It all started when the Fab Four made their first appearance at the Grammy Awards being handed out for 1964. Before this, rock 'n' roll in the Grammy Awards basically didn't exist. The Best New Artist nominees for 1963 were the Swingle Singers, Vikki Carr, John Gary, J's With Jamie and Trini Lopez.
And the more adult-friendly artists defined as rock 'n' roll by the Grammys reflected the fact that they and not young people were in control of the system. The best "Rock n' Roll Recording" nominees that year were Leslie Gore, Nino Tempo and April Stevens, Little Peggy March, Ruby & the Romantics and Chet Atkins.
But that changed with the '64 awards. Though they weren't nominated for Album of the Year, they were nominated for Best New Artist (also nominated: Petula Clark, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Astrud Gilberto and Morgana King), Record of the Year for “I Want To Hold Your Hand” as well as Song of the Year, Best Original Score Written For a Motion Picture or TV Show, Best Performance By a Vocal Group, Songwriter's Award and Best Rock 'n' Roll Recording, all for “A Hard Day's Night.”
The only statues they came away with were for Best New Artist, and Best Performance By a Vocal Group. More interesting, though, are their losses. They lost Record of the Year to Getz and Gilberto for "The Girl From Ipanema,” the Songwriter's Award to "Hello, Dolly!,” Best Original Score Written For a Motion Picture or TV Show to "Mary Poppins" and, perhaps most astonishing, the Best Rock 'n' Roll Recording to Petula Clark and "Downtown."
Also nominated that year and not winning: Stu Phillips for “The Beatles' Song Book.” That album lost to Henry Mancini and “The Pink Panther Theme.”
- Source: “The Grammys: For the Record” by Thomas O'Neil (Penguin Books).
- Source: On my Abbeyrd Beatles Page site The Beatles' (and solo Beatles) Grammy Awards, Academy Awards and Emmy Award Nominations, the most complete look at the Beatles' history of these awards anywhere on the internet.
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