Only a handful of artists have been nominated for all of the big three Grammy awards — Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year — and even fewer artists sweep those categories. In fact, in the Grammys’ 53-year history, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has only given eight artists awards for all three in one night. But if ever there was a year where a big three-sweep seemed likely, all eyes will be on Adele on Sunday.
Not only is the British singer nominated for six awards, half of which the big three, but her album, “21” just hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts again at the beginning of this month. The album, which has sold upwards of 7.5 million copies — a major feat in the age of the illegal download — has been a crossover hit, resonating with everyone from teens to soccer moms. Sunday night will also mark her first performance since having throat surgery to fix bleeding in her larynx in November.
Bruno Mars was also nominated for all of the big three, but was not favored to win any of the categories. In a Metro poll, 73 percent of readers picked Adele as winning Record of the Year, 54 percent for Album of the Year and 52 percent for Song of the Year.
Not quite justice for all
A sweep in the big three by Adele is by no means a sure thing. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences is nothing if not totally unpredictable. Remember when Justin Bieber first came on the scene in 2010 and was absolutely everywhere by 2011? One of those places was the Best New Artist category, where Biebs was defeated by Esperanza Spalding.
In 2008, Herbie Hancock won the Album of the Year Gram-my for “River: The Joni Letters.” Not that this isn’t a worthy project, but compared to nominations like “Graduation” by Kanye West and “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse, it certainly was a surprise. That year, Winehouse won Song of the Year and Record of the Year. In an interview with Metro on Thursday, Winehouse producer Mark Ronson was charitable, saying, “Hancock won, deservedly so.”
In 1988, the first year that the Academy featured a Hard Rock/Metal category, the Grammy went to Jethro Tull. Yup, the band that features a flute as their main instrument won the Hard Rock/Metal award, defeating AC/DC, Iggy Pop, Jane’s Addiction and Metallica, whose classic album “...And Justice for All” was favored to win.