If the Grammy award had a mind of its own, by now we’d surely suspect him of being a struggling alcoholic. Because there were instances in the past when he behaved just as inexplicable as a mean drunk and stumbled his way to the wrong address (at least in the opinion of large numbers of fans and music listeners in general).
Picture this: you’re an artist. You put work, time and your far-too-badgered neurons into an album. Said album comes out and is well received by multitudes (to say the least, if not even acclaimed by the majority). You start to kinda, sort of, hope that this might actually be a great one. Somethin’ for people to remember you by. The Grammy ceremony comes near. By now, many many people are writing good reviews about your work, buying it and talking about it on social media.
You allow yourself to hope that hey! maybe I might get nominated. Who knows? Then you DO get nominated, and the rumor mill hints that you’re the clear winner and no competitor has a chance. Theeeeen… the drunken Paddy of a Grammy strolls up, slurring his words and (barely) focusing in your general direction and up and decides to pass out into the arms of ANOTHER.
That’s it. Back to the drawing board. All that effort down the drain. Sad, huh? Well, that’s what happened these 5 times when the Grammy went astray (apparently), which we’ll discuss below. Now, of course, music is a subjective theme, so there’s no claiming that the Grammy should have gone to someone else beyond any reasonable doubt. It’s just about the … feel of the masses, if you will. And the surprise that ensued.
1. Queen Of Pop, not invincible
In 2011, Katy Perry had 5 number 1 hits. You might know the person whose record she tied with this performance: his name was Michael Jackson. So, in essence, Katy was seen as indomitable at the 2011 Grammy’s. Except, of course, until she was defeated by Arcade Fire with the album “The Suburbs”.
2. Jazz vs. Soul
The iconic jazz-man Herbie Hancock won the 2008 Grammy with an album that failed to impress and is considered by many an offering far from the heights of some other legendary outputs of his. But that’s not the kicker. The thing is he won the Grammy with this (for his talent) mediocre album against the then media-buzz, massively popular (at a wide range of ages) Amy Winehouse with her barely second(!) album and simultaneously first international success , “Back to Black”.
3. The 2011 Mystery
How do you explain Esperanza Spalding winning this one considering that: A. it wasn’t a case of the (innacurate and grossly generalizing terms) “mainstream” vs. “niche / elitist” usual conundrum, as was the case with Katy Perry and Arcade Fire. Because in 2011, the OTHER nominees, apart from Esperanza were: Drake and Justin Bieber on the mainstream side and Florence & The Machine and Mumford and Sons on the other side. And B. Esperanza Spalding won the best NEW ARTIST award, despite the fact that her first album was launched in 2006 and no fuss came out of it, nor buzz about her since she wasn’t very popular. The answer? You don’t…
4. Titan Clash 1985
This one isn’t so much a mystery as just a really though choice. Still, the general opinion is that the winner is probably the least justified choice. Allow me to explain. Lionel Ritchie, with “Can’t Slow Down” got the award to the detriment of Prince’s “Purple Rain”, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.”, Prince’s “Purple Rain”, Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer”, Prince’s “Purple Rain” and Cyndi Lauper’s “She’s So Unusual”. Did I mention Prince’s “Purple Rain” was also nominated?
5. My name is…
… Steely Dan. Look them up. They’re a 2 member american jazz rock band with influences from funk, R&B, and pop. They’re also notable for having had a pretty big hiatus. Say 12 years of a hiatus (1981 – 1993). So you’re probably thinking “Good for them!” that they won the 2000 Grammy, right? So would I, if there would have been even an ounce of sense in the decision. Along the lines of… you know… not competing with Eminem that year and his now legendary, generation(s) influencing album “The Marshall Mathers LP”! Good thing that Eminem kept his cool and upon being asked how he felt about it he gentlemanly replied: “Who the fuck is Steely Dan?!”.