The Grammy Awards are undeniably held in high esteem. To win, regardless of in what category, is a huge and well-respected honor, not to mention an invitation into an elite class of esteemed artists. However, the Grammys don’t always get it right. It’s important to remember that the pool of music pulled from very rarely has anything to do with anything outside of the “popular” realm. To put it simply, the alternative stuff you listen to that is far superior to that top-40 hit you’re sick to death of is never going to win a Grammy. Well, at least that has seemingly been the mentality, but we all watched Arcade Fire deservingly walk away with Album of the Year for The Suburbs in 2011, so anything really is possible. Conversely, we all saw Taylor Swift shockingly take home the same award just a year prior for Fearless. Now, this “popularity contest” isn’t particularly a negative trend for the Grammys. There is definitely a great deal of effort found in getting your music heard by the masses, or at least heard by enough critics to set yourself on a pedestal; it’s not easy to do it! Not to mention, the public doesn’t have a say in the results, therefore there is a good amount of quality control. For example, it took until “Toxic” for Britney Spears to win a Grammy (for Best Dance Recording,) and despite what anyone says, Justin Bieber was not “snubbed” last year… he was left out with good reason. More times than not, through all the politics, ass-kissing, and borderline payola, the Academy helps paint a portrait of what the state of music is at any given time, and awarding those responsible for it. Be under no illusion, though… they don’t always get it right! Some of their “judgement calls” have been shockingly abysmal over the years that they are more than worth pointing out! As with anything, time will always have the final say in what music is truly iconic and valuable. As with Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the plethora of awards was a no-brainer, but sometimes, it’s just not that easy.
Here is a comprehensive list of the Grammys biggest blunders over the years, presented in reverse chronological order!
ALBUM OF THE YEAR – Mumford & Sons took home the gong for their average Babel record, while the Black Keys’ stellar El Camino and Frank Ocean’s channel ORANGE were criminally left on the shortlist!
BEST NEW ARTIST – fun. are a great band, but they’re more than likely just a fad. Not to mention, they’re not exactly “new.” Alabama Shakes and Frank Ocean would have been much more deserving winners here!
ALBUM OF THE YEAR – This was a year of shocking nominations, but Taylor Swift pulled out the “W” for her Fearless album. Without a doubt, Beyoncé’s iconic I Am…Sasha Fierce should have taken home the prize.
RECORD OF THE YEAR – Kings Of Leon’s “Use Somebody” should have never beat out Beyoncé’s “Halo” or Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” let’s be honest.
BEST NEW ARTIST – The Zac Brown Band are great, but MGMT are far more important to music. They should have won.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR – I’m tired of the Grammys kissing the asses of legends beyond their prime. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss made a great album with Raising Sand, but Radiohead’s In Rainbows and Coldplay’s Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends were forward-thinking and more deserving records.
RECORD OF THE YEAR – Furthering along their ass-kissing, Plant and Krauss in no way deserved to beat out Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida,” Adele’s “Chasing Pavements,” or M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” for Record of the Year.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR – Once again, this was a case of the Grammy’s living in the past. Herbie Hancock’s (still amazing) Joni Mitchell covers record didn’t quite deserve to beat out Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black, a legendary studio album for the ages.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR – I hate to go here, but Ray Charles won Album of the Year in 2005 simply because he passed away. Clearly, Green Day’s American Idiot should have won, if not Kanye West’s impeccable debut, The College Dropout.
BEST NEW ARTIST – At the time, it wasn’t such a bad decision, but from today’s perspective, the fact that Maroon 5 beat out Kanye West for Best New Artist is just a crime.
RECORD OF THE YEAR – U2 took home their second Record of the Year award in a row, this time for “Walk On.” It really is a great song, but Alicia Keys’ “Fallin'” should have walked away with it, with Outkast’s “Ms. Jackson” being the runner-up!
ALBUM OF THE YEAR – I’ll be the first to defend Steely Dan, but their Two Against Nature record didn’t quite deserve to beat out Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP or Radiohead’s Kid A.
RECORD OF THE YEAR – Please kill me. Celine Dion’s over-played “My Heart Will Go On” edged out Madonna’s “Ray Of Light” and Shania Twain’s “You’re Still The One” HOW?
SONG OF THE YEAR – Again, “My Heart Will Go On” didn’t really need to beat out “You’re Still The One” or Diane Warren’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” (recorded by Aerosmith.)
BEST NEW ARTIST – Sure, she was a new SOLO artist, but I’m not sure that qualifies Lauryn Hill for Best New Artist. The Dixie Chicks should have realistically won this category.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR – Bob Dylan’s Time Out Of Mind is great, but OK Computer didn’t win, and that’s just plain WRONG.
BEST NEW ARTIST – Paula Cole edging out Erykah Badu and Fiona Apple is completely laughable. Where have all the sane voters gone? …They must be hanging out with the cowboys.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR – Celine Dion won for Falling Into You. She beat out Beck’s Odelay, The Fugees’ The Score, The Smashing Pumpkin’s Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness, and the Waiting To Exhale soundtrack. COME ON!
RECORD OF THE YEAR – What should have gone to TLC’s “Waterfalls” ended up going to Seal’s “Kiss From A Rose,” a great song in its own right, but clearly the weaker of the two.
BEST NEW ARTIST – Hootie & The (f-ing) Blowfish were somehow considered superior to Alanis Morissette and Shania Twain, and we’re all still scratching our heads!
RECORD OF THE YEAR – Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do” was in no position to beat out Bruce Springsteen’s impeccable “Streets Of Philadelphia,” but it somehow did.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR – Eric Clapton’s Unplugged is seriously awesome, but U2’s Achtung Baby is really the real winner of the lot.
RECORD OF THE YEAR – Natalie Cole’s rendition of “Unforgettable,” recorded with her late father, is really sweet and well done, but R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” was a living legend that absolutely should have won this award hands down.
SONG OF THE YEAR – HOW HOW HOW did Irving Gordon win Song of the Year in 1992 for a song he wrote in 1951? This breaks so many rules, it’s not even funny. “Losing My Religion” should have won.
BEST NEW ARTIST – Marc Cohn won Best New Artist. You all remember him, right? Guess who didn’t win. Boyz II Men (complete no-namers.)
RECORD OF THE YEAR – Someone needs to explain to me just how Phil Collins’ “Another Day In Paradise” managed to beat Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” and Mariah Carey’s “Vision Of Love” to Record of the Year. That’s just not right!
SONG OF THE YEAR – Prince should have taken home the award for “Nothing Compares 2 U” (performed by Sinead O’Connor”) over the ball of cheese that is “From A Distance.”
SONG OF THE YEAR – Now, it’s not the Academy’s fault that Milli Vanilli were frauds, but still…
SONG OF THE YEAR – I completely understand “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” winning Record of the Year, but SONG of the year is a bit ridiculous. Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” got robbed on this one.
SONG OF THE YEAR – Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram’s “Somewhere Out There” (written by the legendary Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil with James Horner) is a beautiful song, but U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” really deserved to win this category.
SONG OF THE YEAR – “That’s What Friends Are For” was a cute concept, but let’s get real… it’s not a great song, especially considering it was 5 years old by the time it won. Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” or Steve Winwood’s “Higher Lover,” anyone?
ALBUM OF THE YEAR – This by far the Grammy’s biggest screw up EVER. These morons passed up Cyndi Lauper’s pop gem-filled debut She’s So Unusual, Prince & The Revolution’s Purple Rain (pretty much the best soundtrack ever,) Bruce Springsteen’s iconic Born In The USA, and Tina Turner’s immaculate Private Dancer in favor of LIONEL RICHIE’S Can’t Slow Down. What. Where. They. Thinking? If there was one album on the shortlist that shouldn’t have one, it was this. Clearly Purple Rain should have walked away with the award hands down, but any of the others would have still made sense. Nope… they went with Lionel.
SONG OF THE YEAR – It’s not the fact that The Police won for “Every Breath You Take,” but the fact that Michael Jackson DIDN’T for either “Beat It” or “Billie Jean.” He still walked out of there with 8, but c’mon…
BEST NEW ARTIST – I fully support the fact that Culture Club won this award, but the Eurythmics deserved it a little more.
RECORD OF THE YEAR – None of the nominees were particularly exciting, but Toto’s “Rosanna” shouldn’t have edged out Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out.”
SONG OF THE YEAR – “Always On My Mind” was already a decade old when it won Song of the Year, so it should have never even been nominated. Donald Fegan’s “I.G.Y.” was deserving of this award.
BEST NEW ARTIST – Sheena Easton didn’t really deserve to edge out any of her four fellow nominees … Adam & The Ants, The Go-Gos, James Ingram, and, especially, Luther Vandross. I’m not really sure how she won!
ALBUM OF THE YEAR – Somehow, Christopher Cross’ debut album was considered superior to Frank Sinatra’s legendary Trilogy and…oh, I don’t know… Pink Floyd’s The Wall.
BEST NEW ARTIST – A Taste Of Honey managed to walk away with Best New Artist, while ELVIS COSTELLO did not. At least he walked away with an actual career! (Well, they’ll always have “Boogie Oogie Oogie”)
SONG OF THE YEAR – There was a tie this year… Between “Evergreen” and “You Light Up My Life.” Have mercy on us. Somehow, “Hotel California” didn’t win!
BEST NEW ARTIST – Way to go, Starland Vocal Band! You may be ultimate One Hit Wonders (“Afternoon Delight,” by the way,) but at least for one night, you were considered “better” than Boston.
RECORD OF THE YEAR – This was kind of a touchy shortlist of nominees, but I find it hard to justify Captain & Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together” beating Janis Ian’s “At Seventeen” or even Glen Campbell’s classic “Rhinestone Cowboy.”
RECORD OF THE YEAR – There is no reasonable explanation as to why Olivia Newton John’s “I Honestly Love You” walked away with Record of the Year over Joni Mitchell’s “Help Me.” Who was on the voting panel for this one?!
BEST NEW ARTIST – Bette Midler over Barry White?! I need a drink!
BEST NEW ARTIST – Who thought America was a better new artist than The Eagles or Loggins & Messina? Please take them out back.
BEST NEW ARTIST – Not to knock the Carpenters, but they edged out Elton John for Best New Artist, and I’m just not sure I can agree with that. Hindsight is always 20/20!
ALBUM OF THE YEAR – Blood Sweat & Tears debut or The Beatles’ Abbey Road? Hmm, sounds like a no brainer, right? NOPE, they went with BST. Disgusting.
BEST NEW ARTIST – Not that they got it “wrong” giving Best New Artist to Crosby Stills & Nash, but considering they were a supergroup (therefore not completely “new”) and they beat this little group called Led Zeppelin, I’d say that this was a bit of a misstep.
SONG OF THE YEAR – Bobby Russell won for writing O.C. Smith’s “Little Green Apples,” beating out The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson.” This has to be a sick joke.
BEST NEW ARTIST – That’s right, Jose Feliciano (the “Feliz Navidad” guy) won Best New Artist over Cream, arguably the greatest trio in the history of rock and roll.
BEST NEW ARTIST – Bobbie Gentry won over not just the 5th Dimension, but, most importantly, Jefferson Airplane!
SONG OF THE YEAR – Well the Beatles won, but for “Michelle.” What an arbitrary track to win, especially considering all of the incredible material released along side it! “Strangers In The Night” would have been a better choice.
RECORD OF THE YEAR – In hindsight, going with “The Girl From Ipanema” over The Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand” or Louis Armstrong’s “Hello, Dolly!” wasn’t the best choice. Even at the time, I’m not quite sure what they were thinking.
BEST NEW ARTIST – Honestly, this one is absolutely hysterical. The Four Seasons and Peter Paul & Mary didn’t win Best New Artist in 1963, and you know who did? Robert Goulet. IT HURTS! IT HURTS!
RECORD OF THE YEAR – Percy Faith’s “Theme From A Summer Place” wins out again Ray’s “Georgia On My Mind,” Elvis’ “Are You Lonesome Tonight?,” Sinatra’s “Nice ‘n’ Easy,” and Ella’s take on “Mack The Knife?” …Please! I know it was a long time ago, but the hurt is still very real.