It’s coming, folks! The 55th Grammy Awards! The first one in 1959 was expressly created to be anti-rock. Tuxedos and gramophones all the way. That didn’t last. And that’s not all that’s changed. These days you’re more likely to listen to Grammy winners on your smartphone than on a stereo. To celebrate this new way of checking out tunes, and the artists who created them, Nokia Music has teamed up with RocNation, Jay-Z’s record label, to sponsor the pre Grammy brunch.
This exciting bash is part of a long and eventful Grammy history. To see just how eventful, enjoy these fantastic episodes and facts from yesteryear.
Tears of a clown
In 1959, a red nose and tears design won the best album cover, with Frank Sinatra’s Only The Lonely. Record of the Year was the not-so-niftily-named Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare) by Domenico Modugno.
One of the most moving acceptance speeches – Yoko Ono in 1981, collecting the award for Album of the Year Double Fantasy. Son Sean could hardly reach the podium as he peered over at the standing ovation. ‘John is with us here today,’ Yoko said tearfully.
Great Grammy grabbers
Can you guess who has won the most Grammys? Heard of Sir George Solti? Thought not. But this Chicago Symphony Orchestra conductor was nominated 74 times and must have had a very full mantelpiece – with 31 wins!
The cheek of it!
Stevie Wonder won the Best Album Award for Innervisions (1973). He didn’t anticipate that nearly three decades later, he would have to buy it back from Ebay after it was stolen, for $29,250. Definitely a case of I ain’t gonna stand for it.
No really – Bob Dylan was sober when Jack Nicholson handed him his Lifetime Achievement Award. He thanked no one but instead issued gems like ‘It’s possible to become so defiled in this world that your own father and mother will abandon you.’
A day in the (terrifying) life
No prizes for guessing that The Beatles won for Album of The Year in 1967 with Sgt Peppers – but in the same year, Boris Karloff won for Best Recording for Children, with Dr Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Yes, that’s right – the scary man who played Frankenstein’s monster.
It’s not just music
Non-musicians have also picked up some plaudits – including Bill Clinton, Hilary Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev and Barack Obama – all winning in different years for Best Spoken Word Album. Hope then for William Shatner and his er…unique style of singing?
You don’t even have to be alive
In 2012 the legendary Tony Bennett presented Amy Winehouse’s parents their daughter’s Best Performance by a Pop Duo or Group. Bob Marley at last received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001 but like Jimi Hendrix, never received a Grammy in his lifetime.
Some really rate… some less so
‘…much much better than the Oscars…the Grammys are much wilder. The Oscars is much more people in the industry. And people dress wilder, I think, at the Grammys.’ – Steve Martin
‘I have records in gold, in platinum, I have two Oscars, I have Grammys and so on.’ – Celine Dion
It’s all about the snub
Aretha Franklin was unamused by the lack of RESPECT shown by a wasted, stumbling and David Bowie giggling in his own private world in 1975. ‘Ladies and gentleman and others,’ was not the greatest of beginnings. Neither was donning sunglasses to read the nominations. Franklin was there for Best Rhythm and Blue Performance by a Female. She ignored him.
It sure does have a wild and wonderful history. If you want to see how things go this year, there’s live streaming from the red carpet courtesy of @NokiaMusic. To find out more simply follow them on Twitter.