1976 Grammy Winners

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
George Benson
This Masquerade

Tommy LiPuma, producer

Album Of The Year
Stevie Wonder
Songs In The Key Of Life

Stevie Wonder, producer

Song Of The Year
I Write The Songs

Bruce Johnston, songwriter (Barry Manilow)

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

Chick Corea, arranger (Chick Corea)

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

James William Guercio & Jimmie Haskell, arrangers (Chicago)

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

Starland Vocal Band, arrangers (Starland Vocal Band)

Best Engineered Recording - Non-Classical
Al Schmitt

Al Schmitt, engineer (George Benson)

Best Album Package
Chicago X

John Berg, art director (Chicago)

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

Dan Morgenstern, album notes writer (Various Artists)

Best Producer Of The Year
Stevie Wonder
Best Jazz Vocal Performance
Ella Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald And Pass...Again
Best Jazz Performance By A Soloist (Instrumental)
Count Basie
Basie And Zoot

Count Basie, soloist

Best Jazz Performance By A Group
Chick Corea
The Leprechaun
Best Jazz Performance By A Big Band
Duke Ellington
The Ellington Suites
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female
Linda Ronstadt
Hasten Down The Wind
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male
Stevie Wonder
Songs In The Key Of Life
Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus
If You Leave Me Now
Best Pop Instrumental Performance
Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female
Natalie Cole
Sophisticated Lady (She's A Different Lady)
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)

Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr.

Best R&B Instrumental Performance
George Benson
Theme From Good King Bad
Best Rhythm & Blues Song
Boz Scaggs

David Paich & Boz Scaggs, songwriters (Boz Scaggs)

Best Soul Gospel Performance
How I Got Over
Best Country Vocal Performance, Female
Best Country Vocal Performance, Male
Ronnie Milsap
(I'm A) Stand By My Woman Man
Best Country Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group
The End Is Not In Sight (The Cowboy Tune)
Best Country Instrumental Performance
Chet Atkins, Les Paul
Chester And Lester
Best Country Song
Broken Lady

Larry Gatlin, songwriter (Larry Gatlin)

Best Inspirational Performance
Gary S. Paxton
The Astonishing, Outrageous, Amazing, Incredible, Unbelievable, Different World of Gary S. Paxton
Best Gospel Performance (Other Than Soul Gospel)
Where The Soul Never Dies
Best Ethnic Or Traditional Recording
Best Latin Recording
Unfinished Masterpiece
Best Recording For Children
Prokofiev: Peter And The Wolf/Saint-Saens: Carnival Of The Animals
Best Comedy Recording
Richard Pryor
Bicentennial Nigger
Best Spoken Word Recording
Best Instrumental Composition

Chuck Mangione, composer (Chuck Mangione)

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

Norman Whitfield, composer (Various Artists)

Best Cast Show Album
Bubbling Brown Sugar

Luigi Creatore & Hugo Peretti, producers (Original Broadway Cast)

Classical Album Of The Year
Daniel Barenboim
Beethoven: The Five Piano Concertos

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

Best Classical Orchestral Performance
Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra

(Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

Best Opera Recording
Lorin Maazel
Gershwin: Porgy And Bess

Lorin Maazel; Michael Woolcock, producer (Cleveland Orchestra)

Best Choral Performance (Other Than Opera)
Rachmaninoff: The Bells

(London Symphony Chorus; London Symphony Orchestra)

Best Chamber Music Performance
David Munrow
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 (London Philharmonic Orchestra)

Best Classical Performance, Instrumental Soloist Or Soloists (Without Orchestra)
Vladimir Horowitz
Horowitz Concerts 1975/76
Best Classical Vocal Soloist Performance
Herbert: Music Of Victor Herbert
Best Engineered Recording, Classical
Gershwin: Rhapsody In Blue

Milton Cherin, Edward (Bud) T. Graham & Ray Moore, engineers (George Gershwin 1925 Piano Roll; Michael Tilson Thomas cond. Columbia Jazz Band)