Skip to content

30 Artists Who Haven't Won Grammys

From ABBA to The Grateful Dead, these legendary musicians were snubbed by the Grammys.

A singer or band's success can be measured in a lot of different ways—from albums downloaded, to music videos streamed, to concert tickets sold, to Grammys won. But it turns out, some of music's biggest names haven't won Grammys. Yes, the Recording Academy's honors don't always reflect an artist's popularity among everyday listeners. Since the first ceremony in 1959, the Grammys have neglected to award some of the most beloved artists out there, whether they're music legends like Diana Ross or fan favorites like Sia. So, as you go through this list of the most surprising artists who haven't won Grammys, prepare for your jaw to hit the floor.


Studio shot of Swedish pop group ABBA, Germany 1970s.
United Archives GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

This Swedish pop group is still one of the most commercially successful acts in music history. According to Forbes, the band has earned more than $2 billion—yes, billion—throughout their career. So it probably surprises you to learn that ABBA never won a Grammy. Not only that, but they were never even nominated. However, in 2015, "Dancing Queen" was inducted into the Recording Academy's Grammy Hall of Fame, nearly 40 years after it was released.


Sia and Maddie Ziegler at Grammys

Australian singer and songwriter Sia has been one of the most influential artists in pop music in the 21st century, but she also doesn't have a Grammy to her name. She's been nominated nine times—most recently for her song "Never Give Up." As Alanis Morissette would say, that's "a little too ironic."


Freddie Mercury on stage and triumphant at Live Aid concert in July 1985

British rock band Queen completely changed the music industry with their fist-pumping anthems—and with frontman Freddie Mercury upending gender stereotypes. Though Queen received numerous awards for their contributions to the music world, none of them were wins from the Grammys, despite four nominations.

Queen does, however, have two non-competitive Grammys, meaning they're more like honors than actual awards won. In 2008, they were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, which is awarded to artists who've been around for 25 years and have had both massive influences and album sales. And Queen also received the Grammys Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.

Patti Smith

PATTI SMITH Promotional photo of US singer about 1975
Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Patti Smith is many things, including a punk rock legend and a feminist icon. But one thing she is not is a Grammy winner. Smith has been nominated for four competitive Grammys between 1997 and 2016, but she hasn't taken home the gold—nor has she been honored with a Grammy Hall of Fame induction or Lifetime Achievement Award.

Jimi Hendrix


Rock and roll icon Jimi Hendrix may be one of the most accomplished and prolific guitarists of all time, but sadly, he also doesn't have a competitive Grammy. He managed to secure multiple Grammy Hall of Fame honors and the Grammys Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992, but he was only nominated for one competitive Grammy in 1970, shortly after his death. Perhaps Hendrix was just too ahead of his time.

Katy Perry

Katy Perry

Despite being the first woman to have five No. 1 singles from one album (2010's Teenage Dream)—following only in Michael Jackson's footsteps—Katy Perry still has yet to win a Grammy. She's been nominated 13 times, earning at least one nomination every year between 2008 and 2014. Luckily for the "California Gurls" singer, there are many years to come.

The Beach Boys

Beach Boys

Before Katy Perry was singing about the women of the Golden State, it was The Beach Boys who immortalized them with their 1965 hit "California Girls." Throughout the years, The Beach Boys earned four competitive Grammy nominations, but never took home a win. Yes, they were honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1988 and an induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame, but those are the only good vibrations they've received from the Recording Academy.

Bob Marley

BOB MARLEY Jamaican reggae musician in 1976
Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo

Bob Marley is the face of Jamaican culture and reggae music, but he's never won a competitive Grammy for his work. His only nomination of sorts came in 2002—more than 20 years after he died at only 36 years old—in the Best Long Form Music Video category. (He was the subject of the documentary Rebel Music: The Bob Marley Story.)

Though Marley was honored with the Grammys Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001 and his album Catch a Fire was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2010, his contributions largely went unrecognized by the Recording Academy. The main reason? Well, for starters, the Grammys didn't even have a reggae category until 1985, four years after Marley's death.

Janis Joplin

janis joplin
Archive PL/Alamy Stock Photo

She may have only released four albums before her untimely death in 1970, but Janis Joplin still had a huge impact on the world of rock and roll. Her one-of-a-kind electric stage presence and legendary soulful music only earned her two posthumous competitive Grammy nominations in 1971. Later, she did receive a Lifetime Achievement Award and a Hall of Fame honor from the Recording Academy.

Tupac Shakur

PictureLux/The Hollywood Archive /Alamy Stock Photo

One of the greatest hip-hop figures of all time, Tupac Shakur, never received a Grammy. He was nominated six times in his short life, but was never even recognized posthumously by the Recording Academy with a Lifetime Achievement Award or Hall of Fame induction.

Guns N' Roses

Guns N' Roses

That's right, "the most dangerous band in the world" has yet to receive gold from the Recording Academy. In the late 1980s and early '90s, Guns N' Roses was nominated for three Grammys, but they never got the recognition that many believe they deserve for being one of the best-selling bands of all time. After all, their first album, Appetite for Destruction, is the highest-selling debut album ever. These guys also don't have a Lifetime Achievement Award or any Hall of Fame honors from the Recording Academy.

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj

Despite her 10 nominations, rapper Nicki Minaj has never scored a Grammy win. The fact that she was completely shut out of the nominations for the 2019 ceremony left many fans shocked, and it fueled her beef with Cardi B, who earned five nods that year, winning one.

Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg

Rapper Snoop Dogg is the Susan Lucci of the Grammys. He's been nominated an impressive 17 times, but has never snagged a Grammy of his own. That ties him with another gentleman on this list for the unfortunate title of the most nominated artist never to have won a Grammy.

At this point, we're not sure Snoop still feels like it's an honor just to be nominated. "I don't focus on awards," he said during the Now What? with Arian Foster podcast in 2018. "When it got to 17, I was like, 'Huh? Hold on.' Then I started looking at the ****** I lost to and I was like, 'Hold on, cuz.' Then I started trippin'." Again, D-O-double-G has no Lifetime Achievement Award or any Hall of Fame honors from the Recording Academy.

Brian McKnight

Brian McKnight people who don't have a grammy

R&B giant Brian McKnight has also received 17 Grammy nominations, making him the other most rejected musician at the Grammys, along with Snoop. His most recent nomination was in 2004, so hopefully, he'll make some more music to right this Grammys wrong.



Though Icelandic singer Björk is considered to be one of the most compelling and unique artists of her time, she has never snagged a Grammy. She's been nominated a whopping 15 times, which makes her the fourth most nominated artist to have never won, tied with rock guitarist Joe Satriani.

The Who

The Who perform live on stage at Ahoy in Rotterdam, Netherlands on October 27 1975 L-R Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, Keith Moon
Gijsbert Hanekroot / Alamy Stock Photo

Without a doubt, The Who is among rock and roll's elite. They were one of the first acts to use synthesizers and large PA systems in their music. Decades after they made history, the Recording Academy honored them with multiple Hall of Fame inductions and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. But their prolific work only earned them two competitive Grammy nominations, and no wins.

The Ramones

The Ramones: Johnny, Joey and Dee Dee Ramone onstage at CBGB, February 1977
Sheri Lynn Behr / Alamy Stock Photo

Without punk rock band The Ramones, the music world may have never seen the birth of other bands like Black Flag, The Dead Kennedys, and Bad Religion. Still, the OGs never received a competitive Grammy. The Ramones did at least get some recognition when the Recording Academy gave them a Lifetime Achievement Award and an induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame. When Tommy Ramone accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011, he was the last living founding member of the group. "The fact that three of the four founding members are not with us is profoundly sad," he said. "They would be truly honored at this award." Sadly, Tommy too died three years later.

Dierks Bentley

Dierks Bentley

Country singer Dierks Bentley has been nominated for a Grammy an impressive 14 times over the course of his still-booming career. But he's never secured a win. Currently, the singer is tied with another country artist next up on this list for fifth place among those musicians who have been nominated for the most Grammys without any wins. At least for this living country legend, there's still hope.

Martina McBride

Martina McBride

Often called the "Celine Dion of country music," Martina McBride has been waiting for her shining moment at the Grammys for years. She's also been nominated 14 times without a single win, but she has come extremely close. McBride was one of the artists featured on the 1995 compilation album Amazing Grace–A Country Salute to Gospel, on which she sang "How Great Thou Art." That album won the Grammy for Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album, but it went to the producers, not the artists involved.



The man who put East Coast rap back on the map has released eight consecutive platinum and multi-platinum albums (meaning each album sold at least 1 million copies). But Nas still hasn't been able to take home any of the 13 Grammys he's been nominated for between 1996 and 2012. He's still got time though.

Diana Ross

Diana Ross in the 1990s Female Icons

After her massive success as the lead singer of The Supremes, Diana Ross eventually found fame on her own. She's sold more than 100 million records worldwide throughout her career, but she hasn't managed to scoop up a competitive Grammy, even though she's been nominated 12 times. The Recording Academy did, however, honor her with multiple Hall of Fame inductions, and with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.



In a 2006 poll conducted by the BBC, The Smiths' lead singer, Morrissey, was voted the second most influential living person in the U.K. So where is the Grammy, Recording Academy? The man is considered to be a seminal figure in the worlds of both indie rock and Britpop, but to date, he's only earned one Grammy nomination.

Run D.M.C.

run dmc
Alamy/Nigel Wright

Run D.M.C. was one of the first hip-hop acts to ever receive a Grammy nomination and the second to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But the group was only nominated for that one Grammy in 1986. While they may have been recognized for their work through a Lifetime Achievement Award and an induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2014, they too have never been recognized competitively.

Busta Rhymes

Busta Rhymes

Despite being nominated an impressive 12 times, fast-talking rapper Busta Rhymes has never earned a Grammy. One of his biggest competitors in the race has been Will Smith; he lost to the "Men in Black" rapper in the Best Rap Solo Performance category in both 1998 and 1999.

The Doors

The Doors, Drummer JOHN DENSMORE, Guitarist ROBBY KRIEGER, Keyboardist RAY MANZAREK, Singer JIM MORRISON
RGR Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

Even though The Doors' active career ended in the early 1970s after the death of lead singer Jim Morrison, their popularity has still endured. They're the first American band to accumulate eight consecutive gold (500,000 copies) or platinum LPs, but that hasn't translated to Grammys gold.

Though they were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and were honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, this influential act has never been recognized competitively for their work. (That is, if you don't count the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video for When You're Strange, a documentary about the band that the remaining members weren't particularly involved in.)

The Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead: Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phill Lesh, Brent Myland, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart in the early 1980s
Everett Collection Inc / Alamy Stock Photo

Since the 1960s, The Grateful Dead has had one of the most dedicated followings: their fans best known as "Deadheads." But what they don't have is a Grammy. In a career spanning more than five decades, The Grateful Dead has only technically been nominated for one Grammy. And that was in 2017 for Long Strange Trip, again a documentary about the band. They do, however, have a Lifetime Achievement Award and a Hall of Fame induction, but don't they deserve more?

The Notorious B.I.G.

ZUMA Press, Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo

Like his rival Tupac, The Notorious B.I.G. never won a Grammy, not even a Lifetime Achievement Award. It's pretty outrageous when you consider his massively popular albums. In 1997, Life After Death became one of the first hip-hop albums to be certified diamond, meaning it sold more than 10 million copies.

Throughout his short life, Biggie received four Grammy nominations, but lost out to Coolio and Will Smith, as well as his wife, Faith Evans, and his Bad Boy brother, Puff Daddy. Their "I'll Be Missing You" win at the 1998 ceremony—for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group—had to be pretty bittersweet for those B.I.G. left behind.

Buddy Holly

Buddy holly
Historic Collection/Alamy Stock Photo

Though he was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997, rock and roll legend Buddy Holly never won a competitive Grammy. He died shortly before the first-ever Grammys were handed out in 1959, but he wasn't even nominated during that inaugural ceremony.

Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop

Even though Iggy Pop was the lead singer and compelling force of the iconic punk rock band The Stooges, the singer has still never received a Grammy in the half-century he's been making music. Pop has earned two Grammy nominations for his solo work, but ultimately, he's been shut out.


Journey photographed in 1979.
MediaPunch Inc / Alamy Stock Photo

Despite being one of the best-selling bands in history, Journey has only managed to receive one Grammy nomination. At this point, we can only imagine they've stopped believing that they'll ever win a Grammy.

Ashley Moor
Ashley hails from Dayton, Ohio, and has more than six years of experience in print and digital media. Read more
Filed Under