How 5 Unconventional Recording Artists Managed to Strike a Chord at Past Grammy Awards

The Grammys is more than just a ceremony where celebrities congregate to rub elbows. The gilded, gramophone-shaped statuette is important to all the performers, regardless of the walk of life they hail from, or they road they took that led them to this prestigious event.

Actor and recording artist LL Cool J, host of the 2013 Grammy awards ceremony, perhaps said it best during the red carpet event when he remarked, “…when you get right down to it a Grammy isn’t just a shiny trophy to hold on to; a Grammy is ‘a dream come true’.”

And the Grammys have made dreams come true for a lot of stars. From popular recording groups like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to world political leaders and public speakers, the wide range of recipients proves that the award does not require having a Top 40 hit.

A Singing Award for Not Singing

In some cases, the Grammys does not require singing, as there are also awards for speaking and instrumental recordings. Some who have won in the past in this category might surprise you! Here are some of the more unusual Grammys winners throughout its 50+ year history.

  • In 1972,Martin Luther King, Jr.won Best Spoken Word Album forWhy I Oppose the War in Vietnam.

  • InstrumentalistJan Hammertook two awards, Best Pop Instrumental Performance and Best Instrumental Composition, in 1985 for the theme to the television showMiami Vice.

  • In 1998,Art Garfunkel(minus sidekick Paul Simon) snagged Best Children’s Album forSongs from a Parent to a Child.

  • The groupBaja Mennever did answer the question of their one-hit-wonder,Who Let the Dogs Out?But in 2000 it earned them gilded statuette at the Grammy awards.

  • Also in year Y2K,LeVar Burton(yes, from Reading Rainbow on PBS fame) snagged an award for his narration ofThe Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • 2004 sawMikhail Gorbachevtake home the award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children, for his narration ofProkofiev: Peter and the Wolf.

  • In 2005,Martin Scorsesewon a Grammy for Best Long Form Music Video. While most fans are accustomed to seeing his name at other red-carpet events like the Oscars, this just shows off his multi-dimensional qualities.

  • And in 2009,Tia Carrere(yes, the very actress who teamed up with Mike Myers in Wayne’s World) took the award for Best Hawaiian Music Album forHuana Ke Alohaand another in 2011 for her album titled‘Ikena.

The Road to Success Is Paved with Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Another person that many people do not think of when they hear professional musician is comedian Phyllis Diller. She studied the piano for most of her youth, including three years at the Sherwood Music Conservatory of Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois.

Although she chose against a full-time career in music (due to a lack of self-confidence), Diller owned a custom-made harpsichord and, during the decade between 1971 and 1981, she performed with more than 100 symphony orchestras and received many favorable newspaper reviews.

While you may not ever achieve winning a Grammy award or playing with a symphony orchestra, there is no reason you can’t learn to tickle the ivories. Today people use everything from lessons in the same physical location as their instructor to video piano lessons in their attempts to learn the instrument.

Learning an Instrument Has Plenty of Benefits and No Time Limit

While music was not her full-time career, Diller still put a lot of time and effort into her talents as a pianist. Regardless of how they learn to play, achieving success as a musician takes no less work for an everyday person as it does for a celebrity.

Learning an instrument has so many advantages, including better memory capabilities and comprehension, better time management skills, patience and perseverance, better hand-eye coordination, higher level of concentration and, if you play in a group, better team-building skills.

You are never too late to take up a new talent – or win an award for it, apparently. Legendary blues pianist Pinetop Perkins, before his death just a couple of years ago, took home a Grammy at age 97, proving that you are never too old to follow your dreams.

About the Author

Melissa Cameron lives in Austin Texas with her husband Dave and their two children. She often listens to popular Grammy recording artists as a way to eliminate distractions while working as a freelance writer. Melissa tries to eat healthy and exercise whenever possible. Her healthy lifestyle is one that extends to the rest of her family, including the dog.

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