The Grammys have honored some major stars early in their careers — and also some head-scratchers (Fun over Frank Ocean and the Lumineers?)
The Grammys have honored some major stars early in their careers — and also some head-scratchers (Debby Boone over Andy Gibb and Foreigner?)
1960: Bobby Darin • Also nominated: Edd Byrnes; Johnny Restivo; Mark Murphy; Mavis Rivers A smart choice of future Rock and Roll Hall of Famer behind such hits as “Splish Splash” and “Mack the Knife.”
1961: Bob Newhart • Also nominated: Joanie Sommers; Leontyne Price; Miriam Makeba; The Brothers Four The three-time Grammy-winning comedian went on to become a huge TV star.
1962: Peter Nero • Also nominated: Ann-Margret; Dick Gregory; The Lettermen; Timi Yuro The pianist and pops conductor had a long and distinguished career.
1963: Robert Goulet • Also nominated: Allan Sherman; Peter, Paul and Mary; The Four Seasons; The New Christy Minstrels; Vaughn Meader How could Grammy voters pass over Frankie Valli’s The Four Seaons or the folk legends Peter, Paul and Mary?
1964: The Swingle Singers • Also nominated: John Gary; Trini Lopez; The J’s with Jamie; Vikki Carr The classical chorus wins over singer-guitarist Trini Lopez? Um, OK.
1965: The Beatles • Also nominated: The BeatlesAntonio Carlos Jobim; Astrud Gilberto; Morgana King; Petula Clark Yeah, we’ve heard of these guys.
1966: Tom Jones • Also nominated: Glenn Yarbrough; Herman’s Hermits; Horst Jankowski; Marilyn Maye; Sonny & Cher; The Byrds The Welsh singer seemed old-fashioned even at the time — especially compared to the Byrds.
1968: Bobbie Gentry • Also nominated: Harpers Bizarre; Jefferson Airplane; Lana Cantrell; The 5th Dimension (No award given in 1967.) The country star was one of the genre’s first to write her own material.
1969: José Feliciano • Also nominated: Cream; Gary Puckett & The Union Gap; Jeannie C. Riley; O. C. Smith Feliz Navidad!
1970: Crosby, Stills & Nash • Also nominated: Chicago; Led Zeppelin; Oliver; The Neon Philharmonic
1971: The Carpenters • Also nominated: Anne Murray; Elton John; Melba Moore; The Partridge Family Poor Elton. At least the Partridge Family didn’t win.
1972: Carly Simon • Also nominated: Bill Withers; Chase; Emerson, Lake & Palmer; Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds
1973: America • Also nominated: Eagles; Harry Chapin; John Prine; Loggins and Messina The Eagles were robbed!
1974: Bette Midler • Also nominated: Barry White; Eumir Deodato; Marie Osmond; Maureen McGovern Bette over Barry White? Interesting…
1975: Marvin Hamlisch • Also nominated: Bad Company; David Essex; Graham Central Station; Johnny Bristol; Phoebe Snow Another old-fashioned choice.
1976: Natalie Cole • Also nominated: Amazing Rhythm Aces; Brecker Brothers; KC and the Sunshine Band; Morris Albert Unforgettable.
1977: Starland Vocal Band • Also nominated: Boston; Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band; The Brothers Johnson; Wild Cherry Who?
1978: Debby Boone • Also nominated: Andy Gibb; Foreigner; Shaun Cassidy; Stephen BishopAnother boring, safe choice that snubs legends like Gibb and Foreigner. Doesn’t feel like the first time the Grammys have gone the wrong way.
1979: A Taste of Honey • Also nominated: Chris Rea; Elvis Costello; The Cars; Toto Really?! You pass over Elvis Costello and The Cars for the “Boogie Oogie Oogie” duo?
1980: Rickie Lee Jones • Also nominated: Dire Straits; Robin Williams; The Blues Brothers; The Knack
1981: Christopher Cross • Also nominated: Amy Holland; Irene Cara; Robbie Dupree; The Pretenders The “Sailing” guy bests the Pretenders? Take me away.
1982: Sheena Easton • Also nominated: Adam and the Ants; James Ingram; Luther Vandross; The Go-Go’s Love Sheena, but Luther and the G0-Gos made a bigger impact.
1983: Men at Work • Also nominated: Asia; Jennifer Holliday; Stray Cats; The Human League
1984: Culture Club • Also nominated: Big Country; Eurythmics; Men Without Hats; Musical Youth Boy George vs. Annie Lennox.
1985: Cyndi Lauper • Also nominated: Corey Hart; Frankie Goes to Hollywood; Sheila E.; The JuddsThe Grammys got this one right.
1986: Sade • Also nominated: A-ha; Freddie Jackson; Katrina and the Waves; Julian Lennon
1987: Bruce Hornsby and the Range • Also nominated: Glass Tiger; Nu Shooz; Simply Red; Timbuk3
1988: Jody Watley • Also nominated: Breakfast Club; Cutting Crew; Terence Trent D’Arby; Swing Out Sister
1989: Tracy Chapman • Also nominated: Rick Astley; Take 6; Toni Childs; Vanessa L. Williams At least the Grammys didn’t Rick-roll Tracy Chapman.
1990: [Milli Vanilli] • Also nomianted: Indigo Girls; Neneh Cherry; Soul II Soul; Tone LōcGranted, the Grammys rescinded the award after the pop duo Milli Vanilli were exposed as lip-syncers of other vocalists. But the fact that they beat great artists like Indigo Girls and Tone Lōc in the first place is embarrassing.
1991: Mariah Carey • Also nominated: Lisa Stansfield; The Black Crowes; The Kentucky Headhunters; Wilson PhillipsOne year after the Milli Vanilli debacle, Grammy voters got it right.
1992: Marc Cohn • Also nominated: Boyz II Men; C+C Music Factory; Color Me Badd; Seal Another vanilla choice in a year in which Boys II Men and Seal were both contenders.
1993: Arrested Development • Also nominated: Billy Ray Cyrus; Jon Secada; Kris Kross; Sophie B. Hawkins
1994: Toni Braxton • Also nominated: Belly; Blind Melon; Digable Planets; SWV
1995: Sheryl Crow • Also nominated: Ace of Base; Counting Crows; Crash Test Dummies; Green Day Green Day gets no love.
1996: Hootie & the Blowfish • Also nominated: Alanis Morissette; Brandy; Joan Osborne; Shania Twain Guess Darius Rucker’s band name didn’t effectively warn Grammy voters that it would not withstand the test of time.
1997: LeAnn Rimes • Also nominated: Garbage; Jewel; No Doubt; The Tony Rich Project
1998: Paula Cole • Also nominated: Erykah Badu; Fiona Apple; Hanson; Puff Daddy I don’t wanna wait… for my career to be outshone.
1999: Lauryn Hill • Also nominated: Andrea Bocelli; Backstreet Boys; Dixie Chicks; Natalie ImbrugliaWhat a really strong year for new artists.
2000: Christina Aguilera • Also nominated: Britney Spears; Kid Rock; Macy Gray; Susan Tedeschi Xtina beat Britney!?
2001: Shelby Lynne • Also nominated: Brad Paisley; Jill Scott; Papa Roach; Sisqó Lynne wins on her sixth studio album — and beats future country superstar Brad Paisley?
2002: Alicia Keys • Also nominated: David Gray; India.Arie; Linkin Park; Nelly Furtado
2003: Norah Jones • Also nominated: Ashanti; Avril Lavigne; John Mayer; Michelle Branch Whatever happened to Norah Jones?
2004: Evanescence • Also nominated: 50 Cent; Fountains of Wayne; Heather Headley; Sean Paul
2005: Maroon 5 • Also nominated: Gretchen; Wilson; Los Lonely Boys; Joss Stone; Kanye West It’s a wonder Yeezy didn’t storm the stage to demand a recount.
2006: John Legend • Also nominated: Ciara; Fall Out Boy; Keane; Sugarland
2007: Carrie Underwood • Also nominated: Chris Brown; Corinne Bailey Rae; Imogen Heap; James Blunt
2008: Amy Winehouse • Also nominated: Feist; Ledisi; Paramore; Taylor SwiftSorry, TSwift. Hard to argue with this choice of a gone-too-soon legend.
2009: Adele • Also nominated: Duffy, Jonas Brothers, Jazmine Sullivan, Lady Antebellum
2010: Zac Brown Band • Also nominated: Keri Hilson, MGMT, Silversun Pickups, The Ting Tings
2011: Esperanza Spalding • Also nominated: Drake, Florence and the Machine, Justin Bieber, Mumford & Sons Another head-scratcher.
2012: Bon Iver • Also nominated: J. Cole, Nicki Minaj, Skrillex, The Band Perry
2013: Fun • Also nominated: Alabama Shakes, Hunter Hayes, Frank Ocean, The Lumineers Does anyone even remember Fun?
2014: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis • Also nominated: Ed Sheeran, James Blake, Kacey Musgraves, Kendrick Lamar
2015: Sam Smith • Also nominated: Bastille, Brandy Clark, Haim, Iggy Azalea
2016: Meghan Trainor • Also nominated: Courtney Barnett, James Bay, Tori Kelly, Sam Hunt
2017: Chance the Rapper • Also nominated: Kelsea Ballerini, The Chainsmokers, Maren Morris, Anderson Paak
2018: Alessia Cara • Also nominated: Khalid; Lil Uzi Vert; Julia Michaels; SZA
2019: Dua Lipa • Also nominated: Chloe x Halle; Luke Combs; Greta Van Fleet; H.E.R.; Margo Price; Bebe Rexha; Jorja Smith
2020: Billie Eilish • Also nominated: Black Pumas; Lil Nas X; Lizzo; Maggie Rogers; Rosalía; Tank and the Bangas; Yola
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