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The Grammys have honored some major stars early in their careers — and also some head-scratchers (Debby Boone over Andy Gibb and Foreigner?)

  • 1960: Bobby Darin • Also nominated: Edd Byrnes; Johnny Restivo; Mark Murphy; Mavis Rivers 

    A smart choice of future Rock and Roll Hall of Famer behind such hits as “Splish Splash” and “Mack the Knife.”


  • 1961: Bob Newhart • Also nominated: Joanie Sommers; Leontyne Price; Miriam Makeba; The Brothers Four 

    The three-time Grammy-winning comedian went on to become a huge TV star.

  • 1962: Peter Nero • Also nominated: Ann-Margret; Dick Gregory; The Lettermen; Timi Yuro 

    The pianist and pops conductor had a long and distinguished career.

  • 1963: Robert Goulet • Also nominated: Allan Sherman; Peter, Paul and Mary; The Four Seasons; The New Christy Minstrels; Vaughn Meader 

    How could Grammy voters pass over Frankie Valli’s The Four Seaons or the folk legends Peter, Paul and Mary?

  • 1964: The Swingle Singers • Also nominated: John Gary; Trini Lopez; The J’s with Jamie; Vikki Carr 

    The classical chorus wins over singer-guitarist Trini Lopez? Um, OK.


  • 1965: The Beatles • Also nominated: The Beatles
    Antonio Carlos Jobim; Astrud Gilberto; Morgana King; Petula Clark 

    Yeah, we’ve heard of these guys.

  • 1966: Tom Jones
    Also nominated: Glenn Yarbrough; Herman’s Hermits; Horst Jankowski; Marilyn Maye; Sonny & Cher; The Byrds 

    The Welsh singer seemed old-fashioned even at the time — especially compared to the Byrds.

  • 1968: Bobbie Gentry • Also nominated: Harpers Bizarre; Jefferson Airplane; Lana Cantrell; The 5th Dimension 

    (No award given in 1967.) The country star was one of the genre’s first to write her own material.

  • 1969: José Feliciano • Also nominated: Cream; Gary Puckett & The Union Gap; Jeannie C. Riley; O. C. Smith 

    Feliz Navidad!

  • 1970: Crosby, Stills & Nash • Also nominated: Chicago; Led Zeppelin; Oliver; The Neon Philharmonic 


  • 1971: The Carpenters • Also nominated: Anne Murray; Elton John; Melba Moore; The Partridge Family 

    Poor Elton. At least the Partridge Family didn’t win.

  • 1972: Carly Simon • Also nominated: Bill Withers; Chase; Emerson, Lake & Palmer; Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds

  • 1973: America • Also nominated: Eagles; Harry Chapin; John Prine; Loggins and Messina 

    The Eagles were robbed!

  • 1974: Bette Midler • Also nominated: Barry White; Eumir Deodato; Marie Osmond; Maureen McGovern 

    Bette over Barry White? Interesting…

  • 1975: Marvin Hamlisch • Also nominated: Bad Company; David Essex; Graham Central Station; Johnny Bristol; Phoebe Snow 

    Another old-fashioned choice.

  • 1976: Natalie Cole • Also nominated: Amazing Rhythm Aces; Brecker Brothers; KC and the Sunshine Band; Morris Albert 


  • 1977: Starland Vocal Band • Also nominated: Boston; Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band; The Brothers Johnson; Wild Cherry 


  • 1978: Debby Boone • Also nominated: Andy Gibb; Foreigner; Shaun Cassidy; Stephen Bishop

    Another boring, safe choice that snubs legends like Gibb and Foreigner. Doesn’t feel like the first time the Grammys have gone the wrong way.

  • 1979: A Taste of Honey • Also nominated: Chris Rea; Elvis Costello; The Cars; Toto 

    Really?! You pass over Elvis Costello and The Cars for the “Boogie Oogie Oogie” duo?

  • 1980: Rickie Lee Jones • Also nominated: Dire Straits; Robin Williams; The Blues Brothers; The Knack

  • 1981: Christopher Cross • Also nominated: Amy Holland; Irene Cara; Robbie Dupree; The Pretenders 

    The “Sailing” guy bests the Pretenders? Take me away.

  • 1982: Sheena Easton • Also nominated: Adam and the Ants; James Ingram; Luther Vandross; The Go-Go’s 

    Love Sheena, but Luther and the G0-Gos made a bigger impact.

  • 1983: Men at Work • Also nominated: Asia; Jennifer Holliday; Stray Cats; The Human League

  • 1984: Culture Club • Also nominated: Big Country; Eurythmics; Men Without Hats; Musical Youth 

    Boy George vs. Annie Lennox.

  • 1985: Cyndi Lauper • Also nominated: Corey Hart; Frankie Goes to Hollywood; Sheila E.; The Judds

    The Grammys got this one right.

  • 1986: Sade • Also nominated: A-ha; Freddie Jackson; Katrina and the Waves; Julian Lennon

  • 1987: Bruce Hornsby and the Range • Also nominated: Glass Tiger; Nu Shooz; Simply Red; Timbuk3

  • 1988: Jody Watley • Also nominated: Breakfast Club; Cutting Crew; Terence Trent D’Arby; Swing Out Sister

  • 1989: Tracy Chapman • Also nominated: Rick Astley; Take 6; Toni Childs; Vanessa L. Williams 

    At least the Grammys didn’t Rick-roll Tracy Chapman.

  • 1990: [Milli Vanilli] • Also nomianted: Indigo Girls; Neneh Cherry; Soul II Soul; Tone Lōc

    Granted, the Grammys rescinded the award after the pop duo Milli Vanilli were exposed as lip-syncers of other vocalists. But the fact that they beat great artists like Indigo Girls and Tone Lōc in the first place is embarrassing.

  • 1991: Mariah Carey • Also nominated: Lisa Stansfield; The Black Crowes; The Kentucky Headhunters; Wilson Phillips

    One year after the Milli Vanilli debacle, Grammy voters got it right.

  • 1992: Marc Cohn • Also nominated: Boyz II Men; C+C Music Factory; Color Me Badd; Seal 

    Another vanilla choice in a year in which Boys II Men and Seal were both contenders.

  • 1993: Arrested Development • Also nominated: Billy Ray Cyrus; Jon Secada; Kris Kross; Sophie B. Hawkins

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  • 1994: Toni Braxton • Also nominated: Belly; Blind Melon; Digable Planets; SWV

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  • 1995: Sheryl Crow • Also nominated: Ace of Base; Counting Crows; Crash Test Dummies; Green Day 

    Green Day gets no love.

  • 1996: Hootie & the Blowfish • Also nominated: Alanis Morissette; Brandy; Joan Osborne; Shania Twain 

    Guess Darius Rucker’s band name didn’t effectively warn Grammy voters that it would not withstand the test of time.

  • 1997: LeAnn Rimes • Also nominated: Garbage; Jewel; No Doubt; The Tony Rich Project


  • 1998: Paula Cole • Also nominated: Erykah Badu; Fiona Apple; Hanson; Puff Daddy 

    I don’t wanna wait… for my career to be outshone.

  • 1999: Lauryn Hill • Also nominated: Andrea Bocelli; Backstreet Boys; Dixie Chicks; Natalie Imbruglia

    What a really strong year for new artists.

  • 2000: Christina Aguilera • Also nominated: Britney Spears; Kid Rock; Macy Gray; Susan Tedeschi 

    Xtina beat Britney!?

  • 2001: Shelby Lynne • Also nominated: Brad Paisley; Jill Scott; Papa Roach; Sisqó 

    Lynne wins on her sixth studio album — and beats future country superstar Brad Paisley?

  • 2002: Alicia Keys • Also nominated: David Gray; India.Arie; Linkin Park; Nelly Furtado

  • 2003: Norah Jones • Also nominated: Ashanti; Avril Lavigne; John Mayer; Michelle Branch 

    Whatever happened to Norah Jones?

  • 2004: Evanescence • Also nominated: 50 Cent; Fountains of Wayne; Heather Headley; Sean Paul

  • 2005: Maroon 5 • Also nominated: Gretchen; Wilson; Los Lonely Boys; Joss Stone; Kanye West 

    It’s a wonder Yeezy didn’t storm the stage to demand a recount.

  • 2006: John Legend • Also nominated: Ciara; Fall Out Boy; Keane; Sugarland

  • 2007: Carrie Underwood • Also nominated: Chris Brown; Corinne Bailey Rae; Imogen Heap; James Blunt

  • 2008: Amy Winehouse • Also nominated: Feist; Ledisi; Paramore; Taylor Swift

    Sorry, TSwift. Hard to argue with this choice of a gone-too-soon legend.

  • 2009: Adele • Also nominated: Duffy, Jonas Brothers, Jazmine Sullivan, Lady Antebellum

  • 2010: Zac Brown Band • Also nominated: Keri Hilson, MGMT, Silversun Pickups, The Ting Tings

  • 2011: Esperanza Spalding • Also nominated: Drake, Florence and the Machine, Justin Bieber, Mumford & Sons 

    Another head-scratcher.

  • 2012: Bon Iver • Also nominated: J. Cole, Nicki Minaj, Skrillex, The Band Perry 

  • 2013: Fun • Also nominated: Alabama Shakes, Hunter Hayes, Frank Ocean, The Lumineers 

    Does anyone even remember Fun?

  • 2014: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis • Also nominated: Ed Sheeran, James Blake, Kacey Musgraves, Kendrick Lamar

  • 2015: Sam Smith • Also nominated: Bastille, Brandy Clark, Haim, Iggy Azalea

  • 2016: Meghan Trainor  • Also nominated: Courtney Barnett, James Bay, Tori Kelly, Sam Hunt

  • 2017: Chance the Rapper •  Also nominated: Kelsea Ballerini, The Chainsmokers, Maren Morris, Anderson Paak

  • 2018: Alessia Cara • Also nominated: Khalid; Lil Uzi Vert; Julia Michaels; SZA

  • 2019: Dua Lipa • Also nominated: Chloe x Halle; Luke Combs; Greta Van Fleet; H.E.R.; Margo Price; Bebe Rexha; Jorja Smith


  • 2020: Billie Eilish • Also nominated: Black Pumas;  Lil Nas X; Lizzo; Maggie Rogers; Rosalía; Tank and the Bangas; Yola

  • The Grammys have honored some major stars early in their careers — and also some head-scratchers (Fun over Frank Ocean and the Lumineers?)

    The Grammys have honored some major stars early in their careers — and also some head-scratchers (Debby Boone over Andy Gibb and Foreigner?)

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