Worst Grammy Snubs of All Time

Posted by Shazy on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Worst Grammy Snubs of All Time
 The winners must have made sense at the time, to the people who give out the Grammys. But some of these snubs, including artists who have never gotten a Grammy, might just surprise you. Lady Gaga
Year: 2010
Apparently this megastar’s bad romance is with the Grammys. The reason for her snub even prompted a rule change.

Clapton over Nirvana

Year: 1992  
Nirvana sparked a fashion movement while blazing up the charts. But they still got no Grammy love for best rock song. Watch the video of the song that lost to the unplugged version of this Eric Clapton hit.

The Who

Year: 1970
This seminal rock band may have frightened the average Grammy voter the year their classic rock opera Tommy would have been considered for Record of the Year or Album of the Year. Instead we got The 5th Dimension and Blood, Sweat and Tears. No slouches there, but not in the running for Best Rock Band Ever.


Year: 1978
Few artists get credit for creating a whole genre of music, but this band’s popular hit was beat out by a guy who’d be in the Smooth Jazz category today. And he’s not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame like these once-snubbed stars.

Fresh Prince over Public Enemy

Year: 1989
Is it true that the Grammys are about five years behind pop culture? The yearthe Grammys unveiled their new category honoring rap music, a certain actor got the nod over Public Enemy. Most folks paying attention knew you don’t make friends by criticizing the media.

Jimi Hendrix

Year: 1968
Not only is he in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, he has a museum that was originally created to honor him! But no Grammys. The Grammy for Album of the Year did not go to Hendrix for this seminal LP, but to this album. Really. Maybe Hendrix needed to use more voodoo, child.

New Vaudeville Band over the Beatles, Beach Boys, Mamas and Papas

Year: 1966
In terms of who won the Grammy and who should have, there may be no bigger snub. Who the heck is the New Vaudeville Band? And they won Best Rock & Roll Recording? Recordings that lost: "We Can Work it Out", "Paperback Writer", "Good Vibrations", "Ain’t Too Proud to Beg", "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" … should I go on?

Jethro Tull over Metallica

Year: 1988
And the Grammy for Best Metal Performance goes to … a guy with a flute? Really? Ian Anderson probably laughed all the way back to his salmon farm about this one, but Metallica fans are probably still miffed.

Sam Cooke

Year: 1960
Hard to argue with Best Pop Vocal Performance (Male) that year.  Sam Cooke was nominated  for this timeless song, but the Grammy went to Ray Charles for this classic. Cooke might have won a Grammy in 1957 for his beautiful "You Send Me", but Grammy’s first year of awards was 1958. A snub indeed.

Steely Dan over Eminem and Radiohead

Year: 2000
If it had been 1972, Steely Dan would be a good guess to win Album of the Year. This year, Radiohead, sure. Eminem, yes. Steely Dan?!?  The listening public collectively scratched their heads.

A Taste of Honey over Elvis Costello

Year: 1978
One might argue that anything connected to lyrics that go "Boogie Oogie Oogie" should never win a Grammy, but this R&B soul bandgot the 1978 Grammy for Best New Artist Elvis Costello did not. He once even made a joke of it with an album title. Heard much from A Taste of Honey since then?


Year: 1975
How many stone-cold hits and classic songs did Queen need to release before getting their Grammy? Apparently there were never enough. And then they lost their lead vocalist to an untimely death, making their music that much more mythic.

Led Zeppelin

Year: 1971
You could scan the radio dial and hear a lot more of "Hammer of the Gods" than most Grammy winners, but this band joins that pantheon of greats in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with no Grammy Awards. Who won Song of the Year that year?
Diana Ross and the Supremes
Year: 1964
America’s most successful vocal group EVER never won a Grammy. The feminine soul of Motown was as popular worldwide as the Beatles in the mid-1960s and paved the way for future soul and R&B acts to break into the mainstream, but the Supremes were snubbed when their first huge hitdidn’t make the cut.

Christopher Cross over Frank Sinatra and Pink Floyd

Year: 1980
It has been called one of the Grammys’ worst calls. Pink Floyd, Frank Sinatra and Billy Joel (an unlikely trio) all must have watched in amazement as this humble Texan won Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist. Maybe the Grammy voters spent a lot of time in elevators that year.

Bob Marley

Year: 1980
No other artist can be credited with making reggae the worldwide phenomenon it became in the 1970s and ’80s. In death, he has achieved iconic status and it’s no surprise. That he never got a Grammy is an indictment of the process. One Love, Bob.

The Doors

Year: 1971
Another iconic group, another Grammy snub. Another vocalist who died young and mysteriously. Poetry is rarely popular, and Jim Morrison had the soul of a poet. Maybe that’s why Grammy voters never gave The Doors a statue. Maybe they were afraid of the trouble Jim might cause if he got on the stage.