Grammy Awards

27 Great Facts About the Grammys

Every year, many of us music fans are completely invested in the Grammys. These prestigious awards celebrate the music that moves us and the artists that make it. So, it’s only natural that they mean so much to us, even if we don’t get to be there in person with our favorite music stars!

But there’s far more to these awards than just the glitz and glam that we’ve all come to expect! Here are some of the most interesting facts about the Grammys.

1. The Grammys have been around for decades.

The Grammy Awards were first held in 1959! The first-ever ceremony recognized achievements in the music industry for the year 1958, and Henry Mancini took home the first Album of the Year award for “Music From Peter Gunn.”

Ever since then, the Grammy Awards have only grown in popularity and prestige. Today, they are recognized as the world’s most important music award ceremony.

2. They are named after gramophones.

As you might have guessed, the term “Grammy” comes from the word “gramophone. The awards were named after the early record player that was used to play vinyl records.

To this day, the awards are still shaped like small gramophones, having originally been designed by John Billings and his team at Billings Artworks.

3. There used to be 28 categories at the Grammys.

Originally, the Grammys had 28 award categories. Over the years, this number has expanded significantly to include various genres and subgenres of music.

Today, there are more than 90 Grammy categories honoring all kinds of musical genres, artists from around the world, producers, engineers, and more!

For example, some of the latest categories announced for the 2024 Grammys included Best Pop Dance Recording, Best African Music Performance, and Best Alternative Jazz Album.

4. Beyoncé is still the Queen at the Grammys.

As of the time of writing, Beyoncé remains the female artist to hold the most Grammy nominations and wins. She has had a total of 88 Grammy nominations throughout her career and has won an incredible 32 Grammys in total!

However, many believe she has also been snubbed a few times, notably as her visual album “Lemonade” did not win Album of the Year. Instead, that honor went to Adele. However, the latter famously noted that she believed Beyoncé should have won the award during her acceptance speech.

5. The youngest-ever winner was still in elementary school.

The youngest Grammy winner in history is Leah Peasall. This talented young woman won Album of the Year at the age of just eight years old!

She won for her part of The Peasall Sisters and their work on the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack. However, this is a record that could still be beaten – who’s to say how many prodigies are out there waiting for their first Grammys?

6. Even Presidents have been nominated.

Believe it or not, even Presidents can be nominated for Grammys! For example, former US President Jimmy Carter was nominated for and won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album in 2007!

He won the Grammy for his audiobook “Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis.”

However, he’s not the only ex-President to have won at the ceremony. Barack Obama won two Grammys over the years for Best Spoken Word Album for “Dreams from My Father” and “The Audacity of Hope.” Michelle Obama, former first lady of the US, has also won two Grammys!

 

Beyonce

7. The Grammys have been brought to us live since the 70s.

The Grammy Awards were first broadcast live on television in 1971. Broadcasting the show live helped to expand its audience reach significantly.

Before then, in 1963, highlights of the evening were shown on a TV special known as “The Best On Record.” Nowadays, of course, you can keep track of the latest buzz and surprises through social media and streaming.

8. It’s possible for people to share Grammys if decisions are close.

Surprisingly, there can be ties at the Grammys! For example, in 1992, Patti LaBelle and Lisa Fischer shared the Best Female R&B Vocal Performance award for their respective works on “Burnin’” and “How Can I Ease the Pain?”

Even more bizarrely, there has been a total of 33 ties at the Grammys since its inauguration – meaning judges really do take care to decide who’s most worthy of the plaudits. It’s rare, but it happens!

9. Michael Jackson still holds a Grammys record.

In 1984, Michael Jackson became the person to win the most Grammy Awards in one night. He won eight awards that night for his work on the album “Thriller,” which is also one of the biggest-selling albums worldwide.

To this day, that record has not been broken – could there be an upset on the horizon? I wouldn’t want to be the one that takes away that record!

Thriller Album Cover by Michael Jackson

10. The Grammys aren’t all about music.

Although we mostly consider the Grammys to be about music, that is not all that they honor. They also celebrate achievements in non-music categories such as spoken word recordings, comedy albums, and music videos.

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and Jimmy Carter’s Grammy Awards are the perfect examples of that!

11. Recordings need to be released at a specific time for Grammys consideration.

For any recording to be considered eligible for a Grammy Award, it needs to be released within a very specific timeframe. The time frame usually takes place over a year.

For example, for the 66th Grammy Awards, the Product Eligibility Period For Entries was from October 1st, 2022, to September 15th, 2023. Therefore, if you’re a musician or writer and want a shot at the big awards, start releasing around early fall!

12. The Latin Grammys are just as popular.

The Latin Grammy Awards were established in 2000 to recognize excellence, naturally, in Latin music. They usually take place in Las Vegas, which has been the case since 2009.

However, 2023’s ceremony broke from this relatively new tradition, with the awards given out in Seville, Spain.

These Grammys have 56 categories of their own – breaking down subgenres and specific performances relevant to Latin music.

interesting facts about Barack Obama

13. The Grammys have changed with the times.

With the ongoing evolution of technology, so too have the Grammys had to develop! For example, most recently, the Grammy Awards have had to adapt to changes in music consumption habits by including streaming-only releases in their eligibility criteria.

The first streaming-only winner of a Grammy was Chance The Rapper, who was also the first ever solo male rapper to win the Best New Artist Grammy.

14. There is a Grammy Hall of Fame.

You may have heard of the Grammy Hall of Fame performances, but do you know what the Grammy Hall of Fame is? It honors recordings of iconic musical achievements.

Those who have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame can only be brought in by a member committee of professionals from various recording areas.

Recordings by Lauryn Hill, Guns N’ Roses, the Doobie Brothers, Donna Summer, and De La Soul were just a few of those inducted into the Hall of Fame for 2024.

15. The Grammys are brought to us by the Recording Academy.

The Recording Academy is the organization behind the Grammys, and is an American academy of musicians, music engineers, producers, and all kinds of music professionals. The Academy was founded back in 1957.

Becoming a member is a delicate process – you typically need recommendations from people involved in the music industry. However, once you’re a member, you can vote on awards!

Grammy Hall of Fame

16. The Academy is highly philanthropic.

The Recording Academy behind the Grammys is involved in various philanthropic initiatives, including MusiCares, which provides assistance to musicians in times of need.

They were also instrumental in setting up a COVID-19 relief fund for musicians and artists struggling with lockdowns and reduced revenue, with $2 million initially raised to distribute to needy people in the music industry.

17. The Grammys award Lifetime Achievements, too.

One of the most special awards given by the Recording Academy is the Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is reserved for artists who have made significant contributions to the music industry throughout their careers.

Recipients of this particular award include The Supremes, Iggy Pop, Black Sabbath, the Bee Gees, Earth, Wind & Fire, The Beatles, James Brown, Julie Andrews, Louis Armstrong, and more!

18. The first televised performance at the Grammys was by Ella Fitzgerald.

The first woman and artist to command the Grammys stage on television was Ella Fitzgerald. She did so at the first televised Grammy Awards ceremony in 1959.
She was also the first-ever African-American woman to win a Grammy Award, receiving her first in 1958.

Several big stars have taken to the center stage at the Grammys over the years. Stevie Wonder, Shania Twain, Elton John, Eminem, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Amy Winehouse, and James Brown are just some of the most notable performers the Grammys have hosted over the past few decades.

Earth, Wind, and Fire
Earth, Wind & Fire

19. Ella Fitzgerald was also the first woman to win the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ella Fitzgerald was certainly a trailblazer in the world of music. In fact, she was also the first woman ever to receive the Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1967.

She’d win an incredible 13 Grammys across her career and even saw eight of her recordings head to the Grammys Hall of Fame!

20. The ceremony now includes international categories.

To honor artists from all over the world, the Grammy Awards now includes international categories to honor hard-working musicians recording in different genres and languages.

These specific awards show the global impact and diversity of musical expression and also help to shine a light on some of the lesser-known artists from around the world.

For example, the Grammy Award for Best Global Music Album was first honored back in 1992, with Masa Takumi taking away the gong for “Sakura” in 2023.

21. Morten Lauridsen holds quite a tragic record.

Composer Morten Lauridsen currently holds the record for the most Grammy nominations without a win. In fact, he was nominated for no less than 28 Grammy Awards before he finally won his first one! He won his first Grammy Award in 2006, then a second one in 2020.

However, the conductor and teacher does hold a National Medal of Arts, meaning he’s certainly been recognized for his achievements elsewhere.

Ella Fitzgerald
Ella Fitzgerald

22. There is a Grammy Museum in LA.

If you are interested in the Grammys, the best place to see them is the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, California. The museum celebrates the history and significance of the Grammy Awards through exhibits, educational programs, and even certain interactive experiences!

It’s technically a nonprofit organization, with tickets available to buy for general admission. Some experiences and exhibits the museum has become known for include a celebration of Shakira’s work and career, and “Hip-Hop America: The Mixtape Exhibit.”

23. There are thousands of voters.

There are actually over 11000 members of the Recording Academy who vote for the Grammy Awards! So, when winners thank the Academy for their honors, they are actually thanking thousands and thousands of people!

This also explains why, on rare occasions, there are tied winners for certain awards. There’s simply not enough room to pull some ballot results apart! If you want to make a genuine difference to the results at the Grammys, it’s worth applying for membership. However, as mentioned, you’ll need references from within the music industry.

24. Millions of people watch the Grammy Awards each year.

Although we may not all be invited to the ceremonies, many of us do tune in to watch it all happen. In fact, for the 2024 Grammy Awards, around 16.9 million viewers watched the Grammy Awards! It was the show’s biggest audience in four years!

It’s possible to watch the Grammys through online streams, social media, and premium services.

Grammy Museum at L.A. Live

25. People have lost Grammys over the years.

As difficult as it is to get a Grammy Award, it is important to remember that they can be taken away from the artists! For example, in 1990, Milli Vanilli had their Grammy Awards taken from them once the Recording Academy discovered that they did not sing the album submitted.

To this date, Milli Vanilli remains the only artist to have a Grammy revoked. However, others have refused to accept their awards, such as the late Sinead O’Connor, who declined the gong and to even appear at the ceremony in 1991.

In 2021, three out of the five nominees in the Best Children’s Music Album category requested their removal in protest against all the nominees being white that year. The Grammys have faced similar controversies over the years with regard to ethnic diversity.

26. The Grammy Awards have been held in three different cities so far.

As of today, the Grammy Awards have only ever been held in three cities. They have been hosted in New York City, Los Angeles, and Nashville. However, Los Angeles is the one that has hosted the event the most!

As mentioned, the Latin Grammys have been held elsewhere, with 2023’s event taking a step or two away from Las Vegas to host proceedings in Spain.

27. The Academy has seen its fair share of controversies.

Some artists simply haven’t gotten the recognition they deserve. For example, Snoop Dogg has received a total of 16 Grammy nominations throughout his career. However, to this day, he has never won an award.

Beyond this, metal fans were outraged over Jethro Tull winning Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance at the 1989 Grammys, which was long thought to tip in Metallica’s direction. This resulted in a few years of controversy where the genres of hard rock and metal fell under the same umbrella – until the Academy split them up in 1992.

And, of course, the ever-controversial Kanye West interrupted proceedings twice because he disagreed with the winner chosen. On both occasions, he protested that Beyoncé should have won – disrupting Taylor Swift in 2009 and Beck in 2015.

Kanye West
Ye

FAQs About the Grammys

How many Grammys does Michael Jackson have?

Michael Jackson has a total of 13 Grammy Awards. He also has the Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

He was nominated 36 times total – meaning he won over a third of the gongs he was eligible for – not a bad record at all!

Who has the most Grammys ever?

Beyoncé is currently the artist with the most Grammy Awards ever earned. She currently has a total of 32 Grammys.

Interestingly, together with her husband, Jay-Z, they each hold the record for the most Grammy nominations total, an impressive 88 noms each at the time of writing!

How many Grammys does Taylor Swift have now?

Currently, Taylor Swift has a total of 14 Grammys. She’s been nominated 52 times at the time of writing, and was the first – at this point the only – female solo performer to win Album Of The Year on three separate occasions (for solo albums).

Do you know any fun facts about the Grammys? Share them in the comments below!

External Links

https://grammy.com/
https://www.britannica.com/art/Grammy-Award

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This page was last modified on April 10, 2024. Suggest an edit