Originally called the Gramophone Award, the Grammy Award is one of the most sought after awards in the music industry. Grammys are presented annually by The Recording Academy and they recognise the achievements of the mostly English language music industry. The very first Grammy Awards ceremony took place on May 4, 1959 and was held in two locations simultaneously. One location was the Park Sheraton Hotel in New York with the other being the world famous Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills California. Twenty-eight awards were distributed in this inaugural ceremony.
Domenico Modugno won the Record of the Year for “Nel Blu Dipinto di blu (Volare)” at the 1959 awards; it also won the Song of the Year. Henry Mancini won the Album of the Year for “The Music from Peter Gunn.” The second Grammy Awards were, bizarrely, also held in 1959 and was the first ceremony to be televised, although fans of the music industry had to wait until the 13th Annual Grammy Awards in 1971 to see the ceremony aired live on national television.
More than 7,500 Grammy trophies, which depict a gramophone, hence the name, since the awards were invented and they usually come under four main categories that are known ad the General Field. These categories are Album of the Year, record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist. Only two artists in the history of the awards have won all four of these awards. Christopher Cross won all four in 1980 and British artist Adele who secured the Best New Artist gong in 2009 and then followed that up with the other three titles in 2012 then 2017.
Many artists have won multiple Grammy Awards, but nobody has won more that Sir Georg Solti who has a staggering 31 Grammy Awards to his name. Alison Krauss has 27 awards and is the most-decorated female artist, while U2 hold the record for the most awards won by a group with 22. Although the general public and music fans seem to love the Grammys, the awards have been met with criticism over the years, particularly during the past 10-20 years Eddie Vedder, the lead singer for Pearl Jam, went on stage in 1996 to collect the Grammy for the Best Hard Rock Performance and commented upon collecting his award,
“I don’t know what this means. I don’t think it means anything.”
In 2008, Maynard James Keenan of the band Tool, didn’t attend the ceremony to collect his band’s award, claiming that the Grammys are nothing more than a gigantic promotional machine for the music industry. The awards have also been criticized for awarding commercially successful albums rather than ones that have received critical acclaim, even if the latter hadn’t sold as many copies as the former. In 1991, Sinead O’Connor was nominated for three categories and went on to win Best Alternative Performance, only for her to shun the ceremony and boycott it, stating the extreme commercialism of the Grammys as her reason for the boycott.