Each year, the Recording Academy of the United States decides the best of the best from the year in music during the Grammy Awards. Many feel that what the Academy says is gospel and that whoever ends up winning these awards were truly the top picks from the year. However, public opinion from hardcore music fans can differ greatly from the Academy’s opinion.
Whether it’s the Album of the Year, Best Rap Album, or anything else, there’s always going to be at least one person who feels that the actual best choice didn’t win the award. Here are five of the biggest Grammy snubs of all time that had people scratching their heads the most.
1984 Song of the Year
There was a stacked card for the 1984 Song of the Year award, which included two Michael Jackson songs (“Beat It” and “Billie Jean”). There were two other massive hits that were nominated, as well, with Michael Sembello’s “Maniac” and Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long”. None of these songs would end up winning the award, though.
Many felt that one of the two Jackson songs would take home the title, especially since “Beat It” won so many other awards that night. The award instead went to The Police for their hit “Every Breath You Take”. Even Sting, the man who wrote the song, didn’t think it was deserving of the Song of the Year choice.
2014 Best New Artist
The title for Best New Artist is always one that gets a lot of backlash from fans. 2011, for example, saw Esperanza Spalding win over Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence and the Machine, and Mumford & Sons. Just three years later, though, there would be an even bigger blowback from fans when Macklemore & Ryan Lewis shared the title.
James Blake, Kacey Musgraves, and Ed Sheeran were all nominated, but the one who people felt got snubbed the most was Kendrick Lamar. Lamar had just released “good kid, m.A.A.d city” which was up for Album of the Year. Lamar didn’t take home any of the awards in which he was nominated, leaving a lot of rap fans confused.
1993 Best Rock Song
In 1992, Sting won the first-ever Grammy for Best Rock Song when he released “The Soul Cages” which was a big upset in itself. After all, “Silent Lucidity”, “Enter Sandman”, “Learning to Fly” and “Been Caught Stealing” were all nominated that year, too. The second-ever award in the category, though, was much more confusing for music fans.
“Layla” by Eric Clapton would end up winning the award. If that already sounds weird, it’s because “Layla” was a 1970s song, but the acoustic version from “Unplugged” was what earned the title. Both “Jeremy” by Pearl Jam and, of course, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana were the favorites, but the Grammys really didn’t like grunge at the time.
1989 Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance
The Grammy Awards finally began to recognize the world of hard rock in 1989 with the introduction of the Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Award, but it would be the only year in which the award existed. Pretty much everyone felt that Metallica was going to win the award for their album “…And Justice for All”.
The Recording Academy had different ideas, though. Iggy Pop, AC/DC, and Jane’s Addiction were also nominated, but the title went to Jethro Tull for “Crest of a Knave”. Metalheads were instantly furious, and the award was removed from future Grammy ceremonies. Lars Ulrich of Metallica said that Jethro Tull winning was a mockery and opened the curtains to show that the Grammys didn’t really have their finger on the pulse of rock music.
1969 Song of the Year
The Beatles didn’t have a shortage of awards throughout their time together, but one title which they should’ve won came at the 1969 Grammy Awards. “Hey Jude” was up for the Song of the Year category, and many felt that the only real competition was from Simon & Garfunkel for their hit “Mrs. Robinson”. Neither of those songs would win, though.
Neither would two of the other more well-known songs in the category; “Harper Valley PTA” by Jeannie C. Riley and “Honey” by Bobby Goldsboro. Instead, the title went to O.C. Smith for his song “Little Green Apples”. The song was a solid hit for its time, but has largely gone unremembered by music fans, especially compared to “Hey Jude”, which is considered a timeless classic.