clark, did on his long-running variety show, "American Bandstand." Clark, who died in April, will be celebrated at Sunday's ceremony, which will also feature performances from Kelly Clarkson, Pink, No Doubt, Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, Christina Aguilera, Usher, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Chris Brown. Here we take a look back at some of the highlights from the past 40 years.
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