1981 Grammy Winners

24th Annual GRAMMY Awards (1981)

The opening list of talent for the 24th Annual GRAMMY Awards spoke to the musical and generational diversity of the show that would soon follow. After all, what other internationally televised event might conceivably and credibly bring together Carol Channing and Adam Ant? Ted Nugent and Ben Vereen? Rick James and Harry James? Only the GRAMMYs — and only this one.

The winners too were decidedly diverse and multigenerational. Even though she was not present, this was a big night for the legendary Lena Horne — the recording from her big Broadway comeback Lena Horne The Lady And Her Music, Live On Broadway won Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, as well as Best Cast Show Album for its producer, Quincy Jones.

The 24th GRAMMY show would also be an exceptional evening for Jones who chose to make Horne’s album the very first release on his new Qwest Records label. To top it off, Jones himself also won Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for his album The Dude, as well as two separate GRAMMYs for arranging on that album — one with Johnny Mandel (for “Velas”) and the other with Jerry Hey (for “Ai No Corrida”). Meanwhile, Jones’ protégé James Ingram — who gave the first performance of the night, singing “Just Once” with Jones conducting — took home the GRAMMY for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male, for “One Hundred Ways,” which he sang on The Dude. Yet the highlight of the night for Jones was likely the experience of finally winning his first — but not last — GRAMMY as Producer Of The Year. After a lengthy standing ovation, Jones explained with a big smile on his face, “Man, when I started waiting for this award I had long flowing hair and a thin waistline like James Ingram.”

A new wind was blowing in the music industry: MTV launched the previous year (Aug. 1, 1981), and its influence could be seen on a number of winners who had enjoyed big videos along with big radio hits: “Bette Davis Eyes” won Record Of The Year for its singer Kim Carnes and producer Val Garay, and Song Of The Year for its writers Jackie DeShannon and Donna Weiss; Rick Springfield won the GRAMMY for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male, for “Jessie’s Girl,” triumphing over Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart, Rick James and Gary U.S. Bonds; and the videogenic Sheena Easton was named the year’s Best New Artist. In its debut year, the category of Video Of The Year went to Michael Nesmith In Elephant Parts, a fitting award for the former star of “The Monkees.”

One of the night’s breakout performances, however, came from a decidedly pre-MTV performer. As part of an uplifting gospel-themed segment also featuring the Reverend Al Green and the Archers, Joe Cocker took the stage to sing a lived-in version of “I’m So Glad I’m Standing Here Today” with the Crusaders — a standout track from that group’s Standing Tall album. Cocker and the Crusaders did not win that award, but Cocker’s heartfelt performance earned a tremendous ovation and later helped inspire director Taylor Hackford to have Cocker sing what would be his comeback smash — “Up Where We Belong” with Jennifer Warnes for the soundtrack of An Officer And A Gentleman.

Another notable, and in this case suitably super freaky, performance came from Rick James, who show host John Denver introduced thusly: “First there was rock. Then there was hard rock. Then there was punk rock, and now thanks mainly to our next performer, there’s punk funk. You have to watch how you say that on television.” The punk funk of James’ “Give It To Me Baby” tore up the stage, with James himself taking turns at the drums and a nearly collapsing keyboard.

Yet there was little doubt that the most moving moment of the night came when the GRAMMY for Album Of The Year was awarded to John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy album. “I really don’t know what to say,” said Ono, who was joined onstage by her and Lennon’s young son Sean (as well as producer Jack Douglas). “I think John is here with us today. Both John and I were always very proud and happy that we were part of the human race. He made good music for the earth and for the universe.” Indeed he did.

Record Of The Year
 
winner
Bette Davis Eyes

Val Garay, producer

Album Of The Year
 
winner
John Lennon
Double Fantasy

Jack Douglas, John Lennon & Yoko Ono, producers

Song Of The Year
 
winner
Bette Davis Eyes

Jackie DeShannon & Donna Weiss, songwriters (Kim Carnes)

Best New Artist
 
winner
Sheena Easton
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female
 
winner
Lena Horne - The Lady And Her Music, Live On Broadway
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male
 
winner
Breakin' Away
Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal
 
winner
Boy From New York City
Best Pop Instrumental Performance
 
winner
The Theme From Hill Street Blues
Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female
 
winner
Fire And Ice
Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male
 
Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal
 
winner
Don't Stand So Close To Me

The Police

Best Rock Instrumental Performance
 
winner
Behind My Camel

The Police

Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female
 
winner
GRAMMYs
Hold On I'm Comin'
Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male
 
winner
One Hundred Ways
Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal
 
Best R&B Instrumental Performance
 
winner
All I Need Is You
Best Rhythm & Blues Song
 
winner
Just The Two Of Us

Ralph MacDonald, William Salter & Bill Withers, songwriters (Grover Washington, Jr., & Bill Withers)

Best Jazz Fusion Performance, Vocal Or Instrumental
 
winner
Winelight

Grover Washington, Jr.

Best Country Vocal Performance, Female
 
Best Country Vocal Performance, Male
 
winner
(There's) No Gettin' Over Me
Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal
 
Best Country Instrumental Performance
 
winner
Country After All These Years
Best Country Song
 
winner
Dolly Parton
9 To 5

Dolly Parton, songwriter (Dolly Parton)

Best Gospel Performance Contemporary Or Inspirational
 
winner
Priority
Best Gospel Performance, Traditional
 
winner
The Masters V
Best Soul Gospel Performance, Contemporary
 
winner
Don't Give Up
Best Soul Gospel Performance, Traditional
 
winner
The Lord Will Make A Way
Best Inspirational Performance
 
winner
Amazing Grace
Best Ethnic Or Traditional Recording
 
winner
B.B. King
There Must Be A Better World Somewhere
Best Latin Recording
 
winner
Guajira Pa La Jeva
Best Recording For Children
 
winner
Sesame Country

(The Muppets, Glen Campbell, Crystal Gayle, Loretta Lynn, Tanya Tucker)

Best Comedy Recording
 
winner
Rev. Du Rite
Best Spoken Word, Documentary Or Drama Recording
 
winner
Donovan's Brain
Best Instrumental Composition
 
winner
The Theme From Hill Street Blues

Mike Post, composer (Mike Post)

Best Album Of Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or A Television Special
 
winner
John Williams
Raiders Of The Lost Ark

John Williams, composer (John Williams)

Best Cast Show Album
 
winner
Quincy Jones
Lena Horne - The Lady And Her Music, Live On Broadway

Quincy Jones, producer (Lena Horne)

Video Of The Year
 
winner
Michael Nesmith In Elephant Parts
Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Female
 
winner
Ella Fitzgerald
Digital III At Montreaux
Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Male
 
winner
Blue Rondo A La Turk
Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo Or Group
 
winner
Until I Met You (Corner Pocket)
Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist
 
winner
Bye Bye Blackbird

John Coltrane, soloist

Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Group
 
winner
Chick Corea
Chick Corea & Gary Burton In Concert - Zurich, October 28, 1979
Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Big Band
 
winner
Walk On The Water
Best Arrangement On An Instrumental Recording
 
winner
Quincy Jones
Velas

Quincy Jones & Johnny Mandel, arrangers (Quincy Jones)

Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s)
 
winner
Quincy Jones
Ai No Corrida

Jerry Hey & Quincy Jones, arrangers (Quincy Jones)

Best Vocal Arrangement For Two Or More Voices
 
winner
A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square

Gene Puerling, arranger (The Manhattan Transfer)

Best Album Package
 
winner
Tattoo You

Peter Corriston, art director (The Rolling Stones)

Best Album Notes
 
winner
Erroll Garner - Master Of The Keyboard

Dan Morgenstern, album notes writer (Erroll Garner)

Best Historical Album
 
winner
Hoagy Carmichael - From Stardust To Ole Buttermilk Sky

(Hoagy Carmichael)

Best Engineered Recording - Non-Classical
 
Producer Of The Year
 
winner
Quincy Jones
Best Classical Album
 
winner
Georg Solti
Mahler: Symphony No. 2 In C Minor

Georg Solti, artist; James Mallinson, producer

Best Classical Orchestral Recording
 
winner
Georg Solti
Mahler: Symphony No. 2 In C Minor

Georg Solti, conductor (Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

Best Opera Recording
 
winner
Janácek: From The House Of The Dead

Jiri Zahradnicek, Ivo Zidek & Vaclav Zitek; Charles Mackerras, conductor; James Mallinson, producer (Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra)

Best Choral Performance (Other Than Opera)
 
winner
Haydn: The Creation

Neville Marriner, conductor (Chorus of St. Martin-In-The-Fields; Academy Of St. Martin-In-The-Fields)

Best Chamber Music Performance
 
winner
Tchaikovsky: Piano Trio In A Minor
Best Classical Performance - Instrumental Soloist Or Soloists (With Orchestra)
 
winner
Isaac Stern 60th Anniversary Celebration

Itzhak Perlman, Isaac Stern & Pinchas Zukerman, artists (New York Philharmonic)

Best Classical Performance - Instrumental Soloist Or Soloists (Without Orchestra)
 
winner
Vladimir Horowitz
The Horowitz Concerts 1979/80
Best Classical Vocal Soloist Performance
 
winner
Live From Lincoln Center - Sutherland/Horne/Pavarotti

(Richard Bonynge; New York City Opera Orchestra)

Best Engineered Recording, Classical
 
winner
Isaac Stern 60th Anniversary Celebration

Edward (Bud) T. Graham, Andrew Kazdin & Ray Moore, engineers (Zubin Mehta, conductor; Isaac Stern, violin; Pinchas Zukerman, violin; Itzhak Perlman, violin)

Classical Producer Of The Year
 
winner
James Mallinson