1961 Winners

4th Annual GRAMMY Awards (1961)

During the eligibility year for the 4th Annual GRAMMY Awards, the Vietnam War officially began, Dwight Eisenhower warned of the growing military industrial complex, John F. Kennedy was sworn in as president, a chimp named Ham was launched into space, the U.S. military invaded Cuba’s Bay of Pigs, Roger Maris hit 61 homeruns, and a young singer/songwriter born Robert Zimmerman moved to New York to become Bob Dylan.

Yet in pure GRAMMY terms, the most significant event of the year may have been Judy Garland’s legendary comeback at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Judy at Carnegie Hall, the resulting live album, earned GRAMMY awards for Album of the Year (Other Than Classical); Best Solo Vocal Performance, Female; Best Engineering Contribution—Popular Recording for engineer Robert Arnold; and Best Album Cover (Other Than Classical) for art director Jim Silke.

The 4th Annual GRAMMY Awards also marked the biggest GRAMMY year ever for a man who was already becoming a GRAMMY institution in his own right—Henry Mancini. Mancini’s success at these festivities was sparked primarily by the huge success of his music for the Audrey Hepburn smash Breakfast at Tiffany’s. “Moon River” (which also won the best song Oscar) won the GRAMMY for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Arrangement while the title track won Best Performance by an Orchestra—For Other Than Dancing and the soundtrack was victorious for Best Sound Track Album or Recording of Score from Motion Picture or Television. Ever the gentlemen, Mancini did not refuse the awards because of their overly wordy titles.

This GRAMMY year also saw the emergence of comedy team Mike Nichols and Elaine May, who won the Best Comedy Performance award (for An Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May). Nichols would later go on to even further prominence as a film director starting with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966) and The Graduate (1967).

Choral conductor Robert Shaw won the first of what would be 16 GRAMMY Awards over the years, earning Best Classical Performance—Choral (Other Than Opera) for Bach: B Minor Mass.

Also, by 1961, The Academy was beginning to act on a mission that was geared to make the organization not just the presenters of the GRAMMY Awards, but also one that sought to foster growth and dialog for its music making members. A November 1961 Academy-sponsored panel discussion now seems like a quaint time capsule and found panelists debating the then pressing issue: “Is Stereo Necessary?” The panel included jazz greats Gerry Mulligan and Woody Herman as well as RCA chief engineer Bill Miltenberg, and resulted in exchanges like the following (just substitute CD vs. MP3 to bring the dialog into the current day):

Miltenberg: “I think of monaural recording…like having a shower with the water coming from just one point. I like to take a shower with the water coming from all directions.”

Mulligan: “Yeah, but you don’t want the hot water coming from one point and all the cold coming from another.”

The GRAMMYs would not actually be broadcast in stereo for many years to come—though it’s now available in 5.1 surround sound—yet the show itself was now growing bigger and, yes, hotter with every year.

Record Of The Year
 
Album Of The Year (Other Than Classical)
 
winner
Judy At Carnegie Hall
Album Of The Year - Classical
 
winner
Stravinsky Conducts 1960: Le Sacre Du Printemps; Petrouchka
Song Of The Year
 
winner
Henry Mancini
Moon River

Henry Mancini & Johnny Mercer, songwriters (Henry Mancini)

Best Instrumental Theme Or Instrumental Version Of Song
 
winner
African Waltz

Galt MacDermott, composer (Cannonball Adderly)

Best Solo Vocal Performance, Female
 
winner
Judy At Carnegie Hall
Best Solo Vocal Performance, Male
 
winner
Lollipops And Roses
Best Jazz Performance - Soloist Or Small Group (Instrumental)
 
winner
André Previn
Andre Previn Plays Harold Arlen
Best Jazz Performance - Large Group (Instrumental)
 
winner
West Side Story
Best Original Jazz Composition
 
winner
African Waltz

Galt MacDermott, composer (Cannonball Adderly)

Best Performance By An Orchestra - For Dancing
 
winner
Up A Lazy River
Best Performance By An Orchestra - For Other Than Dancing
 
winner
Henry Mancini
Breakfast At Tiffany's
Best Arrangement
 
winner
Henry Mancini
Moon River

Henry Mancini, arranger (Henry Mancini)

Best Performance By A Vocal Group
 
Best Performance By A Chorus
 
winner
Great Band With Great Voices

Johnny Mann Singers

Best Sound Track Album Or Recording Of Score From Motion Picture Or Television
 
winner
Henry Mancini
Breakfast At Tiffany's

Henry Mancini, composer (Henry Mancini)

Best Sound Track Album Or Recording Of Original Cast From Motion Picture Or Television
 
winner
West Side Story

Original Cast

Irwin Kostal, John Green, Saul Chaplin & Sid Ramin, music directors.

Best Original Cast Show Album
 
winner
How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

Frank Loesser, composer (Robert Morse, Rudy Vallee, Charles Nelson Reilly, Bonnie Scott, Claudette Southerland, Sammy Smith)

Best Comedy Performance
 
winner
An Evening With Mike Nichols And Elaine May
Best Documentary Or Spoken Word Recording (Other Than Comedy)
 
Best Engineering Contribution - Popular Recording
 
winner
Judy At Carnegie Hall

Robert Arnold, engineer (Judy Garland)

Best Engineering Contribution - Novelty
 
winner
Stan Freberg Presents The United States Of America

John Kraus, engineer (Stan Freberg)

Best Album Cover (Other Than Classical)
 
winner
Judy At Carnegie Hall

Jim Silke, art director (Judy Garland)

Best Album Cover - Classical
 
winner
Puccini: Madame Butterfly

Marvin Schwartz, art director (Gabriele Santini, conductor)

Best Recording For Children
 
winner
Prokofiev: Peter And The Wolf
Best Rock & Roll Recording
 
winner
Let's Twist Again
Best Country & Western Recording
 
winner
Big Bad John
Best Rhythm & Blues Recording
 
winner
Ray Charles
Hit The Road Jack
Best Folk Recording
 
winner
Belafonte Folk Singers At Home And Abroad
Best Gospel Or Other Religious Recording
 
winner
Everytime I Feel The Spirit
Best New Artist Of 1961
 
winner
Peter Nero
Best Classical Performance - Orchestra
 
winner
Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloe

(Boston Symphony Orchestra)

Best Classical Performance - Chamber Music
 
winner
Beethoven: Serenade, Op. 8/Kodaly: Duo For Violin And Cello, Op. 7
Best Classical Performance - Instrumental Soloist (With Orchestra)
 
winner
Bartók: Violin Concerto No. 1

Isaac Stern, artist (Philadelphia Orchestra)

Best Classical Performance - Instrumental Soloist Or Duo (Without Orchestra)
 
winner
Reverie For Spanish Guitar
Best Opera Recording
 
winner
Puccini: Madame Butterfly

Gabriele Santini (Rome Opera Orchestra)

Best Classical Performance - Choral (Other Than Opera)
 
winner
Bach: B Minor Mass

(Robert Shaw Chorale; Robert Shaw Orchestra)

Best Classical Performance - Vocal Soloist (With Or Without Orchestra)
 
winner
The Art Of The Prima Donna

(Royal Opera House Orchestra - Covent Garden)

Best Contemporary Classical Composition
 
winner
Almeida: Discantus

Laurindo Almeida, composer

winner
Stravinsky: Movements For Piano And Orchestra

Igor Stravinsky, composer

Best Engineering Contribution - Classical Recording
 
winner
Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloe

Lewis W. Layton, engineer (Charles Munch, conductor)