19th Annual GRAMMY Awards (1976)

After announcing that the 19th Annual GRAMMY Awards marked his seventh time as host of the show, Andy Williams told the audience at the Hollywood Palladium, “I’m very proud of this Academy. There aren’t many institutions that would go to so much time and care just to throw an annual get-together for Stevie Wonder.” Williams then explained that Wonder would not be in the audience tonight, but would instead appear by satellite from Lagos, Nigeria.

Indeed, this would be the most global GRAMMY show yet, as it was transmitted via satellite to Hong Kong and the Far East. “I can just picture a Chinese family sitting in front of their television set with their chop sticks in hand watching all this silver and all this glitter and singing a gospel song along with the Oak Ridge Boys,” Williams noted.

That Chinese family would have seen Best Gospel Performance winners the Oak Ridge Boys sing the nominations in the category of Best Inspirational Performance—a category presented on air for the first time and won by Gary S. Paxton. They would have also witnessed a wide range of notable performances from the likes of Natalie Cole (“Mr. Melody”), Sarah Vaughan (“Tenderly”), Chet Atkins and Les Paul (“Deed I Do” from their album Chester & Lester, which won the Best Country Instrumental Award), and Barry Manilow, who performed “I Write The Songs,” which had already won Song Of The Year earlier in the evening for songwriter Bruce Johnston. Arguably, Manilow also should have been presented a special GRAMMY for Biggest Bow Tie.

The Starland Vocal Band, who won Best New Artist over competition that included Boston, the Brothers Johnson, Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band and white funk band Wild Cherry, performed “Afternoon Delight.” This remains a relatively rare instance of a folky foursome paying a musical tribute to midday sexual interludes while backed by an orchestra.

One performance that was hard to see and barely heard because of a technical malfunction was Stevie Wonder’s performance of “Sir Duke” from his Songs In The Key Of Life album. After considerable buildup, the remote performance ended up illustrating the risk of going global. Indeed, Neil Armstrong’s performance from the moon eight years earlier was transmitted more clearly. Nevertheless, it was another good GRAMMY night for Wonder who won Album Of The Year; Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male; Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male; and Best Producer Of The Year.

Other big winners for artistic achievement in America’s bicentennial year included George Benson who won three GRAMMYs, including Record Of The Year for his breakthrough hit “This Masquerade” and Best Pop Instrumental Performance for his Breezin’ album. Benson also got to team up with a characteristically witty Richard Pryor to present the GRAMMY for Best Jazz Vocal Performance to no less a legend than Ella Fitzgerald for Fitzgerald And Pass…Again.

Other notable presenters included Gladys Knight And The Pips who offered a salute to one of The Academy’s chapter cities—Atlanta—that even included a little “Midnight Train To Georgia.” Ringo Starr and Paul Williams had a great deal of fun presenting the GRAMMY for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, to Linda Ronstadt for Hasten Down The Wind. The pair tap danced their way to the podium where Starr said of the diminutive Williams, “Well, they promised me Paul Newman and look what I got.” And best of all was Bette Midler who helped turn the mood around after Wonder’s performance from a distance didn’t pan out. After wrapping part of what looked to be the 100-foot train of her dress around her head and declaring herself “The Ghost of GRAMMYs Past,” the Divine Miss M noted, “It’s always nice to visit L.A.—the home of absolutely nothing. Except, of course, the music business—a business in which you are only as good as your last two minutes and 42 seconds.”

Record Of The Year
This Masquerade

George Benson, artist. Tommy LiPuma, producer.

Album Of The Year
Stevie Wonder, GRAMMY winner
Songs In The Key Of Life

Stevie Wonder*, artist. Stevie Wonder*, producer.

Song Of The Year
I Write The Songs

Bruce Johnston, songwriter.

Best New Artist Of The Year
Starland Vocal Band
Best Instrumental Arrangement
Chick Corea, GRAMMY winner
Leprechaun's Dream

Chick Corea, arranger.

Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)
If You Leave Me Now

James William Guercio & Jimmie Haskell, arrangers.

Best Arrangement For Voices (Duo, Group Or Chorus)
Afternoon Delight

Starland Vocal Band, arranger.

Best Engineered Recording - Non-Classical
Al Schmitt, GRAMMY winner

Al Schmitt, engineer.

Best Album Package
Chicago X

John Berg, art director.

Best Album Notes
The Changing Face Of Harlem - The Savoy Sessions

Dan Morgenstern, album notes writer.

Best Producer Of The Year
Stevie Wonder, GRAMMY winner
Stevie Wonder
Best Jazz Vocal Performance
Ella Fitzgerald, GRAMMY winner
Fitzgerald And Pass...Again

Ella Fitzgerald, artist.

Best Jazz Performance By A Soloist (Instrumental)
Basie And Zoot

Count Basie, soloist.

Best Jazz Performance By A Group
Chick Corea, GRAMMY winner
The Leprechaun

Chick Corea, artist.

Best Jazz Performance By A Big Band
Duke Ellington, GRAMMY winner
The Ellington Suites

Duke Ellington, artist.

Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female
Hasten Down The Wind

Linda Ronstadt, artist.

Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male
Stevie Wonder, GRAMMY winner
Songs In The Key Of Life

Stevie Wonder, artist.

Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus
If You Leave Me Now

Chicago (Peter Cetera, Bill Champlin, Robert Lamm, Lee Loghnane, James Pankow, Walter Parazaider, Danny Seraphine), artist.

Best Pop Instrumental Performance

George Benson, artist.

Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female
Sophisticated Lady (She's A Different Lady)

Natalie Cole, artist.

Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male
Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus
You Don't Have To Be A Star (To Be In My Show)

Billy Davis Jr. & Marilyn McCoo, artists.

Best R&B Instrumental Performance
Theme From Good King Bad

George Benson, artist.

Best Rhythm & Blues Song

Boz Scaggs & David Paich, songwriters.

Best Soul Gospel Performance
How I Got Over

Mahalia Jackson, artist.

Best Country Vocal Performance, Female
Emmylou Harris, GRAMMY winner
Elite Hotel

Emmylou Harris, artist.

Best Country Vocal Performance, Male
(I'm A) Stand By My Woman Man

Ronnie Milsap, artist.

Best Country Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group
The End Is Not In Sight (The Cowboy Tune)

Amazing Rhythm Aces (Barry Burton, Jeff Davis, Billy Earheart, James Hooker, Butch McDade, Russell Smith), artist.

Best Country Instrumental Performance
Chester And Lester

Chet Atkins & Les Paul, artists.

Best Country Song
Broken Lady

Larry Gatlin, songwriter.

Best Inspirational Performance
The Astonishing, Outrageous, Amazing, Incredible, Unbelievable, Different World of Gary S. Paxton

Gary S. Paxton, artist.

Best Gospel Performance (Other Than Soul Gospel)
Where The Soul Never Dies

Oak Ridge Boys, artist.

Best Ethnic Or Traditional Recording
Mark Twang

John Hartford, artist.

Best Latin Recording
Unfinished Masterpiece

Eddie Palmieri, artist.

Best Recording For Children
Prokofiev: Peter And The Wolf/Saint-Saens: Carnival Of The Animals

Hermione Gingold & Karl Bohm, artists.

Best Comedy Recording
Bicentennial Nigger

Richard Pryor, artist.

Best Spoken Word Recording
Great American Documents

Helen Hayes, Henry Fonda, James Earl Jones & Orson Welles, narrators.

Best Instrumental Composition

Chuck Mangione, composer.

Album Of Best Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or Television Special
Car Wash

Norman Whitfield, composer.

Best Cast Show Album
Bubbling Brown Sugar

Hugo Peretti & Luigi Creatore, producers.

Classical Album Of The Year
Beethoven: The Five Piano Concertos

Artur Rubinstein, artist. Daniel Barenboim, conductor. Max Wilcox, producer.

Best Classical Orchestral Performance
Georg Solti, GRAMMY winner
Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra

Georg Solti, artist. Raymond Minshull, producer.

Best Opera Recording
Gershwin: Porgy And Bess

Lorin Maazel, artist. Michael Woolcock, producer.

Best Choral Performance (Other Than Opera)
André Previn, GRAMMY winner
Rachmaninoff: The Bells

André Previn, artist. Arthur Oldham, choir director.

Best Chamber Music Performance
The Art Of Courtly Love

David Munrow, artist.

Best Classical Performance, Instrumental Soloist Or Soloists (With Orchestra)
Beethoven: The Five Piano Concertos

Artur Rubinstein, artist.

Best Classical Performance, Instrumental Soloist Or Soloists (Without Orchestra)
Vladimir Horowitz, GRAMMY winner
Horowitz Concerts 1975/76
Best Classical Vocal Soloist Performance
Herbert: Music Of Victor Herbert

Beverly Sills, artist.

Best Engineered Recording, Classical
Gershwin: Rhapsody In Blue

Edward (Bud) T. Graham, Milton Cherin & Ray Moore, engineers.