Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album

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Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album
Awarded for quality spoken word albums
Country United States
Presented by National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
First awarded 1959
Last awarded 2017

The Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album has been awarded since 1959. The award had several minor name changes:

  • In 1959 the award was known as Best Performance, Documentary or Spoken Word
  • From 1960 to 1961 it was awarded as Best Performance - Documentary or Spoken Word (other than comedy)
  • From 1962 to 1963 it was awarded as Best Documentary or Spoken Word Recording (other than comedy)
  • From 1964 to 1965 it was awarded as Best Documentary, Spoken Word or Drama Recording (other than comedy)
  • In 1966 it was awarded as Best Spoken Word or Drama Recording
  • From 1967 to 1968 it was awarded as Best Spoken Word, Documentary or Drama Recording
  • From 1969 to 1979 it was awarded as Best Spoken Word Recording
  • From 1980 to 1983 it returned to the title of Best Spoken Word, Documentary or Drama Recording
  • From 1984 to 1991 it was awarded as Best Spoken Word or Non-Musical Recording
  • From 1992 to 1997 it was awarded as Best Spoken Word or Non-Musical Album
  • Since 1998 it has been awarded as Best Spoken Word Album

The category now also includes audio books, poetry readings and story telling.

Three US Presidents have won the award: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, along with spoken recordings of John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Four U.S. Senators have won: Barack Obama, Everett Dirksen, Al Franken, and Hillary Clinton.

Years reflect the year in which the Grammy Awards were handed out, for a recording released in the previous year. Winners are indicated in boldface.


Year Album Performer Author
In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox Carol Burnett
The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo Amy Schumer
M Train Patti Smith
Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of L.A. Punk Various Performers; John Doe, Tom DeSavia, Scott Sherratt & Dan Zitt (producers)
Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink Elvis Costello
A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety Jimmy Carter
Blood on Snow Patti Smith Jo Nesbø
Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks Dick Cavett
Patience and Sarah Janis Ian & Jean Smart Isabel Miller
Yes Please Amy Poehler
Diary of a Mad Diva Joan Rivers (2015 Nominations list did not credit any author)
Actors Anonymous James Franco
A Call to Action Jimmy Carter
Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America John Waters
A Fighting Chance Elizabeth Warren
We Will Survive: True Stories of Encouragement, Inspiration and The Power of Song Gloria Gaynor
America Again: Re-becoming The Greatness We Never Weren't Stephen Colbert (2014 Nominations list did not credit any author)
Carrie and Me Carol Burnett
Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls David Sedaris
Still Foolin' Em Billy Crystal
The Storm King Pete Seeger
Society's Child Janis Ian Janis Ian
American Grown Scott Creswell and Dan Zitt* Michelle Obama
Back to Work Bill Clinton Bill Clinton
Drift Rachel Maddow Rachel Maddow
Seriously…I'm Kidding Ellen DeGeneres Ellen DeGeneres
If You Ask Me (and of Course You Won't) Betty White Betty White
Bossypants Tina Fey Tina Fey
Fab Fan Memories: The Beatles Bond Nathan Burbank, Bryan Cumming, Dennis Scott, and David Toledo*
Hamlet Dan Donohue William Shakespeare
The Mark of Zorro Val Kilmer and cast Yuri Rasovsky
Earth (The Audiobook) Jon Stewart and The Daily Show staff Jon Stewart and The Daily Show staff
American on Purpose Craig Ferguson Craig Ferguson
The Bedwetter Sarah Silverman Sarah Silverman
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future… Michael J. Fox Michael J. Fox
This Time Together Carol Burnett Carol Burnett
The Woody Allen Collection Woody Allen Woody Allen
Always Looking Up Michael J. Fox Michael J. Fox
The Lincoln–Douglas Debates Richard Dreyfuss and David Strathairn Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas
Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon Yuri Rasovsky and Josh Stanton* Dashiell Hammett
A Very Special Time Jonathan Winters Jonathan Winters
We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter
Wishful Drinking Carrie Fisher Carrie Fisher

* Album producers; performed by various artists.


Year Album Performer Author
An Inconvenient Truth Beau Bridges, Cynthia Nixon, and Blair Underwood Al Gore
Born Standing Up Steve Martin Steve Martin
I Am America (and So Can You!) Stephen Colbert and The Colbert Report cast Stephen Colbert and The Colbert Report cast
Life Beyond Measure Sidney Poitier Sidney Poitier
When You Are Engulfed in Flames David Sedaris Davis Sedaris
The Audacity of Hope Barack Obama Barack Obama
Celebrations Maya Angelou Maya Angelou
Giving Bill Clinton Bill Clinton
Sunday Mornings in Plains Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter
Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself Alan Alda Alan Alda
Our Endangered Values Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter
With Ossie and Ruby Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee
I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This! Bob Newhart Bob Newhart
New Rules Bill Maher Bill Maher
The Truth (with Jokes) Al Franken Al Franken
Dreams from My Father Barack Obama Barack Obama
The Adventures of Guy Noir Garrison Keillor Garrison Keillor
The Al Franken Show Party Album Al Franken Al Franken
Chronicles - Volume One Sean Penn Bob Dylan
When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? George Carlin George Carlin
My Life Bill Clinton Bill Clinton
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim David Sedaris David Sedaris
Live & Kickin' at the National Storytelling Festival David Holt & Zeb Holt David Holt & Zeb Holt
The Pleasure of My Company Steve Martin Steve Martin
The World According to Mr. Rogers Tyne Daly, John Lithgow, Joanne Rogers, Lily Tomlin & Andre Watts Fred Rogers
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them Al Franken Al Franken
Fear Itself Don Cheadle Walter Mosley
Living History Hillary Clinton Hillary Rodham Clinton
The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection Nikki Giovanni Nikki Giovanni
When You Ride Alone You Ride with bin Laden Bill Maher Bill Maher
A Song Flung Up to Heaven Maya Angelou Maya Angelou
The Great Gatsby Tim Robbins F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Kid Stays in the Picture Robert Evans Robert Evans
Lucky Man Michael J. Fox Michael J. Fox
Nothing Is Impossible Christopher Reeve Christopher Reeve
Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones Quincy Jones Quincy Jones
An Hour Before Sunlight Jimmy Carter Jimmy Carter
Lake Wobegon Summer 1956 Garrison Keillor Garrison Keillor
Letters from the Earth: Uncensored Writings by Mark Twain Carl Reiner Mark Twain
War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars Various artists including Rob Lowe, Noah Wyle, Joan Allen & Tom Brokaw; narrated by Harry Smith Andrew Carroll (editor)
The Measure of a Man Sidney Poitier Sidney Poitier
The Complete Shakespeare Sonnets Various artists including Kathleen Turner, Patrick Stewart & Al Pacino William Shakespeare
Married to Laughter: A Love Story Jerry Stiller & Anne Meara Jerry Stiller
On the Road Matt Dillon Jack Kerouac
Shopgirl Steve Martin Steve Martin
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. LeVar Burton Martin Luther King
The Chieftains: The Unauthorized Biography Nanci Griffith John Glatt
The Diaries of Adam & Eve: Translated by Mark Twain Mandy Patinkin & Betty Buckley with Walter Cronkite Mark Twain
Merle Haggard's My House of Memories Merle Haggard Merle Haggard & Tom Carter
'Tis Frank McCourt Frank McCourt


Year Winner Work Nominations Ref.
1999 Christopher Reeve Still Me
  • Toni Morrison for Beloved
  • David Holt & Bill Mooney for Spiders in the Hairdo: Modern Urban Legends
  • Jimmy Carter for The Virtues of Aging
  • Garrison Keillor for Wobegon Boy
1998 Charles Kuralt Charles Kuralt's Spring
  • Jodie Foster for Contact
  • Maya Angelou for Even the Stars Look Lonesome
  • Jimmy Carter for Living Faith
  • Walter Cronkite for A Reporter's Life
1997 Hillary Clinton It Takes a Village
  • Garrison Keillor for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Charles Kuralt for Charles Kuralt's America
  • Edward Asner, Ellen Burstyn, CCH Pounder & Alfre Woodard for Grow Old Along with Me, The Best Is Yet to Be
  • Lauren Bacall, Martin Landau, Jack Lemmon & Gregory Peck for Harry S Truman: A Journey to Independence
1996 Maya Angelou Phenomenal Woman [4]
1995 Henry Rollins Get in the Van: On the Road with Black Flag [5]
1994 Maya Angelou On the Pulse of Morning [6]
1993 Earvin "Magic" Johnson & Robert O'Keefe What You Can Do to Avoid AIDS [7]
1992 Ken Burns The Civil War [8]
1991 George Burns Gracie – A Love Story [9]
1990 Gilda Radner It's Always Something [10]


Year Winner Work Performer Nominations Ref.
1989 Jesse Jackson Speech by Rev. Jesse Jackson same as winner [11]
1988 Garrison Keillor Lake Wobegon Days same as winner [12]
1987 Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chips Moman, Ricky Nelson, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins & Sam Phillips Interviews From the Class of '55 Recording Sessions same as winner [13]
1986 Mike Berniker (producer) & the original Broadway cast Ma Rainey's Black Bottom same as winner [14]
1985 Ben Kingsley The Words of Gandhi same as winner [15]
1984 William Warfield Copland: A Lincoln Portrait same as winner [16]
1983 Tom Voegeli (producer) Raiders of the Lost Ark - The Movie on Record Various Artists [17]
1982 Orson Welles Donovan's Brain same as winner [18]
1981 Pat Carroll Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein, Gertrude Stein same as winner
  • Mahalia Jackson for I Sing Because I'm Happy, Vols. 1 and 2
  • Original cast with narration - Adventures of Luke Skywalker: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Orson Welles for Obediently Yours/Orson Welles
  • Peter Ustinov for A Curb in the Sky (James Thurber)
1980 John Gielgud Ages of Man Ages of Man - Readings From Shakespeare same as winner [20]


Year Winner Work Performer Nominations Ref.
1979 Orson Welles Citizen Kane Original Motion Picture Soundtrack same as winner [21]
1978 Julie Harris The Belle of Amherst same as winner [22]
1977 Henry Fonda, Helen Hayes, James Earl Jones & Orson Welles Great American Documents same as winner [23]
1976 James Whitmore Give 'em Hell, Harry! same as winner [24]
1975 Peter Cook & Dudley Moore Good Evening same as winner [25]
1974 Richard Harris Jonathan Livingston Seagull same as winner [26]
1973 Bruce Botnick (producer) Lenny The Original Broadway cast [27]
1972 Les Crane Desiderata same as winner [28]
1971 Martin Luther King, Jr. Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam same as winner
  • Apollo 8, 11, 12 astronauts, Presidents Kennedy and Nixon for In the Beginning
  • Ambrose, Dryden, Hecht, Molloy, Seeger for Poems and Ballads from 100-Plus American Poets
  • Bill Cosby for Grover Henson Feels Forgotten
  • Everett Dirksen for Everett Dirksen's America
1970 Art Linkletter & Diane Linkletter We Love You Call Collect same as winner [30]


Year Winner Work Performer Nominations Ref.
1969 Rod McKuen Lonesome Cities same as winner [31]
1968 Everett Dirksen Gallant Men same as winner [32]
1967 Edward R. Murrow Edward R. Murrow - A Reporter Remembers, Vol. I The War Years same as winner [33]
1966 Goddard Lieberson (producer) John F. Kennedy - As We Remember Him same as winner [34]
1965 That Was The Week That Was BBC Tribute to John F. Kennedy The That Was the Week That Was cast [35]
1964 Edward Albee (playwright) Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Melinda Dillon, George Grizzard, Uta Hagen & Arthur Hill [36]
1963 Charles Laughton The Story-Teller: A Session With Charles Laughton same as winner [37]
1962 Leonard Bernstein Humor in Music same as winner [38]
1961 Robert Bialek FDR Speaks same as winner [39]


Year Winner Work Performer Nominations Ref.
1959 Carl Sandburg A Lincoln Portrait same as winner [40]
1959 Stan Freberg The Best of the Stan Freberg Shows same as winner [41]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "1999 Grammy Awards". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  2. ^ "1998 Grammy Awards". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  3. ^ "1997 Grammy Awards". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  4. ^ "1996 Grammy Awards". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  5. ^ "1995 Grammy Awards". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  6. ^ "1994 Grammy Awards". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  7. ^ "1993 Grammy Awards". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  8. ^ "1992 Grammy Awards". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  9. ^ "1991 Grammy Awards". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  10. ^ "1990 Grammy Awards". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1989 - Grammy Award Winners 1989". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1988 - Grammy Award Winners 1988". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1987 - Grammy Award Winners 1987". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1986 - Grammy Award Winners 1986". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  15. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1985 - Grammy Award Winners 1985". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  16. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1984 - Grammy Award Winners 1984". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  17. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1983 - Grammy Award Winners 1983". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  18. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1982 - Grammy Award Winners 1982". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  19. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1981 - Grammy Award Winners 1981". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  20. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1980 - Grammy Award Winners 1980". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  21. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1979 - Grammy Award Winners 1979". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  22. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1978 - Grammy Award Winners 1978". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  23. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1977 - Grammy Award Winners 1977". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  24. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1976 - Grammy Award Winners 1976". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  25. ^ "Grammy Awards Nominee 1975 - Grammy Award Winners 1975". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  26. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1974 - Grammy Award Winners 1974". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  27. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1973 - Grammy Award Winners 1973". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  28. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1972 - Grammy Award Winners 1972". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  29. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1971 - Grammy Award Winners 1971". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  30. ^ "Grammy Award Ceremony 1970 - Grammy Award Winners 1970". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  31. ^ "Grammy Awards Nominees 1969 - Grammy Award Winners 1969". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  32. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1968 - Grammy Award Winners 1968". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  33. ^ "Grammy Awards Nominees 1967 - Grammy Award Winners 1967". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  34. ^ "Grammy Awards Nominees 1966 - Grammy Award Winners 1966". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  35. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1965 - Grammy Award Winners 1965". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  36. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1964 - Grammy Award Winners 1964". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  37. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1963 - Grammy Award Winners 1963". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  38. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1962 - Grammy Award Winners 1962". Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  39. ^ "Grammy Awards 1961". IndiaServer. Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  40. ^ "Grammy Awards 1959". IndiaServer. Retrieved May 9, 2017. 
  41. ^ "Grammy Award Nominees 1959 (May) - Grammy Award Winners 1959 (May)". Retrieved May 9, 2017.