29 Artists You Won’t Believe Don’t Have a Grammy
Get it together, Recording Academy!
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. Unfortunately, that’s because the Recording Academy’s honors don’t always reflect an artist’s popularity among everyday listeners.
Since they began 1958, 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 One Direction. So, as you go through this list of the most surprising artists who have never won a Grammy, prepare for your jaw to hit the floor.
British rock band Queen completely changed the music industry with their rock anthems and their frontman Freddie Mercury, who upended gender stereotypes. Though Queen received numerous awards for their contributions, none of them were 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 honors musicians’ work, based on influence and sales, once they’ve been around for 25 years. Queen also received the Grammys Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018.
Rock and roll icon Jimi Hendrix may be one of the most accomplished and prolific guitarists of all time, but he also doesn’t have a competitive Grammy.
He managed to secure multiple Grammy Hall of Fame honors and the Grammys Lifetime Achievement Award, but he was only nominated for one competitive Grammy. It was shortly after his death, and he lost to Harry Mancini for Best Contemporary Instrumental Performance. Truly, Hendrix might’ve just been too ahead of his time.
Despite being the first female 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 2009 and 2015. Luckily for Perry, there are many years to come.
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 came in 2002, more than 20 years after he died at only 36 years old. Marley was nominated in the Best Long Form Music Video category as the subject of the documentary Rebel Music: The Bob Marley Story.
Though he was honored with the Grammys Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001, Marley’s work 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.
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
That’s right, “the most dangerous band in the world” has yet to receive gold from the Recording Academy.
In the early ’90s, Guns N’ Roses was nominated three times, but never got the recognition that many believe they deserve for being one of the best-selling bands of all time. After all, their debut album, Appetite for Destruction, is the highest-selling debut album ever in the United States.
These guys don’t have a Lifetime Achievement Award or any Hall of Fame honors from the Grammys. They really have been snubbed.
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 makes him tied 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 he still feels like it’s an honor just to be nominated. “I don’t focus on awards,” he said during a podcast interview in 2018. “When it got to 17, I was like, ‘Huh? Hold on.’ Then I started looking at the n***** I lost to and I was like, ‘Hold on, cuz.’ Then I started trippin’. … It’s bull***.”
Again, D-o-double G has no Lifetime Achievement Award or any Hall of Fame honors from the Grammys. So, we feel ya, Snoop.
She may have only released four albums before her untimely death in 1970, but Janis Joplin still made huge contributions to the world of rock and roll.
Despite her one-of-a-kind electric stage presence and legendary soulful music, she was only nominated for two competitive Grammys, both at the 1972 ceremony. Later, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award and a Hall of Fame honor from the Grammys. But doesn’t this queen deserve better?
Rapper Nicki Minaj has never scored a Grammy win, despite her 10 nominations.
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.
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.
Without a doubt, The Who is among the rock and roll elite, mostly for their innovative approach to the craft. 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 awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award. But their prolific work only earned them two competitive Grammy nominations, and no wins.
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. But the fact that that’s it frankly makes us want to be sedated.
Country singer Dierks Bentley has been nominated for a Grammy an impressive 14 times over his still-booming career. But he’s never secured a win.
Currently, the singer is tied with another country artist 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.
The man who put East Coast rap back on the map has released eight consecutive platinum and multi-platinum albums throughout his lifetime. Certified platinum means each album sold at least 1 million copies, and in total, Nas has sold more than 30 million records worldwide.
But he still hasn’t been able to take home any of the 13 Grammys he’s been nominated for between 1997 and 2013. He’s still got time though.
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, though she’s been nominated four times. The Recording Academy did, however, honor her with multiple Hall of Fame inductions, and with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
Often called the “Celine Dion of Country Music,” Martina McBride has been waiting for her shining moment at the Grammys for years. She’s been nominated 14 times without a single win, but she 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 artist involved. One day, Martina. One day.
R&B giant Brian McKnight has also received 17 Grammy nominations, making him the other most rejected musician at the Grammys, along with Snoop Dogg.
His most recent nomination was at the 2005 ceremony, so hopefully, he’ll make some more music to right this Grammys wrong.
The man is considered to be a seminal figure in the worlds of both indie rock and Britpop, but to date, he’s only had one Grammy nomination.
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 one Grammy in 1987.
While they may have been recognized for their work through a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy and an induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2014, they too have never been recognized competitively.
Whether or not you’re a fan of One Direction, there is no denying the sheer magnitude of their success and popularity. The band never received a Grammy nomination together, but fans still hold out hope that Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, or Zayn Malik will get recognized with a coveted award as solo artists.
It does seem like their 1D history is holding them back in the eyes of the Recording Academy, though. “It’s hard not to feel that if Styles or Horan had emerged in 2017 without any boy band baggage, at least one of them might’ve scored a nomination,” one Billboard reporter wrote.
Despite being nominated an impressive 11 times, fast-talking rapper Busta Rhymes has never earned a Grammy.
He lost in the Best Rap Solo Performance category to Will Smith in 1998 and 1999. With all do respect to the Man in Black, if that’s not proof of the Recording Academy’s history of having a watered-down definition of “rap,” what is?
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) and platinum LPs, but that hasn’t translated to Grammys gold.
Though they have three songs in the Grammy Hall of Fame and 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
Since 1965, The Grateful Dead has had one of the most dedicated followings in history, the fans best known as “Deadheads.” But what they don’t have is a Grammy.
In a career spanning over five decades, The Grateful Dead has only technically been nominated for one Grammy. And that was in 2018 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.
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. After all, 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, which was in 1998 for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, had to be pretty bittersweet for those B.I.G. left behind.
Though he was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 and was honored with the Grammys 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, but he wasn’t even nominated during that inaugural ceremony.
Even though Iggy Pop was the lead singer and compelling force of iconic punk rock band The Stooges, the singer has still never received a Grammy in the half-century he’s spent making music.
Pop has earned two Grammy nominations for his solo work, but ultimately, he’s been shut out.
Despite being one of the best-selling bands in history, Journey has only managed to receive one Grammy nomination. At this point, it might be safe to say that they’ve stopped believing that they’ll ever win a Grammy.
The Grammys didn’t give out an award for Best Rap Album until 1996, but they were honoring Best Rap Performance when Public Enemy‘s game-changing track “Fight the Power” came out. Though it was nominated in 1990, it lost out to the catchy but far less influential song “Bust a Move” by Young MC.
Public Enemy was nominated for five other Grammys throughout their time together, but came up dry. They don’t even have a Lifetime Achievement Award or an Hall of Fame honor from the Grammys to call their own. We blame Favor Flav’s reality TV career.
Though The Strokes are often credited with reviving the indie rock scene in the beginning half of the 21st century, they’ve never received a single Grammy nomination, let alone won an award.
Considering the band can’t even seem to come together to make another studio album, fans may be waiting a long time for them to get that sweet Grammys gold. And for more amazing facts from music’s biggest night, check out 21 People You Won’t Believe Have a Grammy.
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