Aquarium Drunkard Presents: Grammy - Winners/Losers

Monday, January 27, 2014
Aquarium Drunkard Presents: Grammy - Winners/Losers

The music industry hi-five and television spectacle that is the Grammys (that is big on both pageantry and red carpets) has been at it since 1959, and last night marked the 56th installment. As such, I've been going back, researching the various awards categories over the years. And not just looking at the winners, but those albums, artists and singles that were nominated...and lost. But here's the thing, I'm finding that, personally, the nominated 'losers' tend to be a lot more interesting/rewarding than the those who actually took home the gold statue.

Some observations: Steve Wonder nearly won the 'album of the year' Grammy every year between 1974 and 1977. He did not release a record in 1976, so it went to Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years." Not that this was Paul's first rodeo, no, the singer-songwriter also took home the Grammy for best record in 1971, for "Bridge over Troubled Water", with Art Garfunkel. He then took it home in the late '80s with the release of "Graceland". Bob Dylan has been nominated twice and won once, for 1998's "Time Out Of Mind". Yeah, I love that record too, but really -- zero nominations for "Blonde On Blonde" or "Highway 61 Revisited"? No nominations for "Blood On The Tracks"??

Also of note: Steely Dan lost in the '70s with "Aja" and in the early '80s with "Gaucho" only to win in 2001 with "Two Against Nature" -- which is, admittedly, a great Steely Dan album, though it beat out Radiohead's "Kid A", that year, which seems like, zeitgeist-wise, the clearer choice (Radiohead also lost in 1998 and 2009). Until last night, Led Zeppelin never won a Grammy, hell they were never even nominated, but Robert Plant took home a Grammy in 2009 with Allison Krauss for their "Raising Sand" collaboration. And it wasn't Krauss's first; she had material on the soundtrack to "O Brother, Where Art Thou" which won in 2001. Prince has been nominated, and lost, twice. The Rolling Stones were nominated once, in 1979, for "Some Girls", and lost.

This week's playlist highlights not just twenty cuts from albums that won, but from the nominee pool as well.


Based in Los Angeles, Justin Gage is the founder of the long-running, eclectic music blog Aquarium Drunkard. In addition to the blog you can catch his weekly radio show, Fridays, on SIRIUS XMU satellite radio -- noon-2pm EST.

Gage is also the founder of Autumn Tone Records and works as a music consultant and supervisor.

twitter: @aquadrunkard