Winner's Circle: Booker T. Jones

  • Booker T. Jones
    Photo: Alexandra Wyman/

This last GRAMMY win means so much to me because I believe The Road From Memphis is one of the best albums I have ever been involved with. I am so proud of this music. Though I was thrilled to get the nomination, I would have thought no less of the work if it didn't win. But winning the highest award in music verifies and validates my opinion at the uppermost level.

To describe the way it feels to win is to mostly reflect on the minutes and moments leading up to the announcement, and the anticipation that builds inside you. I knew I would love to win, but it wasn't until the final minutes sitting in the auditorium listening to the winners being announced that I increasingly realized that I really did want to win … badly.

And so in the final moments before my category was announced, there was a last-minute addition of another category, which was not listed on the program. And then, just as quickly as I had lost my place, I heard my name, and my wife scream. Having won before, and having been completely undone by it, you would have thought I would be cool this time. But, suddenly, I needed to turn my focus toward getting to the stage quickly and up the steps without falling. I have no idea how much time went by. I kissed my wife and turned, then started to jog as the music played. Onstage, Jimmy Jam handed me the GRAMMY and said, "Knock 'em dead." That rascal, he could have said anything. He saw I was truly stunned.

To protect myself, I had written down 11 names of people to thank on a 3-by-5 index card and remembered to stash it in my tuxedo coat pocket, but in my frozen state I couldn't seem to retrieve it at the mic. Like when you need to run from a monster in a nightmare but your legs won't move, my fingers couldn't seem to make it all the way inside my tuxedo coat.

But I was able to mutter heartfelt thanks to my wife, my producer and a few others, then the music was playing, and I was behind the curtain, holding a GRAMMY. People were smiling, standing off, looking at me, and I couldn't help but think, "What just happened?"

(Booker T. Jones earned the Best Pop Instrumental Album award for The Road From Memphis, his third career GRAMMY win. Jones previously won in this category in 2009 for Potato Hole.)

Email Newsletter