With so many awards ceremonies lumped together around the same time of year, it’s easy for the Grammys to get lost in the mix. And that’s especially true now that several similar music awards have entered the scene, including the AMAs, the CMAs, the ACMs, the VMAs, the BET Hip Hip Awards and the Billboard Awards, to name a few.
But that doesn’t mean the show won’t be worth watching Sunday night. The ceremony is usually full of over-the-top fashions, controversial moments, and great performances from established musicians and newcomers alike. And even if the show is lacking, there’s still a wealth of great Grammy trivia to keep you entertained between the more boring acts.
So if you’re the kind of person that still watches the Grammys despite the existence of the CMT Awards, the MuchMusic Awards or YouTube Awards, feel free to bore your friends and family with the following trivia when the show gets stale.
#1. The Grammys were created after a group of record company executives were asked to participate in the Hollywood beautification campaign (which was to be responsible for choosing the honorees at the Hollywood Walk of Fame) and they realized they didn’t have their own award ceremony like that of the movie or television industry.
#2. Shelby Lynne was awarded the Grammy for Best New Artist in 1999, despite being active in the recording business for many years prior and releasing six well-received albums. (Grammy guidelines allow for eligibility in the year of “the recording that first establishes the public identity of that artist as a performer,” rather than simply the artist’s first album.) She acknowledged this fact in her acceptance speech when she said, “Thank you very much. Thirteen years and six albums to get here.”
#3. Before settling on the term “Grammy,” the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences chose “Eddie” as the nickname for the statuettes given out at their awards ceremony (which itself was initially knows as the Gramophone Awards). The nickname was a nod to Thomas Edison, the inventor of the gramophone.
#4. When the flute-heavy album “Crest of a Knave” by Jethro Tull won the Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Performance in 1989 — beating out Metallica, the favorite to win — audible boos and hisses could be heard from the crowd. Many attendees simply didn’t consider Jethro Tull to be a hard rock or heavy metal act, including Ian Anderson, the lead vocalist/flutist of Jethro Tull himself. (He didn’t even bother attending the ceremony.) In defense of Jethro Tull, their record label later released a cheeky congratulatory ad that read, “The flute is a heavy, metal instrument.” And at the 1991 Grammy Awards, when Metallica won their first Grammy for Best Metal Performance, they gave a backhanded thank-you to the band. “We gotta thank Jethro Tull for not putting out an album this year,” drummer Lars Ulrich joked to the crowd.
#5. Country artist LeAnn Rimes is currently the youngest Grammy winner of all time, earning her only two awards at age 14 in 1997. The late blues pianist Pinetop Perkins was the oldest at age 97, earning his last Grammy in 2011 for a collaboration album he recorded with Willie “Big Eyes” Smith.
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