Inside The Grammy Awards' Long History Of Missteps, Overlooked Artists & Insane Choices

on February 10 2013 11:44 PM

The Grammy Awards are billed as the biggest night in music, but for years it's been seen as one of the most commercial and uninspired of awards shows, with missteps, overlooked artists and incomprehensible choices dominating many of the Grammy shows over the years.

Here's our list of the top eight flubs in Grammy history (very difficult list to make considering the dozens of choices), compiled in no particular order:

1.) The great Celine debacle: The decision to award the Grammy for Album of the Year to Celine Dion in 1997 may be one of the worst choices in the history of awards shows. Though it was ubiquitous that year, it was an uninspired bit of schlocky songwriting by one of music's most annoying and ungrateful voices, and it won out over some of the best albums of the nineties including "The Score" by the Fugees and "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" by the inimitable Smashing Pumpkins. That's just plain wrong.

2.) Puff Daddy's inexplicable win: Not to dwell too long on 1997, but that year's Grammys has to go down as the worst in the show's 55-year history. P. Diddy and the Fam's decent "No Way Out" would have been an OK choice to pick up a win for Best Rap Album some other years. But in 1997, it was a case of groan-worthy sacrilege as great albums by the Wu-Tang Clan, Wyclef Jean, Missy Elliott and even The Notorious B.I.G. were nominated that year. Even Puffy couldn't have thought he was worthy of topping all those hip-hop greats, especially Biggie's posthumous classic.

3.) Last year's Grammy Awards was another display of awful decision-making on the part of its organizers, and most of the worst decisions centered around one terrible individual, Chris Brown. Catapulted to uber-fame after he beat Rihanna to a bloody pulp a couple years ago, he not only won Best R&B Album for the unlistenable "F.A.M.E.," he also played live before 2012's biggest gathering of top musicians and a wide public. No one forgets he's a violent, trashy, talentless jerk, but the Grammys apparently wanted you to. Hopefully this year he'll be invisible, but you reall can't put anything past the Grammy folks.

4.) Prince went 20 years (from 1985 to 2005) without picking up a major Grammy. So many good albums, songs and performances in that time period. Maybe it's just a sign of the times.

5.) Speaking of Prince, in 1985 his "Purple Rain" and Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" both lost out to a low-grade Lionel Richie album not even worth mentioning. We don't get why Prince got the snub so many times. Maybe the judges just don't like the color purple (or killer guitar solos by sex Gods)?

6.) This one is a pretty big oversight, too, but it's not always possible to predict just how important and influential an album will be. As they say, hindsight is 20/20. Still, the Grammys people needed to get their vision checked once again in 1993, when Mary J. Blige's classic album "What's the 411?" was snubbed by the awards ceremony, earning zero nominations, never mind wins.

7.) Macy Gray (yes that gravelly-voiced banshee) won 2001's Best Pop Vocal Peformance Grammy for "I Try." Yes, that "I Try." Let's move on.

8.) This year's Grammys also had a host of issues, but the overlooking of Frank Ocean for most of the top categories may have been the biggest. Giving top awards to Fun. and Gotye was a safe choice, but Frank Ocean was clearly the breakout artist of the year, the only one who resurrected and redefined a genre, created his own style, and emerged as a peerless talent. Just another tale of bad taste at the irrelevant Grammy Awards.