GRAMMY Rewind: 49th Annual GRAMMY Awards

Dixie Chicks win big and Carrie Underwood takes Best New Artist against these nominees
  • Dixie Chicks, Taking The Long Way
  • Photo: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage.com
    Carrie Underwood
  • Photo: Jesse Grant/WireImage.com
    Corinne Bailey Rae
  • Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.com
    Dixie Chicks
  • Photo: John Sciulli/WireImage.com
    James Blunt
  • Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.com
    John Mayer
  • Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.com
    Mary J. Blige
February 07, 2012 -- 6:55 pm PST
GRAMMY.com

Music's Biggest Night, the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards, will air live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

In the weeks leading up to the telecast, we will take a stroll through some of the golden moments in GRAMMY history with the GRAMMY Rewind, highlighting the "big four" categories — Album Of The Year, Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Best New Artist — from past awards shows. In the process, we'll discuss the winners and the nominees who just missed taking home the GRAMMY, while also shining a light on the artists' careers and the eras in which the recordings were born.

Join us as we take an abbreviated journey through the trajectory of pop music from the 1st Annual GRAMMY Awards in 1959 to this year's 53rd telecast. Today, the GRAMMY Awards remember the year the Dixie Chicks were flying high.

49th Annual GRAMMY Awards
Feb. 11, 2007

Album Of The Year
Winner: Dixie Chicks, Taking The Long Way
Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere
John Mayer, Continuum
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stadium Arcadium
Justin Timberlake, FutureSex/LoveSounds

This Album Of The Year win was just the tip of a huge year for the Dixie Chicks, all of which was welcome vindication for the group after a politically charged comment made by singer Natalie Maines at a concert in 2003 had cost the group some fan and radio support. GRAMMY voters rose above the controversy to reward the album's merits. The group would win four GRAMMYs this year, and have won 12 to date. Gnarls Barkley (producer Danger Mouse and singer Cee Lo Green) teamed for a galvanizing album that drew from pop as much as the collaborators' roots in hip-hop. Mayer's Continuum won the Best Pop Vocal Album trophy, and marked his conscious awareness of the social issues of his generation, evidenced by his GRAMMY-winning "Waiting On The World To Change." The Red Hot Chili Peppers earned a nomination with the sprawling Stadium Arcadium, a 28-song double album released in a CD/digital-download age in which double albums rarely exist. Timberlake, the former 'N Sync star, rounded out the nominees with a modern-day, blue-eyed soul record, which ambitiously reached the top of the Billboard 200 in 2006. 


Record Of The Year
Winner: Dixie Chicks, "Not Ready To Make Nice"
Mary J. Blige, "Be Without You"
James Blunt, "You're Beautiful"
Gnarls Barkley, "Crazy"
Corinne Bailey Rae, "Put Your Records On"

The Dixie Chicks took Record Of The Year on the strength of "Not Ready To Make Nice," a fiercely defiant song that contained lines that spoke volumes about their trials, including death threats: "How in the world can the words that I said/Send somebody so over the edge/That they'd write me a letter/Sayin' that I better shut up and sing or my life will be over." "Be Without You" was equally heartfelt, with Blige pouring her soul into every word in her typical no-holds-barred approach, withholding no emotion. "You're Beautiful" was the ballad of the year, a soft ode to the perfection of a woman from the past, just out of the singer's reach. Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" captivated listeners with its combination of retro-soul, inescapable hooks and cutting-edge production. Brit newcomer Rae brought a jazzy feel to the neo-soul of "Put Your Records On," though she started out inspired by all-female punk groups such as L7.

Song Of The Year
Winner: Dixie Chicks, "Not Ready To Make Nice"
Mary J. Blige, "Be Without You"
James Blunt, "You're Beautiful"
Corinne Bailey Rae, "Put Your Records On"
Carrie Underwood, "Jesus, Take The Wheel"

The Dixie Chicks completed their sweep of the "big four" categories for which they're eligible with a Song Of The Year win for "Not Ready To Make Nice," which the group wrote with Dan Wilson, whose band Semisonic scored a Best Rock Song GRAMMY nomination for "Closing Time" in 1998. Blige co-wrote "Be Without You" with hot R&B writers Johnta Austin, Bryan-Michael Cox and Jason Perry. Blunt wrote "You're Beautiful" with Amanda Ghost and Sacha Skarbek. Ghost, former president of Epic Records, also received a nomination for her production work on Beyoncé's GRAMMY-nominated Album Of The Year, I Am…Sasha Fierce, at the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards. Rae teamed with John Beck and Steve Chrisanthou for "Put Your Records On." Beck's credits include Tasmin Archer's "Sleeping Satellite," a Top 40 hit in 1993. Finally, Underwood scored a No. 1 Country Singles hit with "Jesus, Take The Wheel," a tune written by country songwriting stalwarts Brett James, Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson. The track also picked up Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance honors.

Best New Artist
Winner: Carrie Underwood
James Blunt
Chris Brown
Imogen Heap
Corinne Bailey Rae

Underwood became the first, and so far only, "American Idol" alumnus to win the Best New Artist award. It was a solid choice, as the singer has gone on to win five GRAMMY Awards in her still growing career. Blunt's five nominations this year didn't result in any wins, but were a testament to the impact this newcomer made. Brown has earned four more nominations since his Best New Artist nod as he continues to develop an impressive career. Heap may not have won here, but she became the first female to win the Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, GRAMMY in 2009 for Ellipse. Rae also missed the cut, but would win the next year in the Album Of The Year category as part of the ensemble cast assembled by Herbie Hancock for his River: The Joni Letters album.

Come back to GRAMMY.com tomorrow as we revisit the milestone 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Tune in to the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

Follow GRAMMY.com for our inside look at GRAMMY news, blogs, photos, videos, and of course nominees. Stay up to the minute with GRAMMY Live. Check out the GRAMMY legacy with GRAMMY Rewind. Keep track of this year's GRAMMY Week events, and explore this year's GRAMMY Fields. Or check out the collaborations at Re:Generation, presented by Hyundai Veloster. And join the conversation at Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Email Newsletter