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The Grammy awards are next Sunday, March 14. The Grammy is an award presented by The Recording Academy to recognize achievements in the recording industry, as voted on by members of the Academy. The Academy actually is the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and the awards have been given since 1959. Grammy is short for the award’s original name, the Gramophone Award – it depicts a Gramophone covered in gold.
To become a member of the Academy, you need two recommendations from music industry peers, and then you are evaluated by a Peer Review Panel. To become a Voting Member, the Panel looks for proof of a primary music career focus, including marketing, promotion, online presence, awards, and visibility in the press. Additionally, you need to have at least twelve verifiable credits in your profession, with at least one in the last five years – for example, if you are an engineer, you have to have provided engineering to at least twelve recordings. If you have been nominated for a Grammy over the last five years, you don’t need to have twelve credits. And, if you are nominated in the current year, you don’t need two recommendations from peers.
Sounds ominous to me. I’m pretty sure I’m not eligible.
Here are some interesting Grammy trivia.
Most wins – George Solti (orchestral conductor), with 31 wins. Quincy Jones is second with 28, and Alison Krauss is third with 27.
Most wins by a Group – U2, with 22 wins. No other group is close – second is Alison Krauss’ bluegrass band Union Station, with 14.
Youngest winner – the Peasall sisters. Leah Peasall was 8 years old, and her sisters Hannah and Sarah were 11 and 14 respectively, when they won as credited artists for the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?, which won Album of the Year in 2002. The youngest individual winner is LeAnn Rimes, who won two awards in 1997 at the age of 14.
Oldest winner – Pinetop Perkins, who was awarded Best Traditional Blues Album in 2011 at the age of 97. Perkins passed away a month after the awards ceremony.
Most nominations – Quincy Jones and Jay Z both have 80 nominations, and Beyoncé and Paul McCartney both have 79 nominations. I will go out on a limb and predict that Beyoncé will take the lead here sometime in the future. Beyoncé has 28 wins. Jones has been nominated in 15 different categories.
Most nominations without a win – Zubin Mehta (orchestral conductor), with 18 nominations. Snoop Dogg is second, with 17. Sound engineer Morten Lindberg had this distinction with 28 nominations until he finally won his first Grammy in 2020.
The most prestigious awards are considered to be Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist. Three artists have won all four awards – Christopher Cross in 1981, Adele in 2009 (New Artist)/2012 (Album, Record and Song of the Year)/2017 (Album, Record and Song of the Year), and Billie Eilish in 2020. Cross and Eilish are the only winners all in the same year.
I hope you enjoy the 2021 Grammy awards. Here’s 97 year old blues pianist Pinetop Perkins performing Chicken Shack. Perkins also received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 2005.