Greatest Grammys Robberies of All Time

Grammys Robberies, Greatest Grammys Robberies of All Time, Grammys Snubs, Grammys, Recording Academy, Nominations, Nominees, WERS 88.9 FM
Graphics by Sarah Tarlin

With the 2024 Grammys just days away, our writing staff is reflecting on some of the most notable times the Recording Academy has failed to give credit where credit is due. The ‘Biggest Grammys Robberies’ featured below span from 1965 to the present day (*cough, cough* Mitski). Read on and uncover if these upsets feel as deeply personal to you as they do to us…

 

ELVIS COSTELLO — 15 NOMINATIONS, 2 WINS, BUT ROBBED OF BEST NEW ARTIST OF 1979

In 1979, two years after the release of Elvis Costello’s critically acclaimed rock album My Aim is True, he received a rightful nomination in the Grammys’ ‘Best New Artist’ category. The year brought a tough competition for musicians, with Toto and the Cars also being considered for the award. The title surprisingly went to disco band A Taste of Honey, who were popular for their song “Boogie Oogie Oogie.” While A Taste of Honey largely remained a one hit wonder, Costello continued to achieve success and write music in a variety of genres including punk, folk, pop and even jazz. Since this initial snub, Costello has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and been nominated for 15 other Grammys, two of which he won. So, needless to say, the Recording Academy may have misstepped by not choosing the songwriter as their best new artist. 

- Annie Sarlin, Staff Writer

 

BJÖRK — 16 NOMINATIONS, NO WINS

The fact that Björk hasn’t won any Grammys is more surreal than listening to her abstruse music. With a whopping 16 nominations under her belt, Björk has, too, become the subject of snubbing. From her albums Vespertine to Utopia, the Icelandic singer has yet to woo the Recording Academy and take home a win for her exemplary imprint on alternative music. Though many have said she has already crafted her magnum opus (i.e. Post and Homogenic) and her chances of winning a big Grammy are slim, Björk is a creative vessel that keeps on proliferating. There is hope that one day she’ll get up on stage to accept a Grammy wearing a swan suit and shrieking her speech into the mic. 

- Ash Jones, Staff Writer

 

NICKI MINAJ — 12 NOMINATIONS, NO WINS

One way or another she — she, being Nicki Minaj — has won your heart. Whether it be through the mega-popstar status she has carried for over two decades; her eccentric social media presence; or, her lyrics, which are so chock-full of satire they rival South Park… Nicki Minaj is a household name for a reason. While still releasing her own tracks, the fast-paced rap goddess simultaneously pens and performs songs for film and television. Her contributions to the cultural zeitgeist include original songs for movies such as Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Fifty Shades of Grey and — most recently — Barbie. With songs such as “Starships,” “Super Bass,” and “Anaconda,” Minaj has proven time and time again that she knows what the public wants to listen to. The Trinidadian rapper’s songs are witty, catchy and smart, but most importantly they’re FUN. This innate quality makes her and her hits so beloved. However, it makes it all the more shocking that she has zero wins at the Grammy Awards. Minaj has climbed the ranks in terms of international popstar status, especially given how well she has been able to maintain relevance and stay on the cutting edge of rap. Nicki is nominated at this year's Grammys for “Barbie World,” so let’s collectively hope she gets the credit she has been robbed of for so long! 

- Mason Standish, Staff Writer

 

FALL OUT BOY — 2 NOMINATIONS, 0 WINS 

Despite crossing into mainstream success with their 2005 hit “Sugar, We’re Goin Down,” pop-punk band Fall Out Boy hasn’t been too successful in the eyes of the Academy. The band has only been nominated twice since the release of their first album. They lost the ‘Best New Artist’ award to John Legend in 2006 at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards. Understandably, this is one of the biggest robberies of their career. To this day, From Under the Cork Tree remains one of their most popular and beloved albums, a staple in every emo catalog. Fall Out Boy’s 2019 nomination for ‘Best Rock Album’ — for their album Mania — losing to Greta Van Fleet’s From the Fires was a bit more understandable due to the album’s middle-of-the-road reception, but still a robbery nonetheless. The 2024 Grammys seem to have made the mistake of remembering to nominate the band for their most recent album So Much for Stardust. Despite its critical acclaim and chart success, I was dejected to learn that So Much for Stardust landed the band no nominations. Maybe next time, because “Believers Never Die.” 

- Ren Gibson, Staff Writer

 

MITSKI — 0 NOMINATIONS, 0 WINS 

On September 15th 2023, Mitski released her stunningly lush album The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We. However, despite receiving abundant praise from both fans and critics, the beloved indie musician did not receive a single Grammy nomination this year. Unfortunately, this is not the first time the Recording Academy has dismissed Mitski — the artist, who has been releasing music since 2010, has never received a Grammy nomination. If you are familiar with her discography, you understand how appalling this robbery truly is. Not only has Mitski reimagined and redefined the indie sound of today, but she has an admirably deep respect for her art that shines through in each and every one of her songs. From the haunting piano ballad “Liquid Smooth” on Lush, to the messy, fiery guitar on Bury Me At Makeout Creek’s “Townie,” to the 80s-inspired, synth-heavy pop goodness on “Love Me More” from Laurel Hell, Mitski can do it all, and most importantly, she manages to do it all flawlessly.

- Claire Dunham, Music Coordinator

 

DIANA ROSS — 13 NOMINATIONS, 0 WINS

At the dawn of a new decade — the ‘70s — rose forth a dazzling new solo artist. But it wasn’t an entirely foreign voice. 1970 was the year that Diana Ross debuted her first solo music since leaving Motown Records’ most commercially successful group, the all-girl trio that called themselves the Supremes. The second of those solo singles was a cover song, and a smash hit at that, called “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Her take rose to the top of the Billboard charts and earned her first-ever nod from the Grammys as a standalone artist. And there are strong grounds for these accomplishments. As she conveys the lyrics, Ross somehow holds tremendous levels of both grace and power. While a strong contender in the category of ‘Best Contemporary Vocal Performance from a Female Artist’ at the 13th annual Grammys, she did face some stiff competition. Dionne Warwick ultimately cost her the award with her win for “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again.” And while Warwick came forth with perhaps a more conventionally appealing sound, Ross’ performance was undervalued for just how delightfully disruptive it was. 

For a final, bonus Ross robbery (of which there are truly many), I bring you to the day that the 2023 Grammys nominations were announced to the public. A glaring omission from all possible awards related to visual media soundtracks was Minions: The Rise of Gru’s star-studded musical compilation, which featured hands-down the best collaborative song of the year: “Turn Up the Sunshine” by Diana Ross and Tame Impala. (Uncover what makes the collaboration so infectious by reading our Pick of the Week on “Turn Up the Sunshine” here!)

- Nora Onanian, Web Services Coordinator

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