For the next two years, the GRAMMY revolution would not be televised.
Both the 3rd and 4th Annual GRAMMY Awards presentations were made only at private dinner ceremonies, with no television component. As difficult as it may be to imagine today, the still young Recording Academy was making its case to the big three networks that a music awards show belonged on their crowded schedules.
Meanwhile, awards were handed out at dinners in Recording Academy Chapter cities Los Angeles (the Crystal Ballroom of the Beverly Hills Hotel with Mort Sahl in a return engagement as emcee) and New York (in the main ballroom at the Hotel Astor at Times Square) with entertainment in Los Angeles provided by jazz acts the Gene Rains Combo, Pete Jolly Trio and the Skeets Herfurt Group.
In what could be viewed as a Genius move, Ray Charles emerged the big winner, earning his first ever GRAMMYs based on his groundbreaking and now classic album The Genius of Ray Charles. Brother Ray’s album won Best Vocal Performance Album, Male, while “Georgia on My Mind” won Best Vocal Performance Single Record or Track, Male, and Best Performance by a Pop Single Artist. Charles’ fourth award was for “Let the Good Times Roll” for Best Rhythm & Blues Performance.
The good times also rolled on GRAMMY night for comedian Bob Newhart. The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart became the first comedy set to win Album of the Year. The future sitcom icon also took Best New Artist of 1960 and Best Comedy Performance, Spoken Word, for The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back! Percy Faith’s instrumental gem “Theme from a Summer Place,” meanwhile, took Record of the Year.
The great Ella Fitzgerald—a GRAMMY winner in each of the first two GRAMMY presentations—won a pair of awards for her album Mack the Knife—Ella in Berlin and her title track. Henry Mancini also added to his growing collection with three more GRAMMYs, including two for work on the soundtrack of Mr. Lucky, a Blake Edwards produced television series of the time.
Other awards included opera star Leontyne Price’s first GRAMMY for Best Classical Performance—Vocal Soloist (A Program of Song—Leontyne Price Recital), Marty Robbins for Best Country & Western Performance (“El Paso”), Harry Belafonte’s first GRAMMY for Best Performance—Folk (Swing Dat Hammer, a record built around African-American chain gang chants), and Gil Evans and Miles Davis for Sketches of Spain in a category with a name that future GRAMMY sponsor Timex would love: Best Jazz Composition of More Than Five Minutes Duration.
In 1960 The Recording Academy also formally adopted its official credo, penned by early Academy booster and all-around satirist Stan Freberg. His credo was quite serious about The Academy’s goals, in a Preamble to the Constitution kind of way:
We, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, being dedicated to the advancement of the phonograph record, do pledge ourselves as follows:
We shall judge a record on the basis of sheer artistry, and artistry alone—artistry in writing, performance, musicianship and engineering.
A record shall, in the opinion of The Academy, either attain the highest degree of excellence possible in the category entered, or it shall not receive an Academy Award. Sales and mass popularity are the yardsticks of the record business. They are not the yardsticks of this Academy.
We are concerned here with the phonograph record as an art form. If the record industry is to grow, not decline in stature, if it is to foster a greater striving for excellence in its own field, if it is to discourage mediocrity and encourage greatness, we, as its spokesmen, can accept no other Credo.
Clearly, not Freberg’s funniest work by a long shot, but words to live by nonetheless.