Memorable Grammy Moments from Every Year in Grammy History

Arguably the most prestigious music awards, the Grammy Awards are relatively new when it comes to awards ceremonies.

Whereas the Academy Awards began in 1929 and the Emmys commenced in 1949, the first Grammys weren’t held until 1959. Subsequent celebrations aired according to plan until the COVID-19 pandemic's 2020 arrival, which prompted the Academy to postpone the awards for two years in a row—in 2021 and 2022, respectively—due to health and safety concerns.

The creation of the Grammy Awards was inspired by the Hollywood Walk of Fame project, which brought about a renewed interest in the music and recording industry. As a result, the Recording Academy created what was then called the Gramophone Awards to honor the best composers, musicians, songwriters, and producers.

1959: The inaugural Grammy Award On May 4, 1959, the first Grammy Awards were held in hotel ballrooms in Los Angeles and New York City. Running simultaneously, the black-tie events honored stars like Ella Fitzgerald, David Seville and the Chipmunks, and Domenico Modugno.

1959: The first Grammys television special

The year 1959 saw not one but two Grammy Awards. The second awards ceremony, which took place in November of that year, was shown on television as a pre-recorded “NBC Sunday Showcase” hosted by Meredith Wilson, writer of the Broadway hit “The Music Man.” 

1961: A genius recognized Ray Charles all but swept the third annual Grammy Awards, held in April 1961. The musician took home four awards in total: Best Vocal Performance Single Record Or Track, Male (“Georgia On My Mind”); Best Vocal Performance Album, Male (“The Genius of Ray Charles”); 

1962: Judy at Carnegie Hall

Judy Garland took the stage in a 1961 performance at Carnegie Hall that has been called “perfection” and lauded as “the greatest night in show business history.”

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