Notable Past Grammy Winners

Grammy winners are sometimes notable for their number of wins, their failure to win again or for the sheer fact that they won at all. Even the most unflappable Grammy host has been surprised by who takes home the win.

You Call that Metal?
The Grammy award is a peer-nominated award. Record companies, individual artists and other music industry professionals submit the entries. This explains how occasionally a category winner comes as a surprise to those outside the industry. In 1989, the award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance went to Jethro Tull instead of Metallica.  This caused quite an uproar at the time and is still a point of contention for those who feel the Academy is out of touch.

Controversy was reignited in 2001, when Steely Dan won Best Album of the Year, beating out Eminem, Radiohead and Beck. The Grammys are the only awards that focus on artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence. Chart position and sales don't get counted, so it is possible for an obscure artist to beat out someone who's at the top of the charts.

This explains why the Chicago Symphony Orchestra holds the most Grammys of any musical group. They have more than 60 wins. It also explains why Sir Georg Solti, an orchestral and operatic conductor, has the most wins of any male artist. He has 31 awards, including a Lifetime Achievement award. 

Notable Grammy Facts

  • Quincy Jones has 27 Grammys, putting him in second place for the male artist with the most awards. 
  • Alison Krauss is the biggest female winner, with 26 awards.
  • The biggest winner for a band is U2, with 22 wins.
  • Milli Vanilli lost their 1990 Grammy when the Academy learned they didn't actually perform on their album.
  • Coolio received 1996s Best Solo Rap Performance for "Gangsta's Paradise." Has hasn't received a nomination since.
  • Christopher Cross received the 1981 award for Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Album of the Year and Best Arrangement. He has had no nominations or awards since then.
  • In 1998, Paula Cole was nominated for Best New Artist, Album of the Year, Best Pop Album, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Producer of the Year. She only won Best New Artist.
  • The soundtrack to the movie O Brother Where Art Thou won Album of the Year in 2007.
  • In 1999, Celine Dion won for "My Heart Will Go On." It was originally released in 1997, but became a hit single in 1998 when it was featured in Titanic.
  • k.d. lang won Best Female Pop performance in 1992 for "Constant Craving." Three years earlier she won Bet Female Country Vocal Performance. 
  • In 2008, Amy Winehouse won five of the six awards. She won Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Record of the Year. She lost the Album of the Year award to Herbie Hancock, who won for "River: The Joni Letters."
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