Celebrate Black History Month with Beyoncé, Ray Charles
Black History Month is celebrated throughout the month of February in the United States in a collective effort to promote, preserve and research black history and culture year-round.
Of course, music is and has always been an indelible part of American culture. And whether it's jazz, blues, R&B or hip-hop, African-American musicians, singers and producers have made immense contributions to our nation's musical history.
To help celebrate Black History Month, we take a look back at memorable albums and snapshots from the careers of a select group of talented African-American artists who have not only won plenty of GRAMMYs, but have enriched our culture and inspired legions of listeners along the way.
Quincy Jones, Back On The Block (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 27
Memorable GRAMMY gold: "Q" holds the record for most GRAMMY nominations with 79 and in 1990 the esteemed producer picked up six GRAMMYs, including Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical and Album Of The Year for Back On The Block.
Stevie Wonder, Songs In The Key Of Life (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 25
Memorable GRAMMY gold: Fresh off winning five GRAMMY Awards in both 1973 and 1974, the legendary Wonder rolled another five in 1976, including wins for Best Producer Of The Year and Album Of The Year for Songs In The Key Of Life.
Aretha Franklin, I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 18
Memorable GRAMMY gold: The Queen of Soul commanded respect from her peers in picking up a pair of GRAMMYs in 1967 for Best Rhythm & Blues Recording and Best Rhythm & Blues Solo Vocal Performance, Female for, you guessed it, "Respect." The Queen was honored at the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards in 2011 with a special tribute performance by Yolanda Adams, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Martina McBride, and Florence Welch.
Kanye West, Graduation (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 18
Memorable GRAMMY gold: The enigmatic rapper graduated in 2007 with four GRAMMYs for Best Rap Song, Best Rap Album, Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group, and Best Rap Solo Performance. West won another four GRAMMYs this year, including Best Rap Song for "All Of The Lights" with Jeff Bhasker, Fergie, Malik Jones, and Warren Trotter, and Best Rap Album for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
Ray Charles, Genius Loves Company (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 17
Memorable GRAMMY gold: Following his passing in 2004, Charles' Genius Loves Company album spawned five posthumous statues at the 47th Annual GRAMMY Awards, including Album Of The Year and Record Of The Year. His album Genius + Soul = Jazz earned an induction into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2011.
Beyoncé, I Am…Sasha Fierce (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 16
Memorable GRAMMY gold: In 2010 the R&B/pop princess won a six-pack of GRAMMYs at the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards, including Song Of The Year for "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)." This year, aside from giving birth to her daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, Beyoncé garnered nominations for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "Party" with André 3000 and Best Long Form Music Video for I Am...World Tour.
B.B. King, Completely Well (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 15
Memorable GRAMMY gold: King was crowned with his first GRAMMY in 1970 for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male for "The Thrill Is Gone," which hit No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. King won GRAMMYs in the '80s, '90s and '00s, with his most recent win coming in 2008 for Best Traditional Blues Album for One Kind Favor.
Jay-Z, The Blueprint 3 (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 14
Memorable GRAMMY gold: Following the three GRAMMYs he won last year, Jay-Z picked up three GRAMMYs again at the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards last year for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group for "On To The Next One" with Swizz Beatz and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Best Rap Song for "Empire State Of Mind" with Alicia Keys. This year he took home the Best Rap Performance award for "Otis" with Kanye West.
Alicia Keys, Songs In A Minor (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 14
Memorable GRAMMY gold: Proving her worth right out of the gate, in 2001 Keys released her debut album, Songs In A Minor, and won five GRAMMYs, including Song Of The Year for "Fallin'" and Best New Artist. She picked up two awards with Jay-Z for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Best Rap Song for "Empire State Of Mind" at the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards in 2011.
Michael Jackson, Thriller (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 13
Memorable GRAMMY gold: Riding the wave of Thriller, the King of Pop won an unprecedented eight GRAMMY Awards in 1983, including Album Of The Year and Record Of The Year for "Beat It." Jackson's This Is It garnered a nod for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards.
Duke Ellington, Anatomy Of A Murder (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 11
Memorable GRAMMY gold: The eminent big-band leader and composer picked up three GRAMMYs at the 2nd Annual GRAMMY Awards in 1959 for Anatomy Of A Murder, including Best Performance By A Dance Band.
Natalie Cole, Unforgettable With Love (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 9
Memorable GRAMMY gold: The smooth R&B songstress had an unforgettable year in 1991, picking up a trio of GRAMMYs, including Record Of The Year for "Unforgettable."
Miles Davis, Aura (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 8
Memorable GRAMMY gold: One of jazz's most noteworthy trumpet players picked up two GRAMMY Awards in 1989, including Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Big Band for his colorful opus Aura.
Tina Turner, Private Dancer (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 8
Memorable GRAMMY gold: Turner landed three GRAMMY Awards in 1984, with her No. 1 hit "What's Love Got To Do With It" winning for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female and Record Of The Year. This year the anthem was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame.
Usher, Raymond V Raymond (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 7
Memorable GRAMMY gold: Usher picked up two trophies at the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards, including Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for "There Goes My Baby." His first two GRAMMYs came in 2001 and 2002 for "U Remind Me" and "U Don't Have To Call," respectively. Usher performed his No. 1 single from Raymond V Raymond, "OMG," on the 53rd GRAMMY telecast with Justin Bieber in 2011.
Buddy Guy, Living Proof (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 6
Memorable GRAMMY gold: The influential blues guitarist picked up his sixth GRAMMY this year for Best Contemporary Blues Album for Living Proof, marking the fourth time he has won the award. Guy first won the award in 1991 for Damn Right, I've Got The Blues.
Whitney Houston, The Bodyguard — Original Soundtrack Album (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 6
Memorable GRAMMY gold: Houston, whose untimely death came on the eve of the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 11, made an impressive GRAMMY debut in 1985, garnering an Album Of The Year nomination for her self-titled debut, and winning Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for "Saving All My Love For You." On the strength of the 1992 blockbuster film The Bodyguard, which she starred in, in 1993 Houston took home Album Of The Year honors for the film's soundtrack, and earned Record Of The Year for the heart-wrenching "I Will Always Love You." Houston was honored on the 54th GRAMMY telecast with a stirring performance of the song by GRAMMY winner Jennifer Hudson.
Blind Boys Of Alabama, Down In New Orleans (iTunes>)
GRAMMY wins: 5
Memorable GRAMMY gold: After a GRAMMY win in 2008 for Best Traditional Gospel Album for Down In New Orleans, the Blind Boys Of Alabama were honored with The Recording Academy's esteemed Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
Which African-American artists do you think made important contributions to popular music? Drop us a comment and let us know who your picks are.
Who Are The Top GRAMMY Winners Of All Time?
With a total of 84 categories celebrating the best of pop, rock, R&B, jazz, classical, Spoken Word, Musical Theater, and Music For Visual Media, among others, thousands of music creators have been recognized by the GRAMMYs since its inception in 1957.
The prestige of one GRAMMY win can catapult an artist's career to the next level, but there are some who have amassed more than 10, 20 and even 30 career GRAMMY wins. Ever wonder who these elite GRAMMY winners are? Look no further. We've compiled a list of the top 22 GRAMMY winners of all time.
Georg Solti, 31
Not only does the late conductor Georg Solti hold the record for the most GRAMMY Awards won in any genre with 31, he has the most wins in the Classical Field. Solti's last win was for Best Opera Recording for Wagner: Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg for 1997.
Quincy Jones, 27
Quincy Jones' GRAMMY career as an artist/arranger/producer spans more than 10 Fields, from Children's to Jazz, Pop, Rap, R&B, and more. He is also one of only 15 artists to receive the GRAMMY Legend Award.
Alison Krauss, 27
Alison Krauss holds the distinction as the female artist with the most GRAMMYs, and the female with the most awards in the Country Field. Krauss shares 14 of her wins with her backing band of nearly 30 years, Union Station.
Pierre Boulez, 26
Pierre Boulez earned his GRAMMYs primarily conducting the work of renowned 20th century composers such as Bela Bartók, Alban Berg and Claude Debussy. Boulez received The Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.
Vladimir Horowitz, 25
The late virtuoso pianist/composer Vladimir Horowitz earned GRAMMYs in every decade from the 1960s to the 1990s. He was also awarded a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990 and has five recordings in the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame.
Stevie Wonder, 25
No stranger to the GRAMMY stage, Stevie Wonder is the only artist in GRAMMY history to win five or more awards on three separate nights. His career and GRAMMY history were celebrated on the television special "Stevie Wonder: Songs In The Key Of Life — An All-Star GRAMMY Salute" in 2015.
John Williams, 23
John Williams has cashed in on cinema soundtrack classics such as Jaws, Star Wars and Schindler's List for a place among the GRAMMY elite. Of his 23 GRAMMY wins, Williams has earned 12 in the Music For Visual Media Field and six for his work on the Star Wars franchise, including his most recent at the 59th GRAMMYs for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Who run the world? Beyoncé. The 22-time GRAMMY winner holds the second-most wins by a female artist and is tied with Adele at six for most GRAMMY wins in one night by a female. Aside from her wins, Queen Bey has amassed 62 GRAMMY nominations, more than any other female artist.
Chick Corea, 22
Musician/composer Chick Corea is currently the artist with the most jazz GRAMMY wins. Corea's Latin jazz piano stylings, compositions and arrangements have also earned him four Latin GRAMMY Awards.
Led by frontman Bono, U2 hold the record for most GRAMMY wins by a rock act. Their most recent wins came in 2005, including Album Of The Year for How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.
Vince Gill, 21
Singer/songwriter Vince Gill has earned 20 of his GRAMMY wins in the Country Field, the most of any artist. He earned his first GRAMMY outside of the Country Field in 2017 for Best American Roots Song for writing the Time Jumpers' "Kid Sister." He also holds the distinction of garnering the most GRAMMYs in the 1990s (14), winning one or more GRAMMYs in every year of the decade.
Jay Z, 21
Tied for the most GRAMMY wins by a rap artist, Jay Z has wins in each of the four Rap Field categories. Hova's blueprint for GRAMMY success includes collaborations with other artists such as Beyoncé ("Drunk In Love"), Rihanna ("Umbrella") and Justin Timberlake ("Holy Grail").
Kanye West, 21
Kanye West is neck-and-neck with Jay Z for top GRAMMY-winning rap artist, but he has often competed against himself. For example, he had two nominations (and a win) each for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for 2012, Best Rap Album for 2011, and Best Rap Song and Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group for 2007.
Henry Mancini, 20
The composer behind TV and film themes such as "Peter Gunn" and "The Pink Panther Theme," the late Henry Mancini made early GRAMMY history with a then-record five wins in one night for 1961. Mancini's popular "Moon River" and later "Days Of Wine And Roses" each won both Record and Song Of The Year.
Pat Metheny, 20
Pat Metheny is all that jazz. The guitarist earned his first GRAMMY for Best Jazz Fusion Performance, Vocal Or Instrumental for Offramp for 1982. He has earned GRAMMYs in four consecutive decades since, most recently in 2012 as the Pat Metheny Unity Band for Unity Band for Best New Age Album.
Al Schmitt, 20
Working on projects by artists Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Chick Corea, and Paul McCartney, among others, Al Schmitt won his 20 GRAMMYs as an engineer/mixer. Schmitt has also earned two Latin GRAMMYs and he received the Recording Academy Trustees Award in 2006.
Bruce Springsteen, 20
In addition to GRAMMY wins in every decade from the '80s through '00s, Bruce Springsteen has seen his albums Born To Run and Born In The U.S.A. inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame. In 2013 the quintessential rocker was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year.
Tony Bennett, 18
An artist who truly seems to get better with age, Tony Bennett has won nine of his 18 career GRAMMYs since 2002. Including his 2015 win with Bill Charlap for The Silver Lining: The Songs Of Jerome Kern, Bennett has earned Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album honors 13 times, the most in the category's history.
Aretha Franklin, 18
Aretha Franklin reigns as the queen of R&B. She has 18 GRAMMY wins to date, five recordings in the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame, a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award (1994) and a GRAMMY Legend Award (1991).
Yo-Yo Ma, 18
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma has strung together 18 GRAMMY wins, earning his first in 1984 for Bach: The Unaccompanied Cello Suites. Since then he's won GRAMMYs in the Production, Folk and World Music Fields, the latter of which came for 2016 for the Best World Music Album-winning project with his Silk Road Ensemble, Sing Me Home.
Paul McCartney, 18
Winning Best New Artist with the Beatles for 1964, Paul McCartney has gone on to earn 18 career GRAMMYs as an artist, composer and arranger. While most of McCartney's GRAMMY history lies in pop and rock, he earned two 58th GRAMMY nominations for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance for Kanye West's "All Day" with Theophilus London and Allan Kingdom.
Jimmy Sturr, 18
Out of the 25 GRAMMYs ever awarded for polka, Jimmy Sturr earned 18 of them, including 13 wins for Best Polka Album. He will likely remain the highest GRAMMY-winning polka artist in history (given the discontinuation of the category), and was "Born To Polka."
Taylor Swift to Kanye West: Memorable acceptance speeches
(The following is featured in the List Issue of GRAMMY magazine. For more lists, read the full issue here.)
Not quite, “I Have A Dream,” but these were pretty good.
"And I would like to thank God because she makes everything possible." — Helen Reddy, accepting Best Pop Performance, Female for "I Am Woman" at the 15th GRAMMY Awards in 1973
"I thought I told you to wait in the car." — Paul Simon to estranged partner Art Garfunkel, who was accepting the Record Of The Year Award on behalf of Olivia Newton-John at the 17th GRAMMY Awards in 1975
"[I'd like to thank my doctor for] some incredible valium [that] got me through the entire experience." — Songwriter Paul Williams, accepting the Song Of The Year GRAMMY with Barbra Streisand at the 20th GRAMMY Awards in 1978
"I think John is with us here 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." — A tearful Yoko Ono accepting Album Of The Year at the 24th GRAMMY Awards in 1982, approximately one year after the death of John Lennon
"I hope this finally puts to rest another rumor that's been in the press for too many years. Me and Janet really are two different people." — Michael Jackson accepting a GRAMMY Legend Award from sister Janet at the 35th GRAMMY Awards in 1993
"I'm amazed. I didn't even know that GRAMMYs were given to tone-deaf singers like me." — Then-first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton accepting her Best Spoken Word GRAMMY at the 39th GRAMMY Awards in 1997
"It's a very unusual emotion I'm feeling right now. I think it's called humility. The whole year's been humbling — going back to scratch, reapplying for the job. What job? The best band in the world job." — U2's Bono accepting for "Beautiful Day," which won Record and Song Of The Year and Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal at the 43rd GRAMMY Awards in 2001
"I plan to celebrate and scream and pop champagne every chance I get, because I'm at the GRAMMYs baby! I know everybody asked me the question. … Everybody wanted to know what I would do, if I didn't win. I guess we'll never know." — Kanye West accepting Best Rap Album at the 47th GRAMMY Awards in 2005
"I just got an award given to me by a Beatle. Have you had that happen yet, Kanye?" — Vince Gill accepting his Best Country Album award from Ringo Starr at the 50th GRAMMY Awards in 2008
"In the old days we would have called this selling out, but I think it's a good way to spend a Sunday." — Robert Plant accepting Album Of The Year at the 51st GRAMMY Awards in 2009
"When we are 80 years old, and we are telling the same stories over and over again to our grandkids, and they are so annoyed with us, this is the story we are going to be telling … in 2010 we got to win Album Of The Year at the GRAMMYs." — Taylor Swift at the 52nd GRAMMY Awards in 2010
GRAMMY Insider: Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé And Jay-Z, Stone Temple Pilots, Dr. Dre, And More
(The GRAMMY Insider keeps you up to date about news on your favorite GRAMMY winners, including new album releases, tour updates, notable TV appearances, interviews, and more.)
Taylor Swift was the big winner at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards on May 19 in Las Vegas. The seven-time GRAMMY winner took home eight awards, including Top Artist, Top Digital Songs Artist, Top Female Artist, and Top Billboard 200 Album for Red. Other GRAMMY winners receiving awards included Fun., Gotye and Kimbra, Maroon 5, Mumford & Sons, Rihanna, and Skrillex. … Public Policy Polling has taken a survey of who Americans love (and hate), with plenty of GRAMMY winners appearing on the favorable side, including Adele, Beyoncé, Swift, and Justin Timberlake. Those falling on the unfortunate side of the spectrum included Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna. … Nominations for the annual BET Awards '13, taking place June 30, were announced with Drake leading the field with 12 nominations. … Adam Levine was honored with the President's Award at the 61st Annual BMI Pop Awards on May 14 in Los Angeles.
Music And Film/TV
Kanye West was the musical guest on "Saturday Night Live" on May 18, debuting "Black Skinheads" and "New Slaves" from his forthcoming new album. During the former performance, the 21-time GRAMMY winner angrily rapped against an abstract projected backdrop, which featured stark black-and-white images, vintage price tags and a message that read "Not for sale." According to an Instagram post by his main squeeze Kim Kardashian, West's new album will be titled Yeezus and will be released June 18. … Cee Lo Green will appear in "The Cee Lo Life," an unscripted series expected to premiere in 2014 that will follow Green as he prepares to bring Goodie Mob back to the stage with Big Gipp, Khujo and T-Mo. … Rihanna's design competition reality series "Styled To Rock" will premiere this fall and feature Pharrell Williams as one of three contestant mentors.
Following comments from Beyoncé that surfaced last week wherein the singer said her daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, "needs some company," sources have revealed that Beyoncé and Jay-Z are expecting baby number two. However, hubby Jay-Z has said the rumors are not true in a reply to a congratulatory email he received from New York radio station Hot 97. If they are pregnant, here's hoping the couple has set aside some savings for cravings. While in Dublin early last week, Beyoncé spent an estimated $1,200 on spicy takeout food.
Dr. Dre and producer Jimmy Iovine have donated $70 million to the University of Southern California for a new Academy of Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation. … Willie Nelson has been named an honorary doctor of music by Boston's Berklee College of Music, along with Carole King and Annie Lennox.
On The Road
Sunset Strip veterans Linkin Park are set to headline the annual Sunset Strip Music Festival, which takes place Aug. 1–3 in West Hollywood, Calif. In related news, Linkin Park's Chester Bennington made an unexpected appearance as the frontman for Stone Temple Pilots on May 18 at the KROQ-FM Weenie Roast. The group, who recently parted ways with Scott Weiland, debuted a new song with Bennington, "Out Of Time," which is available for free download. Bennington will be honored with the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award at the annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert on May 30.
Charts, Sales And New Music
Lady Antebellum's Golden debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, marking their third chart-topping release. … Natalie Maines' first solo album, Mother, debuted at No. 17. … Daft Punk's new album, Random Access Memories, is expected to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with sales of up to 300,000 copies following its release on May 21, according to Billboard.biz. … Also on May 21, Darius Rucker will release his third country album, True Believers. … John Fogerty will celebrate the release of his new album, Wrote A Song For Everyone, and his birthday with a special concert in Los Angeles on May 28. … Rumor has it Lady Gaga gave fans a taste of her forthcoming new album, Artpop, during the launch party for Versace Versus on May 14 in New York.
A cover of David Bowie's classic "Space Oddity," recorded by Commander Chris Hadfield onboard the International Space Station, has gone viral with more than 14 million YouTube views. Hadfield's vocals and guitar were recorded on the space station (and mixed with supporting tracks by Emm Gryner, a Canadian musician who once sang backup for Bowie), leading some observers to call it the first music video made in space.
Looking for some new digs? The former home of Metallica's James Hetfield — a four-bedroom estate in Novato, Calif., — has been placed on the market for a reported $3.4 million. … After reportedly dropping more than $17 million on a waterfront mansion in Watch Hill, R.I., Taylor Swift received an unwelcome visitor on the morning of May 14. According to police, 22-year-old Lucas H. Borsteveld was caught and cited for trespassing.
In a recent interview on BBC Radio 4, Yoko Ono thanked Paul McCartney for squashing longtime rumors that Ono broke up the Beatles last October. Ono also touched on the difficulty of being a Beatles wife. "I think it's more difficult than being a politician's wife, because it's endless," she said.