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GRAMMY Rewind: 30th Annual GRAMMY Awards
U2's The Joshua Tree

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GRAMMY Rewind: 30th Annual GRAMMY Awards

U2 wins Album Of The Year and Jody Watley wins Best New Artist against these nominees

GRAMMYs/Oct 23, 2021 - 12:09 am

(For a list of 54th GRAMMY Awards nominees, click here.)

Music's Biggest Night, the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards, will air live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

In the weeks leading up to the telecast, we will take a stroll down music memory lane with GRAMMY Rewind, highlighting the "big four" categories — Album Of The Year, Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Best New Artist — from past awards shows. In the process, we'll examine the winners and the nominees who just missed taking home a GRAMMY, while also shining a light on the artists' careers and the eras in which the recordings were born.

Join us as we take an abbreviated journey through the trajectory of pop music from the 1st Annual GRAMMY Awards in 1959 to last year's 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards.

30th Annual GRAMMY Awards
March 2, 1988

Album Of The Year
Winner: U2, The Joshua Tree
Whitney Houston, Whitney
Michael Jackson, Bad
Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris And Linda Ronstadt, Trio
Prince, Sign 'O' The Times

node: video: U2 Win Album Of The Year

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Arguably, the decade's biggest artists were nominated for Album Of The Year in 1987. U2 won for their huge breakthrough, The Joshua Tree. It contained the band's first No. 1 single (the GRAMMY-nominated "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For") and established them as, in the words of frontman Bono on the 43rd GRAMMY telecast, the best band in the world. It took an album that monumental to knock off some towering competition. Houston didn't fall prey to a sophomore slump with her second album, Whitney, which spawned four No. 1 hits and, perhaps also in the words of Bono, made her the biggest R&B singer in the world. But the world's biggest R&B/rock/iconoclast may have been Prince, whose Sign 'O' The Times found the purple one at the pinnacle of his genre-stretching talents. The double album touched on an almost endless array of styles with the confidence of an auteur. Still another major hurdle for U2 to surmount was the King of Pop himself. Jackson's Bad was his follow-up to 1982's Thriller, and its five No. 1 singles showed Jackson was still in the most fertile period of his career. The final entry, the all-star teaming of Parton, Harris and Ronstadt, put three top contemporary country-leaning singers in the studio with a first-rate backing band that included Ry Cooder, Russ Kunkel, Albert Lee, and David Lindley, producing a harmony-rich, traditional country album.

Record Of The Year
Winner: Paul Simon, "Graceland"
Los Lobos, "La Bamba"
U2, "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"
Suzanne Vega, "Luka"
Steve Winwood, "Back In The High Life Again"

node: video: Paul Simon Wins Record Of The Year

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In a relatively rare occurrence, only one of the Album Of The Year nominees made an appearance in the Record Of The Year race — U2 with their anthemic "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For." The song's theme of searching for meaning in life became one of the deeper hit songs in recent memory, but other records here explored complicated themes. Simon's "Graceland" took the prize with an equally rich search for redemption. It was a winning reprise for Simon, who with partner Art Garfunkel scored his first GRAMMY for Record Of The Year in 1968 for "Mrs. Robinson." Singer/songwriter Vega had a neo-folk hit with "Luka," a somber tale of child abuse with a nonetheless catchy hook. East Los Angeles-based band Los Lobos, with a unique sound combining many elements of Anglo rock and Latin music, scored their biggest hit to date with a cover of Ritchie Valens' "La Bamba," a cut for the 1987 film of the same name. Finally, Winwood was cresting the wave of a comeback that started in 1980 with Arc Of A Diver. The former Traffic vocalist went Top 15 with "Back In The High Life Again," and soared to No. 1 with "Higher Love," which won Record Of The Year the year prior.

Song Of The Year
Winner: Linda Ronstadt & James Ingram, "Somewhere Out There"
Whitney Houston, "Didn't We Almost Have It All"
Los Lobos, "La Bamba (Adapted By Richie Valens)"
U2, "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"
Suzanne Vega, "Luka"

node: video: "Somewhere Out There" Wins Song Of The Year

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Ronstadt and Ingram's duet "Somewhere Out There" was written by James Horner, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and was featured in the 1986 animated film An American Tail. Horner would win a trio of statues a decade later for "My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme From Titanic)." Houston's "Didn't We Almost Have It All," written by Will Jennings and Michael Masser, made the cut. Five years later, Houston would win three GRAMMYs via the soundtrack to The Bodyguard. Los Lobos' take on "La Bamba" was also recognized. The soundtrack album featured other Valens classics such as "Come On Let's Go" and "Donna." U2 was cited again for "I Still Haven't Found …" To go with their Album Of The Year trophy, Bono and friends also won the GRAMMY for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal. Vega's "Luka," despite its dark subject matter, was her highest-charting single, reaching No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Vega won her lone GRAMMY in 1990 for Best Album Package.

Best New Artist
Winner: Jody Watley
Breakfast Club
Cutting Crew
Swing Out Sister
Terence Trent D'Arby

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The Chicago-born Watley, who was first nominated for a GRAMMY as a member of Shalamar in 1983, picked up Best New Artist honors. The pop/R&B songstress' 1987 self-titled debut album featured the GRAMMY-nominated hit "Looking For A New Love." New York-based pop group Breakfast Club — consisting of Stephen Bray, Gary Burke, Dan Gilroy, and Eddie Gilroy — scored a nod. An earlier incarnation included Madonna, and Bray went on to co-write several songs with the Material Girl herself, including "True Blue" and "Express Yourself." Also recognized were two UK pop bands: Cutting Crew, best known for their No. 1 smash "(I Just) Died In Your Arms," and Swing Out Sister, whose Jimmy Webb-inspired hooks were manifested in Top 40 hits such as "Breakout" and "Twilight World." With his wishing well in tow, D'Arby rounded out the nominees. His debut album, Introducing The Hardline According To Terence Trent D'Arby, won a GRAMMY for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male, the following year. (More than a decade later, D'Arby renamed himself Sananda Maitreya, and proclaimed that "Terence Trent D'Arby was dead. ...")


Come back to GRAMMY.com Jan. 26 as we revisit the 40th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Meanwhile, visit The Recording Academy's social networks on Facebook and Twitter for updates and breaking GRAMMY news.

GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Inspirations: Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

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GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Inspirations: Jennifer Hudson

From timeless classics to infectious pop gems, GRAMMY winner Jennifer Hudson goes deep on six influential GRAMMY Hall Of Fame recordings

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

(To commemorate the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame's 40th Anniversary in 2013, GRAMMY.com has launched GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Inspirations. The ongoing series will feature conversations with various individuals who will identify GRAMMY Hall Of Fame recordings that have influenced them and helped shape their careers.)

Vocal powerhouse Jennifer Hudson grew up in Chicago in the '80s and '90s, but it was a piece of classic '70s disco that first made her want to put her talents to use as a professional performer.

"When I heard 'Got To Be Real' [by Cheryl Lynn] it just grabbed me," says Hudson. "That was the song that made me think, 'Oh God — that's what I want to do.' I'd mark off a little stage on the floor and hold my hairbrush microphone and jump up and down. I'd lose it."

A solid disco beat can still move her, but Hudson also cites gospel music as a major influence, having sung often in the church in her childhood with an extended family of talented vocalists.

Hudson got the chance to make her own music career real in 2004 when she delivered several knockout performances as a contestant on "American Idol." Her breakout role in the film adaptation of Dreamgirls followed in 2006, and two years later she took home Best R&B Album honors for her self-titled debut at the 51st GRAMMY Awards [link to show page].

With plans underway for her third studio album, Hudson reigns as one of the most gifted and affecting performers of her generation. Here are six recordings from the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame that continue to make her want to reach for the microphone — hairbrush or otherwise.

Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston
Arista (1985)
Album
Inducted 2013

"I have a hard time remembering what I was doing the first time I heard a lot of the Whitney songs because I went crazy for everything she did. That first album really had an effect on me. 'Saving All My Love For You,' 'How Will I Know,' 'Greatest Love Of All' — just saying the names of the songs makes me want to cry all over again. I do remember that 'Greatest Love Of All' was a total game changer for me. It was a song that had a very different kind of power. It didn't make you want to dance like my other favorites had done — this one captivated you. It put you into a trance. You started listening to that song and the world around you went silent.

"Whitney had that effect right from the start. There's a time to dance, and there's a time to listen, and Whitney had a voice that you had to listen to. The thing that has always amazed me is that her music is so powerful, and yet it's so soothing. In some ways it's perfect ear candy, but it can also move you to tears."

"Lady Marmalade"
LaBelle
Epic (1975)
Single
Inducted 2003

"When it is time to dance, this is the [song]. I think everybody has the experience with music that certain songs are powerful enough to take you right back to a certain time and place. There are songs you appreciate for the music, but there are songs you just feel are like old friends — you've got some history with them. For me, hearing Patti LaBelle and the group singing 'Lady Marmalade' takes me right back to the times when I was first getting so excited about music. This is the kind of song that just made me jump up and want to be a part of what was going on.

"I also remember being impressed by the look and the image of LaBelle too, which I didn't really know about until I'd already been familiar with the song. [They were] so much fun, and so expressive. I wish things were a little more like that now. Sometimes it feels like everything's been done. You think somebody has a new look and it turns out LaBelle [were] already there.

"Oh Happy Day"
Edwin Hawkins Singers
Buddah (1969)
Single
Inducted 1999

"I started out singing in church choruses, and even before I was singing I was sitting [on] my grandmother's lap while she was singing the chorus on Sunday or at choir rehearsal. My whole family sang — my grandmother was the youngest of 11 siblings and they all sang together as a group. I remember they'd do these warm-ups where they'd go around and everybody in the family had to sing their name: 'My name is Jennifer Hudson, how do you do?'

"I always loved that feeling of being surrounded by music and family, and that's a feeling I get from 'Oh Happy Day,' which is kind of funny because for all the singing we did in church, I don't think we sang that song. Once I heard it though, I couldn't get enough of it. It's one of those great pieces of music that's a real church song, but it gets you there just like any great up-tempo pop song. It gives you that great feeling of energy and makes you smile. It does what the title tells you it does — makes your day a happier one."

"Bridge Over Troubled Water"
Simon & Garfunkel
Columbia (1970)
Single
Inducted 1998

"I just absolutely love this song, and have from the first time I heard it. But for a long time what I was familiar with was the Aretha Franklin version. A friend finally introduced me to the Simon & Garfunkel original. Their recording is so perfect and so heavenly — every time I hear it I either want to sing along with the whole thing, or just say, 'Hallelujah.' The sound is so pure and the arrangement is so beautiful, it just sends you away. Then, when you really listen to the words, it's beautiful on a whole different level. What does everyone want in life but a bridge over troubled water?

"This is the kind of song that makes me wonder: When it was being written and recorded, did they have a sense of how amazing and timeless this was? Did they know from the start it was a masterpiece? I think we musicians know when we've done the best we can do, and that's a great feeling. But I wonder if there's an extra awareness when you create something that's just going to last forever. This song is definitely in that category."

"People"
Barbra Streisand
Columbia (1964)
Single
Inducted 1998

"The Way We Were"
Barbra Streisand
Columbia (1974)
Single
Inducted 2008

"I don't remember my first time hearing Barbra Streisand. I just think I was always aware that she was the top — that she's as good as you can get as a singer and a performer.

"The first time I really became aware of just how special a talent she had was when I actually had to get it together to sing a couple of her songs at one of Clive Davis' Pre-GRAMMY [Galas]. It was a tribute for her, and two days before the show Clive asked me to sing 'People' and 'The Way We Were.' I had to take on these two gigantic signature songs — songs that aren't easy to deliver — and sing them with her sitting right in front of me. Are you kidding me? I almost lost my mind.

"She makes the first few lines of 'People' sound so easy, but melodically it's very difficult to get it just right. To this day I want to sing that over again and get it right — a little more right. I think I must have spoken to her after I sang, but I was so terrified I don't remember a thing. I think she was smiling, but I don't know. I love her. I'd sing for her again if I could — but maybe not one of her songs."

(Jennifer Hudson won her first career GRAMMY in 2008 for Best R&B Album for Jennifer Hudson. As an actress, her role in the 2006 film Dreamgirls earned her numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. A day after the death of Whitney Houston on Feb. 11, 2012, Hudson performed "I Will Always Love You" as a special tribute on the 54th GRAMMY Awards telecast.)

(Chuck Crisafulli is an L.A.-based journalist and author whose most recent works include Go To Hell: A Heated History Of The Underworld, Me And A Guy Named Elvis and Elvis: My Best Man.)

 

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Special GRAMMY Tribute To Honor Whitney Houston

Jennifer Hudson to pay tribute to late GRAMMY-winning artist on the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

A special musical tribute to six-time GRAMMY winner Whitney Houston featuring GRAMMY-winning artist Jennifer Hudson has been added to the lineup for the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards.

Houston died Feb. 11 at age 48. A cause of death was not disclosed.

"A light has been dimmed in our music community today, and we extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends, fans and all who have been touched by her beautiful voice," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy.

Houston won her first GRAMMY Award in 1985 for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for "Saving All My Love For You." She won the same award in 1987 for "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)." In 1993 Houston won three GRAMMYs: Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female and Record Of The Year for "I Will Always Love You"; and Album Of The Year for The Bodyguard — Original Soundtrack. Houston's most recent GRAMMY win came in 1999 for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for "It's Not Right But It's Okay."

Hudson won her first career GRAMMY in 2008 for Best R&B Album for Jennifer Hudson.

The show is produced by John Cossette Productions and AEG Ehrlich Ventures for The Recording Academy. Ken Ehrlich is executive producer, Louis J. Horvitz is director, and David Wild and Ken Ehrlich are the writers.

The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards will take place live on Sunday, Feb. 12 at Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast in high definition and 5.1 surround sound on the CBS Television Network from 8–11:30 p.m. (ET/PT). The show also will be supported on radio worldwide via Westwood One/Dial Global, and covered online at GRAMMY.com and CBS.com, and on YouTube.

Follow GRAMMY.com for our inside look at GRAMMY news, blogs, photos, videos, and of course nominees. Stay up to the minute with GRAMMY Live. Check out the GRAMMY legacy with GRAMMY Rewind. Keep track of this year's GRAMMY Week events, and explore this year's GRAMMY Fields. Or check out the collaborations at Re:Generation, presented by Hyundai Veloster. And join the conversation at Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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Jackson Tops Dead Earners List

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

Jackson Tops Dead Earners List
GRAMMY winner and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Michael Jackson topped Forbes' annual list of top-earning dead celebrities with $275 million, earning more than the combined total of the other 12 celebrities on the list. Elvis Presley ranked second with $60 million, John Lennon placed fifth with $17 million and Jimi Hendrix tied for 11th place with $6 million. Forbes compiled the list based on gross earnings between October 2009 and October 2010. (10/26)

UK Arts Council Announces Budget Cut Plans
Following a previous report, Arts Council England has revealed plans to implement the 30 percent cut to the UK's arts funding budget. The cuts will include a 7 percent cash cut for UK arts organizations in 2011–2012, a 15 percent cut for the regular funding of arts organizations by 2014–2015 and a 50 percent reduction to the council's operating costs. (10/26)

GRAMMY Winners To Perform At World Series
GRAMMY winners Kelly Clarkson, Lady Antebellum and John Legend are scheduled to perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" during Major League Baseball's 2010 World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers. Legend and Lady Antebellum will perform at games one and two in San Francisco on Oct. 27 and Oct. 28, respectively, and Clarkson will perform at game three on Oct. 30 in Arlington, Texas. (10/26)

 

GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Will Smith Dedicate His 1999 Best Rap Solo Performance GRAMMY To His Son

Will Smith at the 1999 GRAMMYs

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GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Will Smith Dedicate His 1999 Best Rap Solo Performance GRAMMY To His Son

In his acceptance speech, he offers thanks to his family and "the jiggiest wife in the world, Jada Pinkett Smith"

GRAMMYs/Sep 25, 2020 - 11:17 pm

Today, Sept. 25, we celebrate the birthday of the coolest dad—who else? Will Smith! For the latest episode of GRAMMY Rewind, we revisit the Fresh Prince's 1999 GRAMMY win for Best Rap Solo Performance for "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It."

In the below video, watch rappers Missy Elliott—donning white leather—and Foxy Brown present the GRAMMY to a stoked Smith, who also opted for an all-leather look. In his acceptance speech, he offers thanks to his family and "the jiggiest wife in the world, Jada Pinkett Smith." He dedicates the award to his eldest son, Trey Smith, joking that Trey's teacher said he (then just six years old) could improve his rhyming skills.

Watch Another GRAMMY Rewind: Ludacris Dedicates Best Rap Album Win To His Dad At The 2007 GRAMMYs

The classic '90s track is from his 1997 debut studio album, Big Willie Style, which also features "Miami" and 1998 GRAMMY winner "Men In Black," from the film of the same name. The "Está Rico" rapper has won four GRAMMYs to date, earning his first back in 1989 GRAMMYs for "Parents Just Don't Understand," when he was 20 years old.

GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, J. Lo & Jada Pinkett Smith Open The 2019 GRAMMYs