47 of the best albums in history that weren't nominated for album of the year at the Grammys

Duncan LoudonMany thought The Weeknd’s ‘After Hours’ was a frontrunner for album of the year at the 2021 Grammy Awards.
  • The most prestigious category at the Grammys is album of the year (AOTY).
  • Some of the most beloved albums in history, however – like Rihanna’s “Anti,” Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” and The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” – weren’t even up for the award.
  • Most recently, Fiona Apple’s “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” and The Weeknd’s “After Hours” were both snubbed by the Recording Academy for the 2021 nominations.
  • The 47 best albums of all time that weren’t nominated in this category are listed below, in reverse chronological order.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

As you’ll often hear artists proclaim, it’s an honour just to be nominated at the Grammy Awards.

If true, then the greatest honour is to be nominated for album of the year (often abbreviated as AOTY), which is widely seen as the ceremony’s most prestigious category. As the Washington Post notes, it’s “a prize whose responsibility to bottle the zeitgeist is right there in its name.”

Some of the most beloved albums in the Grammys’ near 63-year history, however, didn’t simply lose a bid for the coveted trophy. A shocking number — including seminal projects like Rihanna’s “Anti,” Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” and The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” — weren’t even up for the award.

We rounded up the 47 best albums of all time that weren’t nominated for AOTY. They’re listed below in reverse chronological order.


Fiona Apple’s “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” is a feral, oft-unsettling, truly singular piece of art.

Epic Records/Sony Music‘Fetch the Bolt Cutters’ was released on April 17, 2020.

Year: 2021, at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees: “Black Pumas” by Black Pumas, “Chilombo” by Jhené Aiko, “Djesse Vol. 3” by Jacob Collier, “Everyday Life” by Coldplay, “Folklore” by Taylor Swift, “Future Nostalgia” by Dua Lipa, “Hollywood’s Bleeding” by Post Malone, and “Women in Music Pt. III” by HAIM

Perhaps Fiona Apple’s greatest charm as a songwriter and artist is how little effort she can exert to create something inimitable. She used a phone selfie she’d taken off-handedly “two or three years ago” for the album’s cover art; in the middle of recording “On I Go,” she messed up and mumbled, “Ah, f—, s—.” She kept it in the song.

“Fetch the Bolt Cutters” seems to exist on its own planet, with its own climate and timezone. It doesn’t quite sound like anything else, and it certainly isn’t trying to.

It’s also the most rapturously reviewed album of 2020, by far. It has a Metacritic score of 98/100. Pitchfork gave it an almost-unheard-of perfect rating. Various New York Times critics hailed Apple for her “casually wise,” “fearless,” “artfully unguarded anthology.”

I, myself, described it as an “unfettered masterpiece.”

I cannot fathom what caused such a truly appalling snub, but “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” should have been a shoo-in for AOTY.

Instead, it was only nominated for best alternative music album. “Shameika” was also deservingly nominated for best rock song and best rock performance.


The Weeknd’s “After Hours” is a deeply engaging, elaborate character study with impeccable production.

XO Records/Republic Records‘After Hours’ was released on March 20, 2020.

Year: 2021, at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees: “Black Pumas” by Black Pumas, “Chilombo” by Jhené Aiko, “Djesse Vol. 3” by Jacob Collier, “Everyday Life” by Coldplay, “Folklore” by Taylor Swift, “Future Nostalgia” by Dua Lipa, “Hollywood’s Bleeding” by Post Malone, and “Women in Music Pt. III” by HAIM

“After Hours” is so immersive and sensory that it’s almost more gloom-pop opera than album.

The Weeknd went all-in with this melodramatic, self-destructive character arc, almost akin to a Broadway star, and you’re invested in his downfall before you even know it.

Listening to “After Hours” is a 56-minute commitment every time because you can’t afford to miss a second; you’d never leave the theatre in the middle of one of Hamlet’s existentialist soliloquies.

Not to mention, “Blinding Lights” is an absolute smash. (It could and should have won record of the year.)

But somehow, despite creating the most ambitious – and arguably most venerated – album of his career, The Weeknd became the most-snubbed artist of the 63rd Grammy Awards.

He received an outrageous, hideous total of zero nominations.


Tyler, the Creator’s “Igor” was relegated to best rap album, despite its genre-bending and innovative sound.

Columbia Records‘Igor’ was released on May 17, 2019.

Year: 2020, at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “7” by Lil Nas X, “Cuz I Love You (Deluxe)” by Lizzo, “Father of the Bride” by Vampire Weekend, “I, I” by Bon Iver, “I Used To Know Her” by H.E.R., “Norman F—ing Rockwell!” by Lana Del Rey, “Thank U, Next” by Ariana Grande, and “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” by Billie Eilish

If the Grammys wanted to honour innovative Black music at the 2020 ceremony, “Igor” was the clear choice.

Instead, voters went for “7” by Lil Nas X, a seven-song EP that only hints at the young hitmaker’s potential. Compared to Tyler, the Creator’s best and most ambitious album yet, “7” is undercooked at best.

“Igor” was shut out of the major three categories and relegated to best rap album, in which it handily won – but seemed out of place.

“On the one side, I am very grateful that what I made can be acknowledged in a world like this,” Tyler told reporters. “But it sucks that whenever we, and I mean guys that look like me, do anything that’s genre-bending or anything, they always put it in a rap or urban category.”


“Sweetener” marked Ariana Grande’s arrival as an unequivocal pop icon.

Republic Records‘Sweetener’ was released on August 17, 2018.

Year: 2019, at the 61st annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “Beerbongs & Bentleys” by Post Malone, the “Black Panther” soundtrack, “By the Way, I Forgive You” by Brandi Carlile, “Dirty Computer” by Janelle Monáe, “Golden Hour” by Kacey Musgraves, “H.E.R.” by H.E.R., “Invasion of Privacy” by Cardi B, and “Scorpion” by Drake

“Sweetener” wasn’t simply Ariana Grande’s comeback album, proof that she could still crank out optimistic hits in the face of trauma. Rather, “Sweetener” was a rebirth, the work of a modern icon approaching her creative peak.

By many accounts, including Grande’s, it had been her best album to date.

Thankfully, “Sweetener” did win the award for best pop vocal album, but it was shut out of the major categories, including AOTY.

The album’s standout single “God Is a Woman” also lost its nomination for best pop solo performance.


“Ctrl” by SZA is elegant, aching, and captivating.

Top Dawg Entertainment‘Ctrl’ was released on June 9, 2017.

Year: 2018, at the 60th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold):“24K Magic” by Bruno Mars, “4:44” by Jay-Z, “Awaken, My Love!” by Childish Gambino, “Damn.” by Kendrick Lamar, and “Melodrama” by Lorde

2018 marked the first year in Grammys history that no white men were nominated for AOTY. Hip-hop, rap, and R&B dominated the ceremony – the perfect time to go all-in and reaffirm SZA’s rise as a modern-day neo-soul genius.

Indeed, the Recording Academy was surprisingly close to getting it right this year, at least in terms of nominations. “Ctrl” earned SZA her first five Grammy nods, including best urban contemporary album.

So close.

But she lost all five and didn’t even get to compete for the top honour, which is honestly embarrassing (for them, not for her).


“Anti” cemented Rihanna as a visionary and an album artist, transcending her reputation as a hitmaker.

Westbury Road Entertainment/Roc Nation Records‘Anti’ was released on January 27, 2016.

Year: 2017, at the 59th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold):“25” by Adele, “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” by Sturgill Simpson, “Lemonade” by Beyoncé, “Purpose” by Justin Bieber, and “Views” by Drake

Somehow, the Recording Academy managed to hand Rihanna eight nominations in 2017, including six for her monumental eighth album “Anti,” but failed to nominate her in the biggest category – and failed to give her any actual awards.

Fair enough, “Anti” lost for best urban contemporary album to Beyoncé’s “Lemonade.”

But after creating one of the decade’s most compelling artistic statements, Rihanna at least deserved to be included in the ceremony’s slate of top-tier albums – and certainly deserved an AOTY nomination over the likes of Justin Bieber (“Purpose” was great but “Anti” was way better), Drake (“Views” was good but inconsistent), or Sturgill freaking Simpson (no comment).


Frank Ocean’s “Blonde” is a masterpiece.

Boys Don’t Cry‘Blonde’ was released on August 20, 2016.

Year: 2017, at the 59th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold):“25” by Adele, “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” by Sturgill Simpson, “Lemonade” by Beyoncé, “Purpose” by Justin Bieber, and “Views” by Drake

OK, so this one actually wasn’t the Recording Academy’s fault.Frank Ocean declined to submit his career-defining masterpiece for Grammy consideration, even after he was reportedly encouraged by producers to change his mind.

“I think the infrastructure of the awarding system and the nomination system and screening system is dated,” he later explained to the New York Times. “I’d rather this be my Colin Kaepernick moment for the Grammys than sit there in the audience.”


Solange’s “A Seat at the Table” is a stunning portrait of Black womanhood.

Columbia Records‘A Seat at the Table’ was released on September 30, 2016.

Year: 2017, at the 59th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold):“25” by Adele, “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” by Sturgill Simpson, “Lemonade” by Beyoncé, “Purpose” by Justin Bieber, and “Views” by Drake

Solange did win best R&B performance for “Cranes in the Sky,” but that’s not saying much when you consider that it should have been nominated for both record and song of the year; Insider previously ranked it at No. 14 on our list of the decade’s best songs.

It’s even more haunting that “A Seat at the Table” failed to get any recognition as an album – despite being one of the most intimate and culturally relevant pieces of art in recent memory.


Tame Impala’s “Currents” is the work of a singular musical genius.

Modular Recordings‘Currents’ was released on July 17, 2015.

Year: 2016, at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold):“1989” by Taylor Swift, “Beauty Behind the Madness” by The Weeknd, “Sound & Colour” by Alabama Shakes, “To Pimp a Butterfly” by Kendrick Lamar, and “Traveller” by Chris Stapleton

Despite Kevin Parker’s spotless reputation as a musical genius, Tame Impala has only ever received two Grammy nominations, and has never won: 2012’s “Lonerism” and 2015’s “Currents” both lost their bids for best alternative music album.

The psychedelic and eerily accessible “Currents” – widely considered to be a defining album of the decade – was beaten by Alabama Shakes’ “Sound & Colour,” which also received a nod for AOTY.

But both albums deserved the chance to compete for the ceremony’s highest honour.


“Emotion” sent Carly Rae Jepsen into the pop stratosphere.

School Boy/Interscope Records‘Emotion’ was released on June 24, 2015.

Year: 2016, at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold):“1989” by Taylor Swift, “Beauty Behind the Madness” by The Weeknd, “Sound & Colour” by Alabama Shakes, “To Pimp a Butterfly” by Kendrick Lamar, and “Traveller” by Chris Stapleton

Carly Rae Jepsen has only ever gotten Grammys recognition for her smash hit, “Call Me Maybe,” which was nominated for song of the year and best pop solo performance in 2013.

But as anyone who’s heard “Emotion” knows, Jepsen is far more than a one-hit wonder. Insider previously ranked it as the 14th best album of the decade.

Alas, Jepsen was completely shut out of the 2016 Grammy Awards, when “Emotion” (and its standout track, “Run Away With Me”) would have been eligible.


Lorde’s debut album, “Pure Heroine,” is worth far more than the runaway success of “Royals.”

Universal Music NZ Ltd.‘Pure Heroine’ was released on September 27, 2013.

Year: 2014, at the 56th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “The Blessed Unrest” by Sara Bareilles, “good kid, m.A.A.d city” by Kendrick Lamar, “The Heist” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis,“Random Access Memories” by Daft Punk, “Red” by Taylor Swift

Lorde was nominated for four Grammys in 2014 and won two: song of the year and best pop solo performance for her breakout hit “Royals.”

Of course, “Royals” deserved everything it got (and more), but the song is just one piece of Lorde’s influential debut.

“Pure Heroine” – another decade-defining yet underappreciated album, ranked at No. 11 on Insider’s list – lost its bid for best pop solo album to Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox.”

It didn’t even get the chance to compete for AOTY, overlooked in favour of inferior albums by Sara Bareilles and Macklemore.

Now, “Pure Heroine” wouldn’t have been the top contender (or rightful winner) in that category; that honour belongs to Taylor Swift’s “Red.” But especially in retrospect, its absence seems disrespectful to Lorde’s impact on the modern wave of electro-pop.


“AM” by the Arctic Monkeys is arguably the best rock album of the 2010s.

Domino Recording Co Ltd‘AM’ was released on September 9, 2013.

Year: 2014, at the 56th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “The Blessed Unrest” by Sara Bareilles, “good kid, m.A.A.d city” by Kendrick Lamar, “The Heist” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis,“Random Access Memories” by Daft Punk, “Red” by Taylor Swift

Grammy voters really stumbled in 2014.

Prominent on the list of baffling decisions that year, which includes Daft Punk’s triumph over Taylor Swift for AOTY and Macklemore beating Kendrick Lamar for best rap album: Arctic Monkeys received just one measly nomination for the band’s best album to date.

Standout single “Do I Wanna Know?” was nominated for best rock performance, but “AM” wasn’t even nominated for best rock album.

“AM” remains one of the most glamorous, masterful rock albums in recent memory – created by one of this century’s most celebrated bands.

It had all the makings of a no-brainer AOTY nominee.


“Take Care” made Drake a legend who redefined the relationship between rap and pop.

Cash Money Records Inc.‘Take Care’ was released on November 15, 2011.

Year: 2013, at the 55th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “Babel” by Mumford & Sons, “Blunderbuss” by Jack White, “Channel Orange” by Frank Ocean, “El Camino” by The Black Keys, and “Some Nights” by Fun.

It is truly mind-boggling that “Views” and “Scorpion” could be nominated for AOTY but “Take Care,” easily Drake’s best album to date, was relegated to rap categories.

“Take Care” did earn Drake his first-ever Grammy for best rap album, but the renowned album deserved far more for redefining the genre – as well as the landscape of pop music – as we know it.


“My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” is Kanye West’s magnum opus.

Roc-A-Fella Records‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ was released on November 22, 2010.

Year: 2012, at the 54th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “21” by Adele, “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga, “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” by Bruno Mars, “Loud” by Rihanna, and “Wasting Light” by the Foo Fighters

Kanye West won best rap album for “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” in 2012, as well as best rap song and best rap/sung collaboration for one of its many standout tracks, “All of the Lights.”

But after three straight AOTY nominations for less impressive, less innovative bodies of work (“The College Dropout” in 2005, “Late Registration” in 2006, and “Graduation” in 2008), it makes little sense why the Recording Academy failed to nominate his magnum opus.

“MBDTF” shouldn’t have simply been nominated; it should have won.

It remains West’s most beloved and critically acclaimed album to date, and numerous publications went on to rank it as one of the decade’s defining albums, including Insider (No. 6), Stereogum (No. 4), Pitchfork (No. 2), Complex (No. 1), and Rolling Stone (No. 1).


Robyn’s “Body Talk” was light-years ahead of its time.

Konichiwa Records‘Body Talk’ was released on November 22, 2010.

Year: 2012, at the 54th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “21” by Adele, “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga, “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” by Bruno Mars, “Loud” by Rihanna, and “Wasting Light” by the Foo Fighters

The incomparable, revolutionary “Body Talk” was Robyn’s first album as an independent artist and it paved the way for an entire decade of pop music.

But not only did the Recording Academy fail to nominate the album for any awards, Robyn also failed to win for either of its standout tracks: “Dancing on My Own” (the best song of the 2010s, which received one measly nod for best dance recording) and “Call Your Girlfriend” (also nominated for best dance recording).


Beyoncé’s “4” is the perfect R&B album.

Columbia Records‘4’ was released on June 24, 2011.

Year: 2012, at the 54th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “21” by Adele, “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga, “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” by Bruno Mars, “Loud” by Rihanna, and “Wasting Light” by the Foo Fighters

Beyoncé’s “4” gets better and better with every listen, and has only grown in critical acclaim over the years.

But even when the 2012 Grammy nominations were announced, everyone knew that Beyoncé hadn’t just been snubbed. No, she’d been downright disrespected with zero (ZERO!) nominations.

“It would be easy enough to make a case that ‘4’ should be a contender for album of the year,” John Mitchell wrote for MTV at the time. “Its Metacritic rating of 73 is better than four of the nominated albums, and while music critics are far from definitive, consensus acclaim shouldn’t be overlooked – but we would have settled for Best R&B Album because, well, it’s the perfect R&B album.”


“Bon Iver” is one of the most acclaimed and immortal albums in recent memory.

Jagjaguwar‘Bon Iver’ was released on June 17, 2011.

Year: 2012, at the 54th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “21” by Adele, “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga, “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” by Bruno Mars, “Loud” by Rihanna, and “Wasting Light” by the Foo Fighters

2012 was a big year for Justin Vernon, aka Bon Iver; he won best new artist and best alternative music album. “Holocene” was also nominated for record of the year.

But his mesmerising sophomore album, which catapulted him to mainstream stardom, was passed over for an AOTY nomination.

“Bon Iver” is a timeless album that grows more revered with each year – but it also received rare universal praise at the time of its release.


“Teen Dream” by Beach House is easily one of the best indie-pop albums of all time.

Sub Pop Records‘Teen Dream’ was released on January 26, 2010.

Year: 2011, at the 55th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “The Fame Monster” by Lady Gaga, “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum, “Recovery” by Eminem, “The Suburbs” by Arcade Fire, “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry

Believe it or not, Beach House has never once been nominated for a Grammy.

Nope, not even for their third studio album “Teen Dream,” which some critics have hailed as one of the best albums of all time.

As Quinn Moreland wrote for Pitchfork, which ranked “Teen Dream” at No. 21 on a list of the decade’s best albums, the band “amplified their dream pop” to create an immersive listening experience that swirls with passion and melancholy: “It’s the sound of a band pulling back the veil of composure and unleashing the emotional intensity that has long been bubbling beneath the surface.”


“Kala” by M.I.A. was an international sample platter of sounds, seasoned with sharp cultural analysis.

XL Recordings‘Kala’ was released on August 8, 2007.

Year: 2008, at the 50th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace” by Foo Fighters, “Graduation” by Kanye West, “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse, “River: The Joni Letters” by Herbie Hancock, “These Days” by Vince Gill

M.I.A. was sampling global beats before Drake had even left “Degrassi,” blending rap flows and hostile-sounding pop before Billie Eilish had turned 6 years old, and making bold political statements in her music way before it became trendy.

The British-Sri Lankan artist’s sophomore album, “Kala,” was ahead of the curve for many reasons. But that’s not to say it wasn’t appreciated in its time. Rolling Stone named “Kala”the best album of 2007, and later ranked it the ninth-best album of the decade.

“Paper Planes” – the album’s smash hit that took aim at both excessive celebrity culture and American society’s fear of immigrants – was nominated for record of the year in 2009, thanks to its rerelease as a single.

But “Kala” was eligible in 2008, and didn’t receive a hint of recognition.


“Illinois” by Sufjan Stevens is a nuanced concept album that is unlike any other.

Asthmatic Kitty‘Illinois’ was released on July 4, 2005.

Year: 2006, at the 48th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard” by Paul McCartney, “The Emancipation of Mimi” by Mariah Carey, “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” by U2, “Late Registration” by Kanye West, and “Love. Angel. Music. Baby.” by Gwen Stefani

Sufjan Stevens didn’t receive his first Grammy nomination until 2019 – over a decade after releasing his celebrated album “Illinois.” (His solitary nomination was for best song written for visual media, by the way, and he lost.)

The thoughtful, tender complexity of “Illinois” was generously praised upon release and has continued to grow in acclaim. It landed on numerous best-of-the-decade lists, including Rolling Stone (No. 78), NME (No. 17), and Paste Magazine (No. 1), and is widely considered to be one of history’s finest folk-pop albums.


Jay-Z’s “The Blueprint” had an astounding impact on the future of rap.

Roc-A-Fella Records‘The Blueprint’ was released on September 11, 2001.

Year: 2002, at the 44th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “Acoustic Soul” by India.Arie, “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” by U2, “Love and Theft” by Bob Dylan, the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack, “Stankonia” by OutKast

Jay-Z has been nominated for AOTY only once: in 2018, for “4:44.”

For such a prolific and deeply respected artist, this is an obvious oversight.

But the 44th Grammy Awards yielded the most egregious snubbing of his career by far, considering “The Blueprint” is widely thought to be Jay-Z’s best album – not to mention one of the best rap albums of all time.

Jay-Z received just three nominations in 2002, including best rap album, but lost all three.

If “The Blueprint” had been nominated for AOTY, it arguably deserved to win.


The Strokes helped create the model for modern rock with their debut album, “Is This It.”

The Strokes‘Is This It’ was released on July 30, 2001.

Year: 2002, at the 44th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “Acoustic Soul” by India.Arie, “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” by U2, “Love and Theft” by Bob Dylan, the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack, “Stankonia” by OutKast

It’s difficult to overstate the influence of “Is This It” on modern rock music – both in its creation and its reception.

The Strokes’ debut has been cited as a direct influence by everyone from Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner to The Killers’ Brandon Flowers.

And as The Guardian’s Garry Mulholland notes, pop stars – particularly those “who are gleefully rediscovering disco, electro and synth-pop” – also owe the album a debt of gratitude.

“The commercial success of ‘Is This It’ made every forgotten art-pop experiment of the late 70s and early 80s instantly hip and ripe for reinvention,” he wrote in 2009.

Absurdly, “Is This It” did not receive any recognition from the Recording Academy.

In fact, to this day, The Strokes still don’t have a single Grammy nomination.


“13” is Blur’s “most rewarding, enduring, and evocative” album.

Parlophone Records Ltd.’13’ was released on March 15, 1999.

Year: 2000, at the 42nd annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “FanMail” by TLC, “Fly” by the Chicks, “Millennium” by the Backstreet Boys,“Supernatural” by Santana, and “When I Look in Your Eyes” by Diana Krall

Blur’s seminal album was created amidst personal heartbreak and cultural transformation; frontman Damon Albarn had recently ended a long-term relationship, and the euphoric era of Britpop was clearly experiencing a comedown.

This challenging atmosphere allowed Albarn to write his most spectacular album ever.

As Stereogum’s Ryan Leas describes, “13” was “frazzled and harrowing and adventurous in ways no other Blur album before or since has matched … it seemed, definitively, to solidify the notion of Blur as true artists.”

But “13” was completely ignored by the Recording Academy, much as Blur had always been. The beloved band has only ever received one nomination: for best long-form music video in 2010.


“Homogenic” by Björk may be the best electronic album of all time.

Elektra Entertainment‘Homogenic’ was released on September 22, 1997.

Year: 1998, at the 40th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “The Day” by Babyface, “Flaming Pie” by Paul McCartney, “This Fire” by Paula Cole, “Time Out of Mind” by Bob Dylan, and “OK Computer” by Radiohead

Björk has somehow been nominated for 15 total Grammy Awards and has never won.

And despite six nominations for best alternative music album, she has never been nominated for AOTY. Her best album, “Homogenic,” wasn’t nominated for anything at all.

Björk, already a noted musical genius in 1997, received profuse praise when “Homogenic” was released – and the album’s reputation has continued to thrive.

The Washington Post described it in 2018 as “a superhuman blast of avant-pop that we’re still catching up to,” while Sal Cinquemani noted in a five-star retroactive review for Slant: “If not the greatest electronic album of all time, it’s certainly the greatest of its decade.”


“(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?” by Oasis was both a hit and an artistic force.

Big Brother Recordings Ltd‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’ was released on October 2, 1995.

Year: 1997, at the 39th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold):“Falling Into You” by Celine Dion, “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” by the Smashing Pumpkins, “Odelay” by Beck, “The Score” by Fugees, and the “Waiting to Exhale” soundtrack

These days, everyone can sing along to “Wonderwall,” but Oasis’ entire sophomore album was a smash hit as soon as it landed.

It became the UK’s third best-selling album in history, thrust the Manchester brothers into superstardom – and is now known as “one of the seminal releases of the 1990s Britpop movement,” according to the Grammy Awards website itself.

“Wonderwall” was nominated for best rock performance by a duo or group (one of the band’s measly total of two nominations), but confusingly, “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?” didn’t get any love as an album at all.


Fiona Apple wrote all 10 extraordinary songs on her debut album “Tidal.”

Sony‘Tidal’ was released on July 23, 1996.

Year: 1997, at the 39th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold):“Falling Into You” by Celine Dion, “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness” by the Smashing Pumpkins, “Odelay” by Beck, “The Score” by Fugees, and the “Waiting to Exhale” soundtrack

As far as I can tell, Apple’s mythical songwriting ability did not develop over time: It burst into existence with “Tidal,” an album that feels emotionally equivalent to the Big Bang.

Apple’s deeply honest lyrics are drawn from intense personal trauma, mental illness, and a famously astute belief that this patriarchal world is complete “bulls—.” She was just 18 years old when the album was released.

Combine Apple’s perceptive powers with her Herculean voice and boldly percussive production, “Tidal” should have won AOTY in 1997.

But it wasn’t nominated for a single Grammy Award.

Thanks to the rerelease of “Criminal” as a single, Apple earned her first three Grammy nominations in 1998: best rock song, best female rock vocal performance, and best new artist.


“Illmatic” by Nas is one of the most beloved rap albums ever.

Columbia Records‘Illmatic’ was released on April 19, 1994.

Year: 1995, at the 37th Annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “From the Cradle” by Eric Clapton, “Longing in Their Hearts” by Bonnie Raitt, “MTV Unplugged” by Tony Bennett, “Seal” by Seal, “The 3 Tenors in Concert 1994” by José Carreras, Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti with Zubin Mehta

Nas has been nominated by the Recording Academy 13 times, but has never won.

Even more strangely, not one of those nominations was for “Illmatic,” the rapper’s quintessential work. It was recently ranked No. 44 on Rolling Stone’s revised list of the best albums of all time.

“Other rappers were harder and brasher, but nobody captured the creeping menace of life on the streets like this 20-year-old from New York’s Queensbridge projects,” the magazine’s critics wrote. “‘Illmatic’ was an instant classic that never crossed over, which only deepened its myth with hip-hop heads.”


“Nevermind” by Nirvana is the cornerstone grunge rock album of our time.

Geffen Records‘Nevermind’ was released on September 24, 1991.

Year: 1992, at the 34th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “Heart in Motion” by Amy Grant, “Luck of the Draw” by Bonnie Raitt, “Out of Time” by R.E.M., “The Rhythm of the Saints” by Paul Simon,“Unforgettable… With Love” by Natalie Cole

You need only be a casual music fan to understand the impact of Nirvana’s “Nevermind.” But it received a singular, offensively inadequate nomination for best alternative music album, and lost to R.E.M.’s “Out of Time.”

The album’s iconic lead single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” also lost both of its nominations (for best rock song and best hard rock performance), even though it was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

In fact, Nirvana just received five Grammy nominations during Kurt Cobain’s lifetime, and none were in the “Big Four” categories.

The band’s sixth nomination and solitary win – best alternative music performance for their live album, “MTV Unplugged In New York” – were bestowed only after Cobain’s 1994 suicide.


Madonna proved her versatility and culture-shaking power with “Like a Virgin.”

Warner Records‘Like a Virgin’ was released on November 12, 1984.

Year: 1986, at the 28th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “Brothers in Arms” by Dire Straits, “The Dream of the Blue Turtles” by USA for Africa, “No Jacket Required” by Phil Collins, “We Are the World” by Sting, “Whitney Houston” by Whitney Houston

The Recording Academy dismissing a fearless woman who makes pristine pop music? Shocker.

As Richards noted for the Washington Post, Madonna deserved to take home the Grammys’ top prize for her adventurous, irresistible, historic sophomore album.

Instead, she received a solitary nomination for best pop vocal performance, female, and lost.

“‘Like a Virgin’ transformed Madonna from a promising pop singer into a national phenomenon,” Richards wrote. “But if she had won album of the year in 1986 – and, of course, she wasn’t even nominated – she would have been just the fourth female solo artist to take that honour in the 28-year history of the Grammys.”


New Order’s “Power Corruption and Lies” is a pristine ’80s dance album.

Warner Records‘Power Corruption and Lies’ was released on May 2, 1983.

Year: 1984, at the 26th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “An Innocent Man” by Billy Joel, the “Flashdance” soundtrack, “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie, “Synchronicity” by The Police, and “Thriller” by Michael Jackson

With just eight songs, each as flawlessly melodic and danceable as the last, “Power Corruption and Lies” is both accessible and wholly original. Few (if any) synth-pop albums from the ’80s have aged quite so well.

It was lauded at the time of its release, but “Power Corruption and Lies” didn’t receive any recognition at the 26th annual Grammys – not even for its influential and innovative hit single, “Blue Monday.”

In fact, New Order wouldn’t receive a nomination for another 20 years. The band was finally nominated for best dance recording in 2006, but lost to The Chemical Brothers.


“Nebraska” is Bruce Springsteen’s “darkest, finest hour.”

Columbia‘Nebraska’ was released on September 30, 1982.

Year: 1983, at the 25th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “American Fool” by John Cougar, “The Nightfly” by Donald Fagen, “The Nylon Curtain” by Billy Joel, “Toto IV” by Toto, “Tug of War” by Paul McCartney

Bruce Springsteen is not bereft of Grammys love; he boasts a round pot of 50 nods and a whopping 20 wins.

Interestingly, however, “The Boss” has never won for AOTY – and his best album, “Nebraska,” didn’t receive any nominations at all.

“We can still hear Toto’s legacy at karaoke night, but Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Nebraska’ sounds a lot more like an AOTY winner by contemporary standards – intimate, introspective and spare,” the Washington Post’s Chris Richards wrote in 2018.

“But Springsteen has always been of his time, never ahead of it,” Richards added. “He was a star in 1983 and ‘Nebraska’ was his darkest, finest hour.”


“London Calling” by The Clash is a potent dose of perceptive punk rock.

Sony‘London Calling’ was released on December 14, 1979.

Year: 1981, at the 23rd annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold):“Christopher Cross” by Christopher Cross, “Glass Houses” by Billy Joel, “Guilty” by Barbra Streisand, “Trilogy: Past Present Future” by Frank Sinatra, and “The Wall” by Pink Floyd

The Clash was probably doing too much to secure a win from notoriously stuffy Recording Academy voters, but “London Calling” at least deserved a nod for AOTY – a fact they acknowledged in 2007, when the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

“London Calling” peaked within the top 10 in the UK, spawned a global punk-rock hit, and was called “the first important rock album of the 1980’s” by the New York Times upon release.

Its reputation as a politically charged, energetic, ingenious milestone has only grown stronger over time.


“Unknown Pleasures” by Joy Division is a paragon of avant-garde melancholy.

Warner Music UK‘Unknown Pleasures’ was released on June 15, 1979.

Year: 1980, at the 22nd annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “52nd Street” by Billy Joel, “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer, “Breakfast in America” by Supertramp, “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers, and “Minute by Minute” by The Doobie Brothers

Joy Division is one of those bands that’s transcended music and become a symbol of cool, impeccable taste. But it’s also one of those bands that actually had the chops to earn that legacy.

“The band’s debut ‘Unknown Pleasures,’ originally released in 1979, is simply one of the best records ever made,” NME wrote in 2007, “and is still powerful enough to floor you 28 years on.”

Can confirm: It’s actually still powerful enough to floor you 41 years on.

Tragically, “Unknown Pleasures” was brushed aside by the Recording Academy.

Lead singer and lyricist Ian Curtis committed suicide the same year the album was eligible, and Joy Division was never nominated for a Grammy in its short but incredible existence.


“Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols” by the Sex Pistols proved to be a transformative force in rock music.

Warner Records‘Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols’ was released on October 28, 1977.

Year: 1979, at the 21st annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “Even Now” by Barry Manilow, the “Grease” soundtrack, “Running on Empty” by Jackson Browne, the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack, and “Some Girls” by The Rolling Stones

OK, so the Sex Pistols probably had no shot at a Grammys nomination.

In addition to the cheeky use of “bollocks” in their album title, the band delighted in controversy and anarchy – hardly the kind of artist destined for praise from the voting bloc that bestowed the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack with its highest honour.

But in retrospect, we all know that “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols” changed the game – including the Recording Academy, who inducted the album into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2015.


With their self-titled debut, the Ramones arguably became the founding fathers of punk rock.

Sire Records‘Ramones’ was released on April 23, 1976.

Year: 1977, at the 19th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “Breezin'” by George Benson, “Chicago X” by Chicago, “Frampton Comes Alive!” by Peter Frampton, “Silk Degrees” by Boz Scaggs, and “Songs in the Key of Life” by Stevie Wonder

Predictably, if you’ve been paying attention, the Ramones don’t have a single Grammy nomination – but they do have a lifetime achievement award and a place in the Grammy Hall of Fame for “Ramones,” their distinguished debut album. (It seems the Recording Academy is big on course-correcting, many years after making obvious mistakes.)


Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” should have been nominated instead of his own “Caribou.”

This Record Company Ltd.‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ was released on October 5, 1973.

Year: 1975, at the 17th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “Back Home Again” by John Denver, “Band on the Run” by Paul McCartney & Wings, “Caribou” by Elton John, “Court and Spark” by Joni Mitchell, and “Fulfillingness’ First Finale” by Stevie Wonder

“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” was released just after the cutoff for the 1974 Grammy Awards, so it was probably doomed by Elton John’s own prolificacy. Just eight months later, he released “Caribou,” which was subsequently nominated for AOTY instead of his best album ever.

“Caribou” was a commercial success, but artistically speaking, it pales in comparison to “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”

Unfortunately, the Recording Academy wouldn’t have wanted to nominate two albums from the same artist in the same year – and it’s unlikely that John even submitted both for consideration.

He probably went with “Caribou,” which was fresher in the minds of voters and viewers, but ultimately lost to Stevie Wonder.

Thankfully, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for its 30th anniversary.


As Rolling Stone explains: “There are hit albums, and then there’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon'” by Pink Floyd.

Pink Floyd Music Ltd/Sony‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ was released on March 1, 1973.

Year: 1974, at the 16th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “Behind Closed Doors” by Charlie Rich, “The Divine Miss M” by Bette Midler,“Innervisions” by Stevie Wonder, “Killing Me Softly” by Roberta Flack, and “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon” by Paul Simon

Pink Floyd would later receive an AOTY nod for “The Wall” (and lose to Christopher Cross, somehow), but the band’s eighth studio album was entirely neglected, despite being one of the most critically acclaimed and best-selling albums in history.

Rolling Stone has described “The Dark Side of the Moon” as a “psychedelic masterpiece,” “a true colossus of classic rock,” and “a career-defining artistic achievement” for the beloved British band.

You’d be hard-pressed to find an elaborate, ambitious concept album that stands quite so tall.


“The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars” had the biggest cultural impact of David Bowie’s career.

Jones/Tintoretto Entertainment Co, LLC‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust’ was released on June 16, 1972.

Year: 1973, at the 15th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “American Pie” by Don McLean, “The Concert for Bangladesh” by George Harrison & Friends, “Jesus Christ Superstar (Original Broadway Cast Recording),” “Moods” by Neil Diamond, and “Nilsson Schmilsson” by Nilsson

David Bowie wasn’t recognised by the Grammys until a full decade after his debut – and, weirdly enough, his first nomination was for narrating a children’s album in 1978.

The Recording Academy passed right over his fifth and most impactful work, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.” In a career defined by theatrics and paradigm shifts, the extraterrestrial rock opera is widely lauded as Bowie’s biggest capital-M moment.

“Ziggy Stardust” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 and named to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in 2017, for “enrich[ing] our understanding of the nation’s cultural history and our history in general.”


“Exile on Main St.” is still the densest and most rewarding album by The Rolling Stones.

Promotone BV‘Exile on Main St.’ was released on May 12, 1972.

Year: 1973, at the 15th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “American Pie” by Don McLean, “The Concert for Bangladesh” by George Harrison & Friends, “Jesus Christ Superstar (Original Broadway Cast Recording),” “Moods” by Neil Diamond, and “Nilsson Schmilsson” by Nilsson

So far, the only Rolling Stones album to be nominated for AOTY is “Some Girls,” which isn’t even one of the band’s four albums in the Grammy Hall of Fame.

One of those four is “Exile on Main St.,” which is now seen as the band’s best album. At No. 14, it’s their highest-ranked on Rolling Stone’s list of the best albums of all time.

“A dirty whirl of basement blues and punk boogie, the Rolling Stones’ 1972 double LP was, according to Keith Richards, ‘maybe the best thing we did,'” the magazine’s critics wrote.

“Indeed, inside its deliberately dense squall – Richards’ and Mick Taylor’s dogfight riffing, the lusty jump of the Bill Wyman-Charlie Watts rhythm engine, Mick Jagger’s caged-animal bark and burned-soul croon – is the Stones’ greatest album and Jagger and Richards’ definitive songwriting statement of outlaw pride and dedication to grit and cold-morning redemption.”


“Who’s Next” is the best album in The Who’s legendary catalogue.

Polydor Ltd‘Who’s Next’ was released on August 14, 1971.

Year: 1972, at the 14th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “All Things Must Pass” by George Harrison, “Carpenters” by the Carpenters, “Jesus Christ Superstar” by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, “Shaft” by Isaac Hayes, and “Tapestry” by Carole King

The Who has three albums in the Grammy Hall of Fame, plus a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy.

But the band has never won a Grammy.

To make matters worse, the band has only been nominated twice (twice), and both were for best long-form music video (BEST LONG-FORM MUSIC VIDEO?!).

So, as you can tell from my artistic emphasis, the iconic British rock band has been snubbed throughout its entire existence. “My Generation,” “Tommy,” and “Quadrophenia” could also be on this list.

But I chose “Who’s Next” as the Recording Academy’s most atrocious oversight, due to its immediate critical success and enduring legacy as the band’s best work.

“The Who’s fifth album is one of those carved-in-stone landmarks that the rock canon doesn’t allow you to bad-mouth,” BBC’s Chris Roberts wrote in 2002. “It was pretty rad for its day. Here’s the twist: it still sounds ablaze.”


With “Blue,” Joni Mitchell set “a still-unmatched standard for confessional poetry in pop music.”

Warner Records Inc.‘Blue’ was released on June 22, 1971.

Year: 1972, at the 14th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “All Things Must Pass” by George Harrison, “Carpenters” by the Carpenters, “Jesus Christ Superstar” by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, “Shaft” by Isaac Hayes, and “Tapestry” by Carole King

According to Rolling Stone, the pièce de résistance of Joni Mitchell’s career is also the greatest female album of all time, and third-best overall.

“Blue’ is the first time any major rock or pop artist had opened up so fully, producing what might be the ultimate breakup album and setting a still-unmatched standard for confessional poetry in pop music,” the magazine’s staff wrote.

“Along with its romantic melancholy, ‘Blue’ was the sound of a woman availing herself of the romantic and sexual freedom that was, until then, an exclusively male province in rock.”

It feels almost criminal that Mitchell received zero nominations in 1972, the year “Blue” would have been eligible. (Carole King’s “Tapestry,” which won AOTY, is ranked at No. 25 on Rolling Stone’s list.)

Three years later, Mitchell was nominated for AOTY for “Court and Spark,” but that hardly makes up for snubbing “Blue,” especially since she lost.

Technically, Mitchell has an AOTY trophy – but it was bestowed for Herbie Hancock’s album of Mitchell covers, as if a man could ever do her piercing words justice.


“What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye is technically and emotionally perfect.

Motown Record Company‘What’s Going On’ was released on May 21, 1971.

Year: 1972, at the 14th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “All Things Must Pass” by George Harrison, “Carpenters” by the Carpenters, “Jesus Christ Superstar” by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, “Shaft” by Isaac Hayes, and “Tapestry” by Carole King

In the same year, the Grammys failed to nominate two of history’s defining albums: the aforementioned “Blue” as well as “What’s Going On,” which has been crowned Rolling Stone’s No. 1 best album of all time.

In Marvin Gaye’s own words, the album is anchored in the fight for “human rights.” He was spurred to musical activism by evergreen issues like climate change, police brutality, and war – somehow managing to channel that pain and passion into an intellectual, yet deeply listenable masterpiece.

“What’s Going On,” however, received minimal praise from the Recording Academy. Gaye received just one nomination in 1972 – best R&B vocal performance for “Inner City Blues (Makes You Wanna Holler)” – and would never receive a nomination for AOTY.

Gaye was posthumously honoured with a lifetime achievement award in 1997, more than a decade after his death.


“Are You Experienced” by the Jimi Hendrix Experience altered the very fabric of rock music.

Experience Hendrix LLC/Sony‘Are You Experienced’ was released on May 12, 1967.

Year: 1968, at the 10th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim” by Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim, “It Must Be Him” by Vikki Carr, “My Cup Runneth Over” by Ed Ames, “Ode to Billie Joe” by Bobbie Gentry, and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by The Beatles

Jimi Hendrix, described by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as “the most gifted instrumentalist of all time,” only ever received one paltry Grammy nomination: best contemporary instrumental performance for his iconic “Star-Spangled Banner” shred at Woodstock.

He lost to Henry Mancini, who’d won 18 Grammy Awards already.

Hendrix was posthumously honoured with a lifetime achievement award, but his conscious-altering music was dismissed by the Recording Academy in his actual lifetime, despite the immediacy of its impact.

“Are You Experienced,” in particular, is widely regarded as the most impressive and important debut release in rock music history. Naturally, it has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry.

“It’s still a landmark recording because it is of the rock, R&B, blues… musical tradition,” Smithsonian musicologist Reuben Jackson told NPR. “It altered the syntax of the music, if you will, in a way I compare to, say, James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses.'”


The Velvet Underground’s debut, “The Velvet Underground & Nico,” virtually invented the concept of alternative rock.

Universal Records‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’ was released on March 12, 1967.

Year: 1968, at the 10th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim” by Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim, “It Must Be Him” by Vikki Carr, “My Cup Runneth Over” by Ed Ames, “Ode to Billie Joe” by Bobbie Gentry, and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by The Beatles

It actually makes sense that “The Velvet Underground & Nico” didn’t receive any Grammy nominations, given that it flopped commercially and was generally ignored by critics at the time.

But given the gift of hindsight, we now know this provocative, poetic, and deeply self-aware album was an artsy weirdo wonder that provided, according to Rolling Stone, “inspiration and a blueprint for everything from lo-fi punk rock to highbrow avant-garde – and so much in between.”

“The Velvet Underground & Nico” has since been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

The Velvet Underground was also recognised by the Recording Academy as a “benchmark for countless modern-rock movements” when the band received a lifetime achievement award in 2017.


Aretha Franklin’s 10th album, “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You,” is a powerful personal triumph with feminist overtones.

Atlantic‘I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You’ was released on March 10, 1967.

Year: 1968, at the 10th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim” by Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim, “It Must Be Him” by Vikki Carr, “My Cup Runneth Over” by Ed Ames, “Ode to Billie Joe” by Bobbie Gentry, and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by The Beatles

Aretha Franklin was already nine albums deep and tens of thousands of dollars in debt when she began recording her Atlantic debut. She could have produced some cookie-cutter commercial candy, flexed those legendary vocals, and continued on her way.

But instead, Franklin dug deeper into her passionate, romantic soul and put her own sexuality on a pedestal.

“I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You” was perhaps the first classic album of her career. Not to mention, it spawned the historic “Respect” cover that will outlive us all. It was a critical and commercial giant.

“Respect” did receive three Grammy nominations and won two.

But of Franklin’s four overall nominations that year (including one for another single, “A Natural Woman”), none recognised “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You” as a cohesive, transformational album that cemented Franklin as the Queen of Soul.


The Doors’ self-titled debut is a classic album.

Elektra Entertainment‘The Doors’ was released on January 4, 1967.

Year: 1968, at the 10th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim” by Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim, “It Must Be Him” by Vikki Carr, “My Cup Runneth Over” by Ed Ames, “Ode to Billie Joe” by Bobbie Gentry, and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by The Beatles

Jim Morrison and crew were mysteriously shunned by the Recording Academy until “Light My Fire” was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1998, followed by its parent album “The Doors” in 2002.

In 2007, on the 40th anniversary of their monumental self-titled debut, The Doors received a lifetime achievement award.

“They resisted rules, trends and, sometimes, even law and order,” music journalist Ben Fong-Torres wrote in a Grammys tribute to the band. “They were unpredictable, both in the studio and on stage.”

“The result was the kind of rock that means the most, that has impact, that endures. That’s why the Doors, at 40, still sound fresh and vital – and still sell records.”


“Pet Sounds” by The Beach Boys could be the most pivotal album in history.

Capitol Records‘Pet Sounds’ was released on May 16, 1966.

Year: 1967, at the 9th annual Grammy Awards

AOTY nominees (winner in bold): “A Man and His Music” by Frank Sinatra, “Colour Me Barbra” by Barbra Streisand, the “Doctor Zhivago” soundtrack, “Revolver” by The Beatles, and “What Now My Love” by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass

“Pet Sounds” is The Beach Boys’ melodious, scenic, slightly bizarre magnum opus, and the ripples it caused are genuinely immeasurable.

The Beatles’ Grammy-winning “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is often cited as music’s most influential work – but “Pet Sounds” was that album’s clear inspiration.

“Pet Sounds” went on to inspire countless mythic musicians, from David Bowie to Radiohead, and practically “invented the modern pop album.”

Sure, the album’s splash wasn’t immediately monstrous. But you’d think the Recording Academy would be able to parse what the public, at the time, did not. “Pet Sounds” is a sensation – and, not to mention, slightly pretentious and self-serious in a way that Grammy voters typically adore.

The Beach Boys received three nominations in 1967 – but all for “Good Vibrations,” the lighthearted song released five months after “Pet Sounds.”

The album and its timeless singles, including “God Only Knows” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” were completely disregarded.

After a degrading career total of four nominations (and zero wins), “Pet Sounds” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998, and the Beach Boys received a lifetime achievement award in 2001.

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