New York — There was little doubt as to who should take home the album of the year Grammy in 1984. That was Michael Jackson with a little record called Thriller.
He won, of course, but the Recording Academy hasn't always been seen to make the right call over its 60 years. And you don't have to point to just Milli Vanilli to find some surprising decisions.
HERE ARE SOME OTHERS:
1. WHEN CHRISTOPHER CROSS' WIN GOT EVERYONE CONFUSED
The winner of album of the year honour in 1981 wasn't Barbra Streisand, Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra or Pink Floyd. The winner was soft rocker Christopher Cross, whose self-titled album contained the hit Sailing. Streisand's album Guilty gave us Woman in Love, the Joel record Glass Houses yielded You May Be Right; Don't Ask Me Why and It's Still Rock and Roll to Me, the Sinatra album Trilogy: Past, Present, Future contained his classic version of New York, New York and the double-LP The Wall is considered by Rolling Stone magazine to be among the top 100 greatest albums of all time. Cross actually won four Grammys that year and called it "a dream come true." It was a head-scratcher for many others.
WATCH CHRISTOPHER PERFORMING SAILING HERE:
2. THAT TIME GLEN CAMPBELL BEAT THE BEATLES
Glen Campbell's By the Time I Get to Phoenix won album of the year honours in 1969 and its title single was a huge hit for the country icon. The record beat out Jose Feliciano's acoustic covers in Felicano! and Richard Harris' A Tramp Shining (which had the massive hit MacArthur Park) but it also bested two rather fine projects: Simon & Garfunkel's Bookends — with the songs America and Mrs. Robinson — and the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour, with the songs I Am the Walrus, Penny Lane; All You Need Is Love and Strawberry Fields Forever. Rolling Stone named Bookends in its list of 500 greatest albums of all time and Magical Mystery Tour eventually went on to sell over six million copies in America alone.
WATCH THE VIDEO FOR STRAWBERRY FIELDS HERE:
3. THAT TIME THE BEATLES GOT SNUBBED AGAIN
No disrespect to Blood, Sweat & Tears, but it takes a pretty good album to beat both the Fab Four and the Man in Black in the same year. Sure, the jazz-rock band's self-titled album had the classic tune Spinning Wheel, but was their self-titled Blood, Sweat & Tears really a better album than Crosby, Stills and Nash; Johnny Cash at San Quentin; The Age of Aquarius or Abbey Road? In 1970, it apparently was. That's despite the Cash album having A Boy Named Sue, The 5th Dimension's album having Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In, the Crosby, Stills & Nash album being their well-regarded debut, and the Beatles' LP containing Come Together; Something and Here Comes the Sun.
LISTEN TO COME TOGETHER HERE:
4. A BITTER TASTE OF HONEY
Disco wasn't quite dead when A Taste of Honey managed to be crowned best new artist at the 1979 Grammys. A Taste of Honey? Yes, that was the band that gave the world Boogie Oogie Oogie. Who the band beat out is tremendous, with the gift of hindsight, of course: Elvis Costello, The Cars, Toto and Chris Rea. If the award was supposed to reward an up-and-coming music act, it failed. A Taste of Honey would never have another U.S. No. 1 hit. Meanwhile, Costello would blossom into one of the finest songwriters with such gems as Alison and Accidents Will Happen, The Cars influenced scores of artists with Just What I Needed and Drive, and Toto are still blessing the rains down in Africa. (Just to pour salt in the wound, other bands like Van Halen, XTC, Devo and Kate Bush were overlooked in the category that year).
LISTEN TO BOOGIE OOGIE OOGIE HERE:
5. WAIT, WHAT?
Not all the dubious choices were made long ago. One recent decision the Grammys might want to do-over was in 2014 when Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won best new artist honours. Looking back, it may not have been the wisest decision. The pair behind Thrift Shop, which has not aged very well, managed to beat out Ed Sheeran, whose albums now dominate the Billboard charts; acclaimed musician James Blake; Kacey Musgraves, who has blossomed into a pure country-pop star; and Kendrick Lamar, considered one of the most dynamic, exciting talents in hip-hop. The voting that year was also called into question when Macklemore & Lewis beat Lamar for best rap album; even Macklemore acknowledged Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city was better. He kept the award, though.
WACH THE VIDEO FOR THRIFT SHOP HERE:
6. WRONG METAL
The Grammys came late to the party when they introduced the brand new — but awkwardly titled — category of best hard rock/heavy metal recording in 1989. Metallica were nominated — and were favorites — for ... And Justice For All. It was up against AC/DC (Blow Up Your Video) Iggy Pop (Cold Metal) and Jane's Addiction (Nothing Shocking). But the award went to the folksy, flutey rock band Jethro Tull, whose Crest of a Knave was decidedly not a heavy metal record. The British rockers weren't even there at the ceremony to pick up their award, but the stunned response by award co-presenters Alice Cooper and Lita Ford was perfection. Cooper later said he had to tell the crowd he wasn't punking them.
WATCH JETHRO TULL PERFORM STEEL MONKEY:
7. OUT OF LEFT FIELD
In 2008, the album of the year award didn't go to Amy Winehouse's Back to Black or to the Foo Fighters' Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, Vince Gill's These Days or even Kanye West's mega-successful Graduation. It went to Herbie Hancock's album of Joni Mitchell covers, River: The Joni Letters, the first jazz album to win the album award in more than 50 years and the only title in Grammy history to win album of the year before it cracked the Billboard 100. The Winehouse album was her second — and last — and contained the hit Rehab, ending up on many critics' best of the year list and in Rolling Stone's 500 greatest albums of all time. West's album had Good Life and Stronger and achieved the highest first week sales week for any album in 2007. Both West and Winehouse left the Grammys with awards — but not the big one.
WATCH AMY WINEHOUSE'S BREAKTHOUGH VIDEO FOR HER SONG REHAB HERE:
The 60th Annual Grammy Awards, hosted by James Corden, will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Sunday, 28 January.