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Grammy Nomination Déjà Vu: A Look at Voters’ Favorite Artists

Grammy Nomination Déjà Vu: A Look at Voters’ Favorite Artists

If your reaction to looking over the list of Grammy nominees in the marquee categories was “Aren’t they nominated every year?,” you’re not alone. Many had a sense of déjà vu as they looked over the 64 annual Grammy Awards nominees when they were announced last week.

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Bruno Mars received his sixth record of the year nod for his Silk Sonic smash “Leave the Door Open.” Only two other artists in Grammy history have amassed six or more record of the year nods. Frank Sinatra and Beyoncé lead with seven each.

Billie Eilish is nominated for record of the year for the third year in a row with “Happier Than Ever.” Only four other artists have been nominated in this category three or more years in a row. Sinatra leads with four straight nods (1958-61); Roberta Flack (1972-74), Steve Winwood (1986-88) and Post Malone (2018-20) were each nominated three years running.

Lady Gaga also received her third nod in the category for her Tony Bennett collab “I Get a Kick Out of You.” It was Bennett’s fourth nod in the category—though of course his nominations stretch back much further — to 1962, the fifth year of the awards.

It was the second record of the year nod for Justin Bieber, Brandi Carlile, Doja Cat, SZA and Lil Nas X.

It was a similar story in the album of the year category. This was the fifth nod for Taylor Swift, putting her just one behind Barbra Streisand as the female artist with the most album of the year nods.

It was the fourth album of the year nod for both Gaga and Kanye West; the third for Bennett and H.E.R., and the second for Bieber, Eilish and Lil Nas X.

Clearly these are among Grammy voters’ current favorite artists.

But here’s the thing: Every era has had its Grammy favorites, those artists who seem to have the inside track at piling up awards and nominations – at least for a period of time. Just as no one remains a chart-topping perennial forever, no one remains in the Grammy inner circle in perpetuity.

Comebacks happen in Grammyland, just as they do on the charts. This is Bennett’s first record of the year nod since 1965, when he was nominated for “The Shadow of Your Smile,” that year’s Grammy winner for song of the year and Oscar winner for best original song.

This is Bennett’s first album of the year nod since 1994; West’s first since 2007.

Here are eight of the most impressive Grammy hot streaks in the top categories.

The Beatles: The Fab Four are the only act in Grammy history to receive a Grammy nomination for album of the year in five consecutive years. They are also the only act in Grammy history to land five album of the year nods in any one decade. They were nominated for the Help! soundtrack (1965), Revolver (1966), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967, which won), the Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack (1968) and Abbey Road (1969).

Barbra Streisand: The star, who has been an icon for more than half a century, was nominated for album of the year in four consecutive years. She was a contender for The Barbra Streisand Album (1963, which won), People (1964), My Name Is Barbra (1965) and Color Me Barbra (1966). The last two albums named were tie-ins to her first two TV specials.

Frank Sinatra: The legendary star is the only artist in Grammy history to put together two three-year streaks of album of the year nominations. He was nominated every year from 1958-60 and again from 1965-67. He won in three of those six years. As noted above, Sinatra is also the only artist in Grammy history to receive record of the year nominations four years running (1958-61). Note: Eilish could equal that latter mark if she is nominated again next year.

Beyoncé: Beyoncé landed her sixth and seventh record of the year nods last year, which enabled her to tie Sinatra as the most nominated artist in the category’s history. If Beyoncé is nominated again, she’ll break the tie. (That is, assuming she lands her eighth record of the year nod before the fast-charging Mars does.)

Bruno Mars: Mars amassed five record of the year nods in the 2010s, more than any other artist has in any one decade. He was nominated for his solo smashes “Grenade” (2011), “Locked Out of Heaven” (2013) and “24K Magic” (2017) and as a scene-stealing featured artist on B.o.B’s “Nothin’ on You” (2010) and Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk!” (2015).

Stevie Wonder: Wonder is the only act in Grammy history to win album of the year with three consecutive studio albums: Innervisions (1973), Fulfillingness’ First Finale (1974) and Songs in the Key of Life (1976). Note: Adele could tie Wonder’s record in early 2023 if her current album, 30, wins the award, as her last two, 21 (2011) and 25 (2016), did.

Donald Fagen: Fagen was nominated for album of the year with five consecutive studio albums — his entire output between 1977 and 1993. The hot streak encompassed three Steely Dan albums: Aja (1977), Gaucho (1981) and Two Against Nature (2000, which won) and Fagen’s first two solo albums, The Nightfly (1982) and Kamakiriad (1993).

Billy Joel: Joel was nominated for album of the year with four consecutive studio albums: 52nd Street (1979, which won), Glass Houses (1980), The Nylon Curtain (1982) and An Innocent Man (1983). The Stranger, which turned Joel into a superstar, was released the day before the end of the 1977 eligibility year, too late for it to really register. If it had been released a week later, in the 1978 eligibility year, it would probably have been nominated.

As an added bonus, here are the artists who received the most nominations for album of the year and for record of the year in each decade since the 1950s. (In keeping with Grammy tradition, the years referred to are the Grammy years of record, not the year of the ceremony.)

1950s (2 years: 1958-59)
Album of the year: Frank Sinatra (3)
Record of the year: Frank Sinatra (2)

1960s
Album of the year: The Beatles (5)
Record of the year: Frank Sinatra (4)

1970s
Album of the year: (tie) Elton John, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder (3 each)
Record of the year: Roberta Flack (3)

1980s
Album of the year: (tie) Billy Joel, Sting (3 each)
Record of the year: Steve Winwood (3)

1990s
Album of the year: (tie) Mariah Carey, Eric Clapton, Lauryn Hill, Bonnie Raitt, R.E.M. (2 each)
Record of the year: Celine Dion (3)

2000s
Album of the year: Kanye West (3)
Record of the year: Beyoncé (4)

2010s
Album of the year: Kendrick Lamar (4)
Record of the year: Bruno Mars (5)

2020s (2 years: 2020-21)
Album of the year: Taylor Swift (2)
Record of the year: (tie) Beyoncé, Doja Cat, Billie Eilish (2 each)

Notes: Simon’s album of the year tally for the 1970s includes a Simon & Garfunkel album. Sting’s album of the year tally for the 1980s includes an album with The Police. Hill’s album of the year tally for the 1990s includes an album with Fugees. Beyoncé’s record of the year tally for the 2000s includes a Destiny’s Child single. Lamar’s album of the year tally for the 2010s includes the Black Panther soundtrack.

And if you’re wondering how Sinatra got three album of the year nominations in just two years in the ‘50s, he had two of the five nominees in the category at the first Grammys in 1958 – Come Fly With Me and Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely. Both were No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200.

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