Sunday, January 26, 2020

Grammys: Albums of the Year Revisited

First posted 12/4/2011; updated 8/18/2020.

Grammy Awards:

Albums of the Year Revisited

The Grammy for Album of the Year, given out annually since 1959, (see list here) is probably the most coveted award in the music industry. However, each year debate is sparked about whether the right album got the final nod. Here the DMDB compares the winner each year to its other nominees. Based on overall DMDB points, this list will show if the highest-ranked nominee each year won or not.

Also, check out annual picks for album of the year.

2019

WON: Bilie Eilish When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
SHOULD’VE WON: Bilie Eilish When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

2018

WON: Kacey Musgraves Golden Hour
SHOULD’VE WON: Kacey Musgraves Golden Hour

2017

WON: Bruno Mars 24K Magic
SHOULD’VE WON: Kendrick Lamar Damn.

2016

WON: Adele 25
SHOULD’VE WON: Adele 25

2015

WON: Taylor Swift 1989
SHOULD’VE WON: Taylor Swift 1989

2014

WON: Beck Morning Phase
SHOULD’VE WON: Beyoncé Beyoncé

2013

WON: Daft Punk Random Access Memories
SHOULD’VE WON: Kendrick Lamar Good Kid, M.a.a.d. City

2012

WON: Mumford & Sons Babel
SHOULD’VE WON: Frank Ocean Channel Orange

2011

WON: Adele 21
SHOULD’VE WON: 21

2010

WON: Arcade Fire The Suburbs
SHOULD’VE WON: Eminem Recovery


2009

WON: Taylor Swift Fearless
SHOULD’VE WON: Taylor Swift Fearless

2008

WON: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss Raising Sand
SHOULD’VE WON: In Rainbows

2007

WON: Herbie Hancock River: The Joni Letters
SHOULD’VE WON: Amy Winehouse Back to Black

2006

WON: Dixie Chicks Taking the Long Way
SHOULD’VE WON: Justin Timberlake FutureSex/LoveSounds

2005

WON: U2 How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
SHOULD’VE WON: U2 How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

2004

WON: Ray Charles Genius Loves Company
SHOULD’VE WON: Green Day American Idiot

2003

WON: OutKast Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
SHOULD’VE WON: The White Stripes Elephant

2002

WON: Norah Jones Come Away with Me
SHOULD’VE WON: Come Away with Me

2001

WON: O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack
SHOULD’VE WON: O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack

2000

WON: Steely Dan Two Against Nature
SHOULD’VE WON: Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP


1999

WON: Santana Supernatural
SHOULD’VE WON: Supernatural

1998

WON: Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
SHOULD’VE WON: Shania Twain Come on Over

1997

WON: Bob Dylan Time Out of Mind
SHOULD’VE WON: Radiohead OK Computer

1996

WON: Celine Dion Falling into You
SHOULD’VE WON: Beck Odelay

1995

WON: Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill
SHOULD’VE WON: Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill

1994

WON: Tony Bennett MTV Unplugged
SHOULD’VE WON: Eric Clapton From the Cradle

1993

WON: Various artists (Whitney Houston et al) The Bodyguard (soundtrack)
SHOULD’VE WON: R.E.M. Automatic for the People

1992

WON: Eric Clapton Unplugged
SHOULD’VE WON: U2 Achtung Baby

1991

WON: Natalie Cole Unforgettable…With Love
SHOULD’VE WON: R.E.M. Out of Time

1990

WON: Quincy Jones Back on the Block
SHOULD’VE WON: MC Hammer Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em


1989

WON: Bonnie Raitt Nick of Time
SHOULD’VE WON: Nick of Time

1988

WON: George Michael Faith
SHOULD’VE WON: George Michael Faith

1987

WON: U2 The Joshua Tree
SHOULD’VE WON: U2 The Joshua Tree

1986

WON: Paul Simon Graceland
SHOULD’VE WON: Graceland

1985

WON: Phil Collins No Jacket Required
SHOULD’VE WON: Dire Straits Brothers in Arms

1984

WON: Lionel Richie Can’t Slow Down
SHOULD’VE WON: Prince & the Revolution Purple Rain (soundtrack)

1983

WON: Michael Jackson Thriller
SHOULD’VE WON: Michael Jackson Thriller

1982

WON: Toto Toto IV
SHOULD’VE WON: Donald Fagen The Nightfly

1981

WON: John Lennon & Yoko Ono Double Fantasy
SHOULD’VE WON: John Lennon & Yoko Ono Double Fantasy

1980

WON: Christopher Cross Christopher Cross
SHOULD’VE WON: Pink Floyd The Wall


1979

WON: Billy Joel 52nd Street
SHOULD’VE WON: Supertramp Breakfast in America

1978

WON: Various Artists (Bee Gees et al) Saturday Night Fever soundtrack
SHOULD’VE WON: Various Artists (Bee Gees et al) Saturday Night Fever soundtrack

1977

WON: Fleetwood Mac Rumours
SHOULD’VE WON: Fleetwood Mac Rumours

1976

WON: Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life
SHOULD’VE WON: Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life

1975

WON: Paul Simon Still Crazy After All These Years
SHOULD’VE WON: Elton John Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy

1974

WON: Stevie Wonder Fulfillingness’ First Finale
SHOULD’VE WON: Paul McCartney & Wings Band on the Run

1973

WON: Stevie Wonder Innervisions
SHOULD’VE WON: Stevie Wonder Innervisions

1972

WON: George Harrison et al The Concert for Bangladesh
SHOULD’VE WON: Don McLean American Pie

1971

WON: Carole King Tapestry
SHOULD’VE WON: Carole King Tapestry

1970

WON: Simon & Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water
SHOULD’VE WON: Simon & Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water


1969

WON: Blood, Sweat & Tears Blood, Sweat & Tears
SHOULD’VE WON: The Beatles Abbey Road

1968

WON: Glen Campbell By the Time I Get to Phoenix
SHOULD’VE WON: The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour

1967

WON: The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
SHOULD’VE WON: The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

1966

WON: Frank Sinatra A Man and His Music
SHOULD’VE WON: The Beatles Revolver

1965

WON: Frank Sinatra September of My Years
SHOULD’VE WON: The Sound of Music soundtrack

1964

WON: Stan Getz/Joao Gilberto Getz/Gilberto
SHOULD’VE WON: Stan Getz/Joao Gilberto Getz/Gilberto

1963

WON: Barbra Streisand The Barbra Streisand Album
SHOULD’VE WON: Andy Williams Days of Wine and Roses

1962

WON: Vaughn Meader The First Family
SHOULD’VE WON: Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music

1961

WON: Judy Garland Judy at Carnegie Hall
SHOULD’VE WON: West Side Story soundtrack

1960

WON: Bob Newhart The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart
SHOULD’VE WON: Bob Newhart The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart


1959

WON: Frank Sinatra Come Dance with Me
SHOULD’VE WON: Sergei Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 (performed by Van Cliburn)

1958

WON: Henry Mancini Music from Peter Gunn
SHOULD’VE WON: Pyotor Il’yich Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 (performed by Van Cliburn)


So there you have it. Out of 62 years, the Grammys only got it “right” 25 times – a 40% success rate. This doesn’t even take into consideration albums which didn’t get nominated and should have. Some contests admittedly had very worthy candidates pitted against each other, such as OutKast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below vs. The White Stripes Elephant or Eric Clapton’s Unplugged vs. U2’s Achtung Baby. In other cases, such as The Bodyguard soundtrack vs. R.E.M.’s Automatic for the People or Celine Dion’s Falling into You vs. Beck’s Odelay the higher-ranked album would have been a more creative pick, but it is no surprise that the Grammys went with the more middle-of-the-road option.

Still, at other times it is hard to fathom how a classic such as Pink Floyd’s The Wall can’t boast Grammy-winning status while Christopher Cross can. Vaughn Meader’s comedy album The First Family over Ray Charles’ Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music? Herbie Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters instead of Back to Black? It’s also hard to not refer to the awards as the “Grannies” when they opt to honor Steely Dan for Two Against Nature TWO DECADES past their prime compared to Eminem at the height of his powers with The Marshall Mathers LP. Alas. It is what it is.


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