At 2020 Grammys, Could Billie Eilish Surpass Taylor Swift as Youngest Artist to Win Album Of the Year?

ISSUE 12 2019 - NOT OUT YET!!! OUT ON MAY 9, 2019 10AM EST
Heather Hazzan
Billie Eilish photographed on April 18, 2019 at SunLight Studios in Los Angeles.

Only female artists have held the youngest-winner-ever distinction since 1964.

Nearly a decade ago, on Jan. 31, 2010, Taylor Swift became the youngest solo artist in Grammy history to win for album of the year. She was just 20 when Fearless walked off with the top prize. Swift has held that distinction ever since, but she may lose it on Jan. 26 if Billie Eilish's critically-hailed debut album, When We All Fall Asleep Where Do Go?, takes the award. Eilish will be 18 on Grammy night.

Henry Mancini was 35 on May 4, 1959, when he became the first album of the year winner for The Music from Peter Gunn, which featured music from a TV series about a suave private eye. Since then, the title of youngest album of the year winner ever has changed hands five times.

Bob Newhart was 31 on April 12, 1961, when his comedy album The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart took the award. Newhart had a second No. 1 album, but achieved far greater fame thanks to starring roles in a number of TV series.

Vaughn Meader was 27 on May 15, 1963, when The First Family, a spoof of President John F. Kennedy and his family, took the award. (The Newhart and Meader recordings are the only comedy albums to win album of the year.) President Kennedy's assassination six months and one week after Meader's Grammy win all but ended his career.

Barbra Streisand was 22 years and 18 days old on May 12, 1964, when her debut album The Barbra Streisand Album took the award.  Streisand's album included "Cry Me a River" and her torchy ballad version of the rousing Depression-era song "Happy Days Are Here Again." Streisand would hold the distinction of the youngest category winner for nearly 32 years.

Alanis Morissette was 21 years and 242 days old on Feb. 28, 1996, when her first U.S. album, Jagged Little Pill, won the award. The album included such classics as "You Oughta Know" and "Ironic." Morissette held the distinction for nearly 14 years.

Swift was 20 years and 49 days old on Jan. 31, 2010, when her sophomore album, Fearless, took the award. The album included such hits as "Love Story" and "You Belong with Me." Swift has held the distinction for nearly a decade. Will she continue to hold the record after Jan. 26, or will Eilish (who will be 18 years and 39 days old on Grammy night) take the title? Place your bets.

What does it mean that only female artists have held the youngest-winner-ever distinction since 1964? Discuss amongst yourselves.

Voting members of the Recording Academy and registered media companies have been busy in recent weeks entering the recordings they would like to see honored at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards. The final deadline for all submissions is this Friday (Aug. 2) at 6 p.m. PT. First-round voting to determine the nominations begins Sept. 25. The nominations will be announced Nov. 20. Final-round voting to determine the winners begins Dec. 9.


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