39 geeky Grammy facts

Where Elmo meets Ol' Dirty Bastard and she-God

Sunday 8 February marks the 51st Grammy awards ceremony in Los Angeles California. That means a night of glitz, glamour, large amounts of back-slapping and usually a little controversy about who wins.

As with The Brits in the UK, the Grammys aren't popular with everyone.

Maynard James Keenan of Tool reckons: "I think the Grammys are nothing more than some gigantic promotional machine for the music industry. They cater to a low intellect and they feed the masses. They don't honor the arts or the artist for what he created. It's the music business celebrating itself. That's basically what it's all about."

All true, perhaps. Then again, Keenan has never won, has he?

Let's put aside the arguments for one moment. You can row about MusicRadar's fearless 2009 Grammys predictions, and we can start again when MusicRadar posts its 2009 Grammy awards live blog on Sunday from California.

For now, let's just get on with…


39 geeky Grammy facts


1.
The first Grammy Awards were presented on 4 May 1959. Record Of The Year was Volare by Domenico Modugno.


2.
In 1959, there were 22 awards. In 2009, there will be 110.


3.
The Grammys were originally launched to ward off the 'threat' of rock 'n roll explosion. The Best Rock And Roll Recording category wasn't added until 1962.


4.
Approximately 7,000 academy members vote in the nominating and final voting process, and all ballots are tabulated by accounting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. Record companies are not allowed to vote.


5.
The first Grammy for a Rap Performance went to DJ Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince (Will Smith) in 1989.

DJ jazzy jeff and the fresh prince

Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince in the house


6.
In 1989, Milli Vanilli became the first artists to be stripped of their Grammy (for Best New Artist) when it was discovered they didn't sing on 'their' album.


7.
At the 1998 Grammys, when Bob Dylan was performing live, a man called Michael Portnoy appeared on stage wearing no shirt with the words "Soy Bomb" painted on his chest. He started dancing, badly. Removed by security, he later explained his dance was "an act of revolution". Portnoy later explained: "Soy represents dense nutritional life. Bomb is, obviously, an explosive destructive force. So, soy bomb is what I think art should be: dense, transformational, explosive life." Eh?

8. LeAnn Rimes became the youngest person to win a top Grammy in 1997 - she won the Best New Artist award at age 14.


9.
Stevie Wonder holds the record for most Grammys won by a solo artist with 28, plus a Lifetime Achievement award.


10.
Five female artists have won five Grammys on one night - Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys, Norah Jones, Beyonce and Amy Winehouse.

Alicia keys

High 5 for Alicia Keys


11.
Only three artists have won Best New Artist and Record Of The Year in the same year - Sheryl Crow, Christopher Cross and Norah Jones.


12.
Kelly Clarkson won two Grammys in 2006 - the first 'American Idol' to win a Grammy.


13.
Comic Robin Williams has won four Grammys. Isn't that funny?


14.
The joint-record for most nominations in one year is held by Michael Jackson (12 in 1983) and Babyface (12 times in 1992).


15.
Most insane Grammy award? In 2001, the Baha Men won Best Dance Recording for the hugely irritating Who Let The Dogs Out?


16.
The award for Short Form Video was introduced in 1984. First winner was Duran Duran's Girls On Film, 2008's was Johnny Cash's God's Gonna Cut You Down.


17.
Elvis Presley never won a Grammy in a top category, though he did win in the Gospel music category in 1971.


18.
Sinead O'Connor is the only artist to refuse a Grammy - for Best Alternative Music Performance for the album I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got (1990).


19.
Eminem has won a Grammy and an Oscar in the same year. In 2002 he won seven Grammys, plus an Oscar for Best Original Song - Lose Yourself from the movie 8 Mile.


20.
Fountains Of Wayne were nominated for Best New Artist in 2004. They actually formed eight years previously, in 1996.

21. Led Zeppelin have only won one Grammy - the Lifetime Achievement award in 2005, 25 years after they split.


22.
Rod Stewart, Queen, The Jackson Five, Bob Marley, Buddy Holly and The Beach Boys have never won a Grammy.


23.
When accepting her Grammy for the song I Am Woman in 1973, Helen Reddy proceeded to thank God because "she makes everything possible". The television network was inundated with complaints.


24.
Elmo the Muppet has won three Grammys, including one for 1998's Elmopalooza! (Best Music Album For Children).

Elmo

The myth, the legend, the Muppet that is Elmo


25.
Joe Satriani has been nominated for a Grammy 13 times. He has never won.


26.
Most wins in one year is eight - Michael Jackson in 1983 and Carlos Santana in 1999.


27.
Alison Krauss has won the most Grammys of any female artist. She's has won 20, and is nominated for five more in 2009.


28.
The longest title for a winning song is The Wizard Turns On...The Giant Silver Flashlight And Puts On His Werewolf Moccasins by The Flaming Lips (Best Rock Instrumental Performance, 2007).

Flaming lips

The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne - V for Grammy victory


29.
There was no Grammy award for Best New Artist in 1967 (yet there was in '66 and '68). No Grammy in his lifetime for Jimi Hendrix, then.


30.
In 1976, host Andy Williams was waiting for Stevie Wonder to talk to the Grammys via satellite from Nigeria. During technical problems a flustered Williams asked; "Stevie, can you see us now?" Williams was never asked to present the awards show again.


31.
At the 2000 Grammys, Jennifer Lopez's Versace dress had to be taped to her body. It was judged too revealing for US TV.


32.
At the 2004 Grammys, 50 Cent strolled across the stage during Amy Lee (of Evanescence)'s acceptance speech for Best New Artist. Fiddy, a fellow nominee, said it was a protest for rap not being recognised.


33.
When Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP won all three awards in the rap categories at the 2000 Grammys, 300 people protested against his alleged homophobia. His duet with Elton John was the following year.

34. Producer / artist Quincy Jones has been nominated for Grammys 79 times. He's won 27 times.


35.
Multi-instrumentalist, Brian McKnight - he plays piano, guitar, bass, drums, percussion, trombone, tuba, French horn and trumpet - holds the record for most Grammy nominations without a single win. He has been nominated 16 times.


36.
Most Grammys (22) won by a band goes to U2. How predictable.


37.
Most Grammys (17) won for consecutive albums goes to jazz guitarist Pat Metheny.


38.
The Beatles' first Grammy was for A Hard Day's Night (1964) as Best Performance By A Vocal Group.


39.
Most baffling appearance was surely by Ol' Dirty Bastard (also 1998), protesting when Wu Tang Clan lost out to Puff Daddy in the Best Hip-Hop Album category. "Wu Tang is for the children!" he insisted. Well, of course.


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