The 57th Annual Grammy Awards, honoring excellence in the music industry, will be held Sunday February 8, 2015 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Grammys were originally called the Gramophone Awards which explains the gilded statues presented to the winners. According to legend, music executives created the Grammys in reaction to the rising popularity of rock ‘n’ roll; by awarding only ‘quality’ music they hoped to control the public’s taste. It obviously didn’t work.
While the first Grammy ceremony had only 28 categories, this year there will be 83 of them. Luckily most of the awards will be handed out before the live broadcast; otherwise it would last even longer than 3 hours.
At the first award ceremony in 1959, Henry Mancini won Album Of The Year for The Music From Peter Gunn. You may not be old enough to remember the television series named Peter Gunn, but you will likely recognize its music: listen. I’m less confident you’ll recognize the Record of The Year; that was Volare by Domenico Modugno.
The Grammys provide a simple way to search the thousands of awards over the last 57 years. After a little analysis and some additional research, I discovered some interesting factoids:
- Stevie Wonder has been awarded 28 Grammys; the most by a solo artist. He also has a Lifetime Achievement award. U2 has been honored with 22 Grammy awards; the most by any band.
- Kanye West has won 21 Grammys, more than The Beatles, Barbra Streisand and James Taylor combined.
- Christopher Cross is the only artist to have won the so-called “Big Four” in one year (Record/ Album/Song of the Year, and Best New Artist).
- Elmo the Muppet has won three Grammys, including one for 1998’s Elmopalooza.
- At 14 years old, LeAnn Rimes was the youngest person to win a Grammy. At 94, George Burns was the oldest.
- In 1990, Sinead O’Connor won for Best Alternative Album but she refused her award in protest against the “extreme commercialism of the Grammys”.
- In 1989, Milli Vanilli won for Best New Artist but were stripped of their Grammy when it was discovered that they were not the lead vocals on the record.
- The longest title for a winning song is ‘The Wizard Turns On…The Giant Silver Flashlight And Puts On His Werewolf Moccasins” by The Flaming Lips.
And probably the most bizarre occurrence at the Grammys happened in 1998 during Bob Dylan’s live performance when a man danced on stage with the words “Soy Bomb” painted on his bare chest. After being removed by security, he explained: “Soy represents dense nutritional life. Bomb is, obviously, an explosive destructive force. So, soy bomb is what I think art should be: dense, transformational, explosive life.”
I wonder if anything that weird will happen this year. Watch #GRAMMYS