Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: I read with interest your column on the many Grammys won by Adele.

Would you now please list some of the most famous artists who never won a single Grammy Award?
—Phil Conley, Niagara Falls, N.Y.

DEAR PHIL: I'm sure glad you said “some,” as a complete list of non-winners would be humongous. I will name names of some very “famous artists,” each of whom is as Grammy-worthy as some of the winners.

Because the inaugural Grammy Award nominees were for recordings released in 1958, though not announced until May 4, 1959, hundreds of stars from earlier years were just not eligible.

To remedy this unfortunate situation, the Recording Academy introduced a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1962, to honor selected pre-1958 “performers who made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording.”

A similar honor, named the Grammy Hall of Fame, exists specifically for songs and albums. Along with each enshrined title is a specific artist's name, though not necessarily the songwriter or the performer with the original version. These are simply the acts most associated with it by modern standards, such as honoring the Righteous Brothers' version of “Unchained Melody,” rather than Les Baxter's or Al Hibbler's.

Now for some legends who, if not for the Lifetime Achievement Award, would be Grammy-less. Up to two Hall of Fame titles, if any, follow each credited artist's name:

Eddy Arnold (HOF “Make the World Go Away”); Gene Autry (HOF “Back in the Saddle Again” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”); Carter Family (HOF “Wildwood Flower” and “Can the Circle Be Unbroken”); Enrico Caruso (HOF “Celest Aida” and “Vesti la Giubba”); Rosemary Clooney (HOF “Hey There”); Bing Crosby (HOF “White Christmas” and “Swinging on a Star”); Sammy Davis Jr. (HOF “What Kind of Fool Am I?”); Doris Day (HOF “Secret Love” and “Sentimental Journey”); Benny Goodman (HOF “And the Angels Sing” and “Moonglow”); Bill Haley and the Comets (HOF “Rock Around the Clock”); Billie Holiday (HOF “Embraceable You” and “God Bless the Child”); Robert Johnson (HOF “Cross Road Blues”); Glenn Miller (HOF “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and “In the Mood”); Mills Brothers (HOF “Paper Doll”); Bessie Smith (HOF “Empty Bed Blues” and “St. Louis Blues”); and Bob Wills (HOF “New San Antonio Rose”).

A few that are conspicuous by their absence in this category, at least so far, are: Mildred Bailey; Pat Boone; Connie Francis; Ink Spots (HOF “If I Didn't Care”); Platters (Featuring Tony Williams) (HOF “Only You” and “The Great Pretender”); Django Reinhardt (HOF “Djangology” and “Nuage”); Jimmie Rodgers (HOF “Blue Yodel”); Hank Snow (HOF “I'm Moving On”); Kay Starr (HOF “Wheel of Fortune”); Hank Thompson (HOF “The Wild Side of Life”); and Gene Vincent (HOF “Be-Bop-a-Lula”).

Each of these stars “made a creative contribution of outstanding artistic significance,” and is overdue for a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Now for those talented acts whose greatest success came in the Grammy era (1958 or later), but who have yet to win one: ABBA; Paul Anka; Brook Benton; Jimmy Buffett; Patsy Cline (HOF “Crazy” and “I Fall to Pieces”); Eddie Cochran (HOF “Summertime Blues”); Creedence Clearwater Revival (HOF “Proud Mary”); Dion (HOF “Runaround Sue” and, with the Belmonts, “I Wonder Why”); Drifters (HOF “Money Honey” and “Save the Last Dance for Me”); 4 Seasons; Connie Francis; Daryl Hall & John Oates; Sonny James; Jefferson Airplane/Starship (HOF “White Rabbit” and “Surrealistic Pillow” LP); Journey; Kinks (HOF “You Really Got Me”); Monkees; Moody Blues; Steve Miller Band; O'Jays; Buck Owens (HOF “I've Got a Tiger By the Tail”); Jim Reeves (HOF “He'll Have to Go”); Righteous Brothers (HOF “You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'” and “Unchained Melody”); Ventures; and Bobby Vinton.

IZ ZAT SO? Oh how they've grown. For the 1958 Grammys, 28 separate award categories were used.

For 2011, the Recording Academy's big night handed out Grammys in 74 categories.

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