5th Dimension with Jimmy Webb (center)
Photo: William R. Eastabrook/M. Photographer
5th Dimension To Elvis Presley: 7 Things To Know About The 10th GRAMMY Awards
Since the inaugural GRAMMY celebration, the GRAMMY Awards made a lot of progress in its first decade.
From televised recognition to high-flying GRAMMY feats, firsts, an expanded number of categories, and four separate celebration dinners, the 10th GRAMMY Awards delivered the prestige the music industry and fans alike had come to appreciate about the burgeoning annual ceremony. As future telecast host Andy Williams summed up during the televised portion of the show, "[The GRAMMY] is the Oscar, the Emmy [and] the Tony of the recording industry."
Let's take a look back at how the GRAMMY Awards faired for their 10th birthday deep in the heart of the 1960s, and learn which of your favorite artists came out on top.
1. Four Cities Of Celebration And A TV Spot
While the 1st GRAMMY Awards were bicoastal, by the 10th GRAMMYs the Recording Academy's wings spread with awards dinners held in Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, Tenn., and New York. Comedian Stan Freberg teed up the Los Angeles celebration as emcee. The winners were announced on Feb. 29, 1968.
The GRAMMYs had a TV spot by now, too. "The Best On Record: The GRAMMY Awards Show" aired on NBC later that year on May 8, 1968. The broadcast, though not the full-fledged spectacle it became as a live telecast in 1973, featured performances such as a past Song Of The Year medley led by Glen Campbell, Bobbie Gentry, Chet Atkins, and Jack Jones.
2. 5th Dimension Fly "Up, Up And Away"
With their smooth harmonies, Los Angeles-based "Champagne Soul" group 5th Dimension emerged as one of the big winners. The quintet soared with a total of four wins for the Jimmy L. Webb-penned smash hit "Up, Up And Away." 5th Dimension took home Record Of The Year, Best Performance By A Vocal Group, Best Contemporary Single, and Best Contemporary Group Performance (Vocal Or Instrumental). "Up, Up And Away" also earned Song Of The Year honors for songwriter Webb.
3. Queen of Soul Gets Her "Respect"
Aretha Franklin earned her "Respect" at the 10th GRAMMY Awards. She took home her first two career GRAMMYs for her soulful call for a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T — Best Rhythm & Blues Recording and Best Rhythm & Blues Solo Vocal Performance, Female. Nowadays, the Queen of Soul is among the top GRAMMY winners of all time with 18 career awards. But it all started 50 years ago at the 10th GRAMMYs.
4. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Prevails
By the time the 10th GRAMMYs rolled around, the Beatles had already made their mark, earning Best New Artist honors at the 7th GRAMMY Awards three years earlier. But with their magnum opus Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the British quartet transitioned to music royalty. They nabbed five GRAMMY nominations for 1967, and ultimately took home two for the coveted Album Of The Year prize and Best Contemporary Album.
Sgt. Pepper's … proved to be a hit in other categories as well. The album's pioneering sonics earned engineer Geoff Emerick Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical honors. Art directors Peter Blake and Jann Haworth took home Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts for the album's seminal cover art.
5. Elvis, The King Of … Gospel
Though Elvis Presley earned nine career GRAMMY nominations prior to the 10th GRAMMY Awards for classics such as "A Big Hunk O' Love," "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" and the soundtrack to Blue Hawaii, the King of Rock and Roll actually earned his first career GRAMMY this year — for Best Sacred Performance.
Presley took home the GRAMMY for his version of "How Great Thou Art," from the album of the same name. How Great Thou Art was Presley's second gospel album, following His Hand In Mine, and it was in this realm the King would find his GRAMMY success. Presley went on to win two additional career GRAMMYs, both for Best Inspirational Performance.
6. Country's Biggest Night
Campbell tied the evening for most awards in one night with 5th Dimension, taking home four GRAMMYs: Best Vocal Performance, Male and Best Contemporary Male Solo Vocal Performance for "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" and Best Country & Western Recording and Best Country & Western Solo Vocal Performance, Male for "Gentle On My Mind."
Gentry nabbed three awards. She earned the Best New Artist trophy as one of the first female country artists to write and record her own material. The Mississippian also took home Best Vocal Performance, Female and Best Contemporary Female Solo Vocal Performance for her career-defining hit "Ode To Billie Joe."
7. Winners Were Recognized In 48 Categories
The number of awards given at the annual GRAMMYs had been creeping up since the first winners were crowned. By its 10th anniversary, categories had gone from 28 at the 1st GRAMMYs to 39 at the 5th GRAMMY Awards and then to an even 48 by the 10th GRAMMY Awards.
In addition to pop, jazz and classical, other genres, including an expanded array of country and R&B awards, were now getting their due. Also, several craft categories that recognized engineers, arrangers and art directors came onto the scene as a harbinger of what is now the 84 GRAMMY categories across all genres and craft categories.