With the 55th Grammy Awards being handed out on Feb. 10 and the Beatles being nominated this year, it's worth noting that in 1965, they were a part of what “The Grammys: For the Record” author Thomas O'Neil calls “one of the most controversial – and some critics say, embarrassing” years in the awards' history.
The Fab Four experienced their first success with the awards for the year 1964. But the following year, the awards for 1965 were devastating for them. They were nominated a total of 10 times and came home completely empty.
And six of those 10 nominations were for "Yesterday," which Rolling Stone magazine listed in a poll as the 13th greatest song of all time. The song was nominated for "Record of the Year," losing to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass' “A Taste of Honey.” In the "Best Vocal Performance – Male" category, it lost again to Sinatra's “It Was a Very Good Year.” In "Song of the Year,” it lost to “The Shadow of Your Smile.” In two categories, "Best Contemporary Rock n' Roll Single" and "Best Contemporary Rock 'n' Roll Performance," it lost to Roger Miller's “King of the Road.” And in “Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist or Instrumentalist,” which nominated George Martin, it lost again to Sinatra arranger Gordon Jenkins for “It Was a Very Good Year.”
"Help!" was also a multiple loser. It was nominated for "Album of the Year," losing to Frank Sinatra's “September of My Years”; "Best Performance By a Vocal Group", losing to the Anita Kerr Quartet's "We Dig Mancini"; "Best Contemporary (R&R) Performance By a Group, Vocal Or Instrumental," losing to the Statler Brothers' "Flowers on the Wall" and "Best Original Score, Motion Picture or TV Show," losing to the Robert Arnbruster Orchestra for "The Sandpiper.”
Variety quoted Capitol Records executives as being very bitter. "One company exec said Capitol should walk out of the Academy," it reported.
Things started to improve the following year – the Beatles won three and lost three, but it's safe to say the awards for 1965 were ones the Beatles were very glad to forget.
- 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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