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Bob Newhart To Lauryn Hill: 4 Best New Artist & Album Of The Year Winners
The GRAMMY for Best New Artist marks a special place in each winner's career. In many cases signaling the first major recognition by their peers as top-tier talents to watch, the honor also highlights each artist's potential to return to the GRAMMY stage in the years to come.
But on rare occasions an artist's first submission for GRAMMY Awards consideration showcases such strength that it earns them not only the Best New Artist GRAMMY, but also the coveted gramophone for Album Of The Year in the same year.
Bob Newhart, Christopher Cross, Lauryn Hill, and Norah Jones are the only four artists in GRAMMY history whose first touches with GRAMMY gold brought home simultaneous Best New Artist and Album Of The Year honors, and signaled the onset of profound careers in the recording industry.
Let's take a look back at the artists and the albums that made helped this quartet make GRAMMY history.
Bob Newhart, 3rd GRAMMY Awards (1960)
Beloved comedian and perennial straight-man actor Bob Newhart first made a name for himself through sketch-style audio recordings where he portrayed one-half of long business-oriented telephone conversations, implying absurd situations and outlandish statements on the part of the nonexistent other party to the call. After Warner Bros. Records signed Newhart off the strength of his homemade recordings, his 1960 debut album The Button-Down Mind Of Bob Newhart became the first comedy album to ever take the No. 1 slot on the Billboard 200. Six months later, Newhart released a follow-up record, The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back!, which reached No. 2 while his first album was still reigning at No. 1. The strength of the two albums earned Newhart a well-deserved Best New Artist at the 3rd GRAMMY Awards, the only comedian in GRAMMY history to win the title. Meanwhile, The Button-Down Mind Of Bob Newhart won Album Of The Year, while The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back! won Best Comedy Performance — Spoken Word.
Christopher Cross, 23rd GRAMMY Awards (1980)
Texas singer/songwriter Christopher Cross caught lightning in a bottle with his late-1979 self-titled debut album, which brought the then-28-year-old performer almost immediate success. With four radio singles — "Ride Like The Wind," "Sailing," "Never Be The Same," and "Say You'll Be Mine" — that claimed Top 20 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 ("Sailing" took No. 1), the album went on to become one of the most influential soft-rock LPs of the 1980s. Based on the strength of Cross' performance and songwriting, Christopher Cross helped him sweep the "big four" General Field categories at the 23rd GRAMMY Awards, taking home Best New Artist, Album of The Year, and Song and Record Of The Year ("Sailing") — to date, he is the only artist to achieve this feat. Additionally, "Sailing" won Cross the GRAMMY for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), bringing the total haul for his first GRAMMY Awards outing to five.
Lauryn Hill, 41st GRAMMY Awards (1998)
After previously earning two GRAMMYs as a member of the Fugees, multitalented performer Lauryn Hill made the transition to solo artist, releasing her debut LP, The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, to widespread critical acclaim in 1998. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and three singles — "Doo Wop (That Thing)," "Ex-Factor" and "Everything Is Everything" — charted Top 40 on the Hot 100, with "Doo Wop ..." claiming No. 1. The album's first-week sales also set a record for highest ever achieved by a female artist at the time. The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill earned Hill an astonishing 10 GRAMMY nominations at the 41st GRAMMY Awards, with Hill taking home Best New Artist, Album Of The Year, Best R&B Album, and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best Rhythm & Blues Song ("Doo Wop ..."), and setting a new record for most GRAMMY wins in a single night by a female artist up until that point. To date, The Miseducation ... remains Hill's only solo studio album release.
Norah Jones, 45th GRAMMY Awards (2002)
The daughter of GRAMMY-winning sitar player Ravi Shankar, Norah Jones grew up with a respected musical pedigree and an omnivorous musical appetite for the sounds of eminent jazz icons such as Bill Evans and Billie Holiday. With a sonic blend of acoustic pop, melodic blues and down-tempo jazz stylings, Jones' debut studio album Come Away With Me earned the then-23-year-old singer a total of five nominations at the 45th GRAMMY Awards — Best New Artist, Album Of The Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Record Of The Year ("Don't Know Why"). Jones won all five categories, tying the record for most GRAMMY wins in a single night by a female artist jointly held at the time by Hill and Alicia Keys. (This mark has since broken by Beyoncé and Adele, who have each taken home six GRAMMYs in a single night.)