View Full Version : Interesting Grammy Stats

Carol Ann
03-03-2003, 09:15 PM
I'd been thinking about award shows in general and the recent Grammy awards specifically and I had come to the conclusion that I don't believe these award shows really and truly always reflect true talent nor do they award the person most deserving in a lot of cases. With these thoughts in my mind it was with some surprise that I read an article in my Sunday newspaper that talks about the top 10 outrages in Grammy history and not only did I think people here might be interested in what the article had to say but I think it confirms what I'd been thinking. This article is a little long and I apologize in advance but I think you'll find it an interesting read.

"At the first Grammy Awards in 1958 David Seville's goofy The Chipmunk Song won three trophies. It was even nominated for Record of the Year but lost to Domenico Modugeno's Volare. The Chipmunk Song! You know, the cartoon characters with the sped-up harmonizing voices. Elvis Presley didn't receive a single nomination that year, even though the then-firmly established King had three No. 1 songs in the States (including Jailhouse Rock). But The Chipmunk Song cleaned up. Beautiful. If, like most people, you believe that virtually every year the Grammy folks reward the wrong acts, you're absolutely right. Fact is, much of the best pop or rock music recorded since 1958 has been ignored by the Grammys. Few organizations in the history of mankind get it exactly wrong, so severely, in so many ways, year after year. Take a look through the Grammy nominations and winners over the years -- especially the 60's and 70's -- and you won't believe the great work and great artists that annually have been ignored. Staggering stuff. As hard a list as it was to win - now, here are the 10 most outragesous offences in Grammy history:

1. The Beatles spawned a musical and cultural revolution. Yet, the most misused word of our time - "unbelievable" - almost applies to the Grammy transgressions against the Fab Four. The only Beatles song to win a Grammy? Michelle in 1966, as Song of the Year. The only Beatles album to win a Grammy? Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967, for Best Album and Best Contemporary Album. Criminal! The best rock and roll recording of 1964 did not go to the Beatles for A Hard Day's Night, their only nominated song that year. Neither did it go to Roy Orbinson's Oh Pretty Woman or The Righteous Brothers' You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling. The winner? Petula Clark for Downtown. A year later, Yesterday lost to A Taste of Honey by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass for Record of the Year and in 1968 Bobby Russell's Little Green Apples beat Hey Jude for Song of the Year.

2. Led Zeppelin has never won a Grammy of any kind. We're talking about a group that, among other things, sold more records in North America than all but a few acts, redefined hard rock, and wrote the pre-eminent rock anthem - 1971's Stairway to Heaven, yet Zep never so much as had a song or album nominated from 1969-80. It's only group nomination? As Best New Artist in 1969, but that award went to Crosby, Stills & Nash. Five of Zep's eight studio albums were nominated for album-design or cover-art awards but, alas, none won.

3. Queen's 1975 masterpiece Bohemian Rhapsody, wasn't even nominated for either Song of the Year or Record of the Year.

4. The Rolling Stones had fewer Grammy noms in the '60's - with zero - than boxer Muhammad Ali, who was nominated for Best Comedy Performance in '63 for I Am The Greatest. The Stones didn't receive their first Grammy nom until 1978 (Some Girls lost for Best Album). That means about 95% of their best material was ignored: songs such as Satisfaction, Paint It Black, Honky Tonk Women and Brown Sugar . The Stones were given a Lifetime Achievement Award in '86 and since have had the odd makeup nom. They even won a real Grammy for the first time in '94 for Best Rock Album (Voodoo Lounge).

5. Unforgivable: Natalie Cole winning a slew of Grammys in 1991 for her "duet" with her dead father, Nat King Cole - thanks to a shameless bit of computer wizardry and hucksterism. R.E.M.'s Losing My Religion was an unthinkable, if appropriately titled, loser in the record and Song of the Year categories.

6. Four of the classic albums of the decades were nominated in '77 for Best Pop Vocal Group: The Eagles' Hotel California, Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, Steely Dan's Aja and Crosby, Stills and Nash's CSN. Who won? The Bee Gees for How Deep is Your Love. Feel free to retch.

7. The Beach Boys never won a Grammy. Oh, wait a minute, in 2000 they won a Lifetime Achievement Award. Before that, all of Brian Wilson's brillant work -- composition and vocal arrangements, especially -- was snubbed. Pet Sounds, one of the best pop albums ever? Nada. Good Vibrations, one of the best pop songs ever? Nominated but lost in 1966 as Best Rock and Roll Recording to -- hoo, boy -- The New Vaudeville's Winchester Cathedral!

8. Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry are generally regarded as the Fathers of Rock and Roll. But together, they won ZIP Grammys in the late '50's and early '60's. It's only because both arguably were at their best from 1955-57, before Grammys began, that this outrage doesn't rate higher. Berry and Presley have received special make-good Grammys since the early '70's (Lifetime Achievement Awards, Trustee Awards, Hall of Fame songs, yada, yada) But when they were helping to redefine a large chunk of the Western Worlds' culture, they got squat.

9. Neil Young might have a trophy case full of Juno Awards, but he has no Grammys. You don't have to be Canadian to feel that outrage.

10. Starting in the late '80's those who run the Grammys made an effort to acknowledge their egregious errors of the past. Not shockingly, they usually do so at some more worthy act's expense. In 1989 the first year they gave out a Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance award, they snubbed Metallica, AC/DC, Jane's Addiction and Iggy Pop and gave it to -- the long-presumed-disbanded, and even-longer-since-they-mattered to Jethro Tull. Even when armed with good intentions, Grammy voters still come off looking as thick as a brick.

Other notables from the Hall of Shame:
Bob Dylan never won a Grammy in the '60's.
Pink Floyd's landmark LP Dark Side of the Moon was ignored entirely in 1973.
In 1981 Bruce Springsteen (for The River) lost to Rick Springfield (for Jesse's Girl) as Best Male Rock Vocalist.
Boston lost to The Starland Vocal Band as Best New Artist in 1976.
Buddy Holly never earned a Grammy nom yet virtually every '60's pop/rock act idolized his pop-rockabilly sound.
Elton-John was largely ignored in the '70's. His best album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, never got a sniff.
Who Are You, indeed. The Who never won a Grammy. Neither did The Guess Who.
Neither The Doors nor Jimi Hendrix was up for Best New Artist in 1967. The 5th Dimension, Harpers Bizarre, Lana Catrell and Jefferson Airplane all lost to (gulp) Bobbie Gentry.

I could think of a few things to add to this list just based on this year's awards (can anyone say Faith winning was an injustice?). I think the main thing I take away with me from this article which makes me feel better when I think of people who should have won and didn't, is that these awards might be nice lined up on your mantel BUT they really are not a true reflection of a persons talent. Award shows, in my opinion, are nothing more than a popularity contest in a lot of cases and although this article focuses on rock and pop artists I am sure that if we looked back we would see a lot of Country Artists who have either been shunned or have not won when they should have.

Carol Ann

03-03-2003, 09:35 PM
Wow, Zepellin never won a Grammy!?!?! That's not cool, not cool at all.

03-04-2003, 08:44 AM
Those stats are very interesting. I am always surprised at the choices made (and not made) for Grammys. Thanks for the list, Carol.

Cathy Welch
03-04-2003, 03:23 PM
Carol Ann, I see you read The Sunday Sun this weekend. I too read this article with much interest. I would love to see the same sort of listing for the country categories.

I just don't see how they can give Faith a Grammy for country female and then turn around and give Johnny Cash a Grammy for country male. It's like comparing apples and oranges. I have nothing against Johnny Cash, I think he's amazing, but it seems to me that lately the Grammys think he's the only male singing country music these days. And then they have to nerve to believe Faith is singing country music! I just don't get it.

I'm sure there's a number of major boo boos with country Grammy winners in the past as well. Would be interesting to look into.