Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental

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Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental
A gold gramophone trophy with a plaque set on a table
Gilded gramophone trophy presented to Grammy Award winners
Awarded for quality works in the hard rock/metal music genre
Country United States
Presented by National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
First awarded 1989
Last awarded 1989
Official website grammy.com

The Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental was an award presented at the 31st Grammy Awards in 1989 to honor quality hard rock/metal works (albums or songs). The Grammy Awards, an annual ceremony that was established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards,[1] are presented by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to "honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position."[2]

The Academy recognized hard rock music artists for the first time in 1989 under the category Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental, combining two of the most popular music genres of the 1980s.[3] Jethro Tull was given that award for the album Crest of a Knave, beating Metallica, who were expected to win with the album ...And Justice for All. This choice led to widespread criticism of the Academy, as journalists suggested that Jethro Tull's music did not belong in the hard rock or heavy metal genres.[4][5] In response, the Academy created the categories Best Hard Rock Performance and Best Metal Performance, separating the genres. The incident is often considered an example of the Grammy Awards being out of touch with popular sentiment, and was even named the biggest upset in Grammy history by Entertainment Weekly.

In 2012, the combined Hard Rock/Metal category returned following a major overhaul of Grammy Awards categories. The separate Best Hard Rock Performance and Best Metal Performance categories were merged into the slightly renamed Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance category. In June 2013, however, it was announced that the combined category was being discontinued in favor of reinstating Best Metal Performance. Beginning in 2014, quality hard rock performances would be recognized under Best Rock Performance.[6]

Award[edit]

In 1988, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences decided to add a Hard Rock/Metal Performance category for the 31st Grammy Awards.[7] Nominated works for the award included Blow Up Your Video by AC/DC, "Cold Metal" by Iggy Pop (from the album Instinct), Nothing's Shocking by Jane's Addiction, Crest of a Knave by Jethro Tull, and ...And Justice for All by Metallica.[8] Jethro Tull's lead singer Ian Anderson was surprised by the band's nomination, as both Anderson and music critics did not consider the group's music to be part of the heavy metal genre.[9][10][11]

A group of musicians playing various instruments on a stage, including a flute, guitars, piano and drum set. Additional instruments, orchestra members and audio equipment can be seen on stage and in the background.
Members of the award-winning band Jethro Tull, performing in Germany in 2007

Metallica's performance at the ceremony, held in February 1989 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, marked the first time a heavy metal group performed during the Grammy Awards.[12] Metallica was expected to win the award, and members of Jethro Tull were told by their record label Chrysalis Records not to bother attending the ceremony because they "weren't likely to win."[9] Jethro Tull received the award (recipients included members Ian Anderson, Martin Barre, and Dave Pegg),[13] and when presenters Alice Cooper and Lita Ford announced the result, booing could be heard from the crowd.[9][14] Anderson, who assumed that the band was being recognized for their twenty-year history as opposed to a single album, later stated that he was "lucky" for not attending the ceremony, admitting that there was "no way [he] could have accepted [the award] under those circumstances."[9]

Controversy and aftermath[edit]

Four men on a stage with their arms behind one another; all are wearing dark clothing
Members of Metallica, the band expected to win the award, performing in 2008. As of 2010, the band has received six Grammy Awards for Best Metal Performance.

The result, considered an "embarrassment" on behalf of the Academy, generated much controversy.[15] In response to the criticism they received over the award, Jethro Tull's record label took out an advertisement in Billboard magazine with a picture of a flute (part of their trademark sound) lying amid a pile of iron rebars and the line, "The flute is a heavy, metal instrument!"[16] Metallica also added a sticker to subsequent releases of ...And Justice for All, reading: "Grammy Award LOSERS".[17][18]

Separate awards for Best Hard Rock Performance and Best Metal Performance were introduced in 1990, and in the first three years of the latter award's existence Metallica won consecutively for the song "One" from ...And Justice for All, their cover of Queen's "Stone Cold Crazy", and their eponymous album.[13] When Metallica won a Grammy in 1992, drummer Lars Ulrich referenced the previous award by facetiously "thanking" Jethro Tull for not putting out an album that year,[19] though they actually had released the album Catfish Rising in 1991.[20] A decade after Jethro Tull defeated Metallica, Ulrich admitted: "I'd be lying if I didn't tell you I was disappointed. Human nature is that you'd rather win than lose, but Jethro Tull walking away with it makes a huge mockery of the intentions of the event."[17] As of 2010, Metallica holds the record for the most wins in the metal category, with a total of six.[13]

This incident is often cited as an example of the Grammy Awards selection committee being out of touch with popular sentiment,[21] and was even named the biggest upset in Grammy history by Entertainment Weekly.[22] Other publications that have included the Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance upset in their lists of top Grammy moments include Cracked.com (number one),[23] Time (number ten),[24] and the Ventura County Star (number twenty).[25]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Grammy Awards at a Glance". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved November 25, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Overview". National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Retrieved November 25, 2010. 
  3. ^ Pareles, Jon (February 23, 1989). "Grammys to McFerrin and Chapman". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved November 25, 2010. 
  4. ^ Hoffmann, Frank, ed. (2005). Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound 1 (2 ed.). CRC Press. p. 542. ISBN 978-0-415-93835-8. Retrieved November 25, 2010. 
  5. ^ Holden, Stephen (February 14, 1990). "The Pop Life". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved November 25, 2010. 
  6. ^ http://www.vintagevinylnews.com/2013/06/grammys-add-american-roots-song.html
  7. ^ "Tipoff". Star-Banner (Ocala, Florida). June 2, 1988. Retrieved November 26, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Complete list of Grammy nominees". Times-News (Hendersonville, North Carolina: The New York Times Company). January 13, 1989. p. 14. Retrieved November 26, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b c d "Rockin' on an Island". Kerrang! (Bauer Media Group) (258). September 30, 1989. Retrieved November 25, 2010. 
  10. ^ Bowling, David (May 19, 2010). "Music Review: Jethro Tull – Crest Of A Knave". Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Hearst Corporation). Retrieved November 25, 2010. 
  11. ^ Taylor, Greg (April 30, 1989). "Heavy Metallic Down Under". The Sun-Herald (Sydney, Australia: Fairfax Media). p. 105. Retrieved November 26, 2010. 
  12. ^ De Atley, Richard (February 19, 1989). "Rappers ambivalent about inclusion in Grammys". Lawrence Journal-World (Lawrence, Kansas: The World Company). p. 2D. Retrieved November 26, 2010. 
  13. ^ a b c "Past Winners Search". National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Retrieved March 4, 2010.  Note: User must select the "Rock" category as the genre under the search feature.
  14. ^ "Only rock'n'roll but Grammy voters don't like it". The New Zealand Herald (Auckland, New Zealand: APN News & Media). February 21, 2001. Retrieved November 26, 2010. 
  15. ^ Holden, Stephen (February 14, 1990). "The Pop Life". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved November 26, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Never a Tull Moment". The Hindu (Chennai, India: The Hindu Group). January 28, 2006. Retrieved February 25, 2007. 
  17. ^ a b Bienstock, Richard (July 10, 2009). "Metallica: Talkin' Thrash". Guitar World (Future US). p. 7. Retrieved November 24, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Metallica Timeline". MTV. Retrieved February 6, 2008. 
  19. ^ "Grammys 1992". MTV. Retrieved February 6, 2008. 
  20. ^ "Catfish Rising". Allmusic. Retrieved November 26, 2010. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ Endelman, Michael (January 31, 2010). "Grammy's 10 Biggest Upsets". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 10, 2008. 
  23. ^ Brown, Adam (February 6, 2008). "The 7 Most Unforgivable Grammy Award Snubs of All Time". Retrieved November 26, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Jethro Tull Out-rocks Metallica". Time (Time Inc). February 28, 2009. Retrieved November 26, 2010. 
  25. ^ Streeter, Leslie Gray (February 11, 2008). "50 Grammy moments we'd like to forget". Ventura County Star (Camarillo, California: E. W. Scripps Company). Retrieved November 26, 2010. 

External links[edit]