The 50 Greatest Grammy Losers for Best New Artist

Getty; Design by Jessica Xie
Britney Spears in 1999, Elton John in 1971, Ed Sheeran in 2013, Taylor Swift in 2007, Kanye West in 2004 and Justin Bieber in 2010.

The roster of Grammy winners for best new artist includes such all-time greats as Bobby Darin, The Beatles, Natalie Cole and Mariah Carey.

The roster of Grammy losers for best new artist may be even more star-studded. There's a reason for that. Every year, there are seven losers for every winner (it was four losers for every winner until last year), so there are more losers than winners who have a chance to make good. And, in many cases, they have done just that.

This is not to say that the Grammys got it wrong in all of these cases. The great bossa nova innovator Antonio Carlos Jobim didn't win best new artist, but how could he? He had the misfortune of going up against The Beatles for the 1964 award. Not all of these artists lost to world-beaters like The Beatles, but many lost to other worthy artists who may have simply blossomed sooner. Some lost to one- or two-hit wonders who are barely remembered today. You be the judge.

Before we begin, a few honorable mentions to five best new artist losers who went on to have their biggest impact in fields other than recording: comedian and social activist Dick Gregory (1961) and TV and film stars Ann-Margret (1961), the Blues Brothers -- John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd (1979) -- Robin Williams (1979) and Vanessa Williams (1988).

I didn't include any best new artist losers from the last five years. Maren Morris and Khalid are off to a fast start, but we need more time to see just how great they'll become.

Without further ado, here are the 50 greatest Grammy losers for best new artist.

50. Anne Murray (1970)
The "Snowbird" songbird (sorry) won four Grammys and had a long career spanning pop and country. Lost to Carpenters.

49. Jill Scott (2000)
The R&B singer has had two No. 1 albums and has won three Grammys. Lost to Shelby Lynne.

48. Andrea Bocelli (1998)
The opera star has yet to win a Grammy, despite four noms. He finally landed his first No. 1 album, Si, in 2018. Lost to Lauryn Hill.

47. Fall Out Boy (2005)
The rock group has amassed four No. 1 albums, but has yet to win a Grammy, despite two noms. Lost to John Legend.

46. Toto (1978)
The band won three Grammys, including the 1982 awards for record and album of the year. Rock critics scoffed, but "Africa," in particular, has stood the test of time. Lost to A Taste of Honey.

45. Seal (1991)
The English soul singer has won four Grammys, including the 1995 awards for record and song of the year for "Kiss from a Rose." Lost to Marc Cohn.

44. Mumford & Sons (2010)
The English band has had three No. 1 albums and won two 2012 Grammys, including album of the year for Babel. Lost to Esperanza Spalding.

43. The Fifth Dimension (1967)
The vocal quintet won six Grammys, including record of the year twice in three years, for "Up, Up and Away" and "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In." Lost to Bobbie Gentry.

42. Jefferson Airplane (1967)
The band morphed into Jefferson Starship (landing a No. 1 album with Red Octopus) and then Starship. This was their only nom as the Airplane. Lost to Bobbie Gentry.

41. Antonio Carlos Jobim (1964)
The bossa nova king finally won a Grammy in 1995 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. Lost to The Beatles.

40. Backstreet Boys (1998)
The boy band had two No. 1 albums, but has yet to win a Grammy, despite eight noms. Lost to Lauryn Hill.

39. Kacey Musgraves (2013)
The progressive country star has won six Grammys, including album of the year earlier this year for Golden Hour. Lost to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

38. Brad Paisley (2000)
The country star has won three Grammys and was the CMA's entertainer of the year in 2010. Lost to Shelby Lynne.

37. Barry White (1973)
The R&B romantic icon had a No. 1 album in 1974 with Can't Get Enough. He finally won his only Grammys in 1999 for the aptly-titled "Staying Power." Lost to Bette Midler.

36. Alanis Morissette (1995)
The singer/songwriter has had three No. 1 albums and won seven Grammys, including album of the year for Jagged Little Pill. Lost to Hootie & the Blowfish.

35. Peter, Paul & Mary (1962)
The trio had two No. 1 albums and won five Grammys. They popularized songs by the then little-known Bob Dylan and John Denver. Lost to Robert Goulet.

34. Lady Antebellum (2008)
The country trio logged three No. 1 albums and won five Grammys, including record and song of the year of 2010 for "Need You Now." Lost to Adele.

33. The Judds (1984)
The mother-daughter duo won five Grammys. Wynonna went on to a successful solo career. Lost to Cyndi Lauper.

32. Dixie Chicks (1998)
The female country trio has amassed three No. 1 albums and 12 Grammys. They swept album, record and song of the year in 2006. They were the CMA's entertainer of the year in 2000. Lost to Lauryn Hill.

31. Jonas Brothers (2008)
The brother trio has had three No. 1 albums. This is their only nom to date, though expect more this year, thanks to "Sucker," their first No. 1 on the Hot 100. Lost to Adele.

30. Sonny & Cher (1965)
The duo hit it big in the '60s with a string of hits, and even bigger in the '70s with a hit TV show. Cher finally won a Grammy for 1999's "Believe." Lost to Tom Jones.

29. Elvis Costello (1978)
The singer/songwriter finally won a Grammy in 1998 in tandem with Burt Bacharach. Lost to A Taste of Honey.

28. Shania Twain (1995)
Twain has had two No. 1 albums and has won five Grammys. She was the CMA's entertainer of the year in 1999. Lost to Hootie & the Blowfish.

27. J. Cole (2011)
The hip-hop star has amassed five No. 1 albums, but has yet to win a Grammy (despite seven noms). Lost to Bon Iver.

26. Puff Daddy (1997)
The rap icon has had four No. 1 albums and won three Grammys. Lost to Paula Cole.

25. Eurythmics (1983)
The duo won a Grammy for "Missionary Man." Annie Lennox went on to win three more Grammys on her own. Lost to Culture Club.

24. No Doubt (1996)
The group had a No. 1 album with Tragic Kingdom and later won two Grammys. Gwen Stefani won a Grammy for a collab with Eve. Lost to LeAnn Rimes.

23. Linkin Park (2001)
The rock band has amassed six No. 1 albums and won two Grammys. Lost to Alicia Keys.

22. Nicki Minaj (2011)
Minaj, one of the most successful female rappers in history, has yet to win a Grammy (despite 10 noms). Lost to Bon Iver.

21. The Byrds (1965)
This was the influential group's only Grammy nom. Lost to Tom Jones.

20. Leontyne Price (1960)
The opera legend, a 13-time Grammy winner, received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989. Lost to Bob Newhart.

19. The Four Seasons (1962)
This was one of just two noms for the pop group. They never won. The success of Jersey Boys dramatizes their hits' staying power. Lost to Robert Goulet.

18. Bill Withers (1971)
The respected R&B artist and songwriter won best R&B song three times, for "Ain't No Sunshine," "Just the Two of Us" and "Lean on Me." Lost to Carly Simon.

17. Chris Brown (2006)
The R&B bad-boy has had two No. 1 albums and won best R&B album of 2011 for F.A.M.E. Lost to Carrie Underwood.

16. John Mayer (2002)
The guitarist has had three No. 1 albums and has won seven Grammys, including song of the year of 2004 with "Daughters." Lost to Norah Jones.

15. Boyz II Men (1991)
The R&B vocal group has had two No. 1 albums and has won four Grammys. They had three of the longest-running No. 1 hits in Hot 100 history. Lost to Marc Cohn.

14. Green Day (1994)
The rock trio has had two No. 1 albums and has won four Grammys, including record of the year for "Boulevard of Broken Dreams." Lost to Sheryl Crow.

13. Kendrick Lamar (2013)
The most acclaimed rapper of the second decade of the '00s has had three No. 1 albums and has won 13 Grammys. Lost to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

12. Luther Vandross (1981)
The R&B balladeer won eight Grammys, including song of the year for "Dance with My Father." His album of the same name hit No. 1. Lost to Sheena Easton.

11. Justin Bieber (2010)
The pop star has amassed six No. 1 albums. He won the 2015 Grammy for best dance recording for "Where Are Ü Now." Lost to Esperanza Spalding.

10. Cream (1968)
This was the trio's only nom. Cream, which had a No. 1 album in 1968 with Wheels of Fire, received a lifetime achievement award in 2006. Eric Clapton has gone on to win 17 Grammys. Lost to Jose Feliciano.

9. Britney Spears (1999)
The icon has had six No. 1 albums. She finally won a Grammy for 2004's "Toxic." Lost to fellow teen star Christina Aguilera.

8. Ed Sheeran (2013)
The affable Brit has landed three No. 1 albums and has won four Grammys, including song of the year for "Thinking Out Loud."  Lost to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

7. Chicago (1969)
The jazz-rock horn group morphed into a pop/AC ballad group and won a Grammy for "If You Leave Me Now." They had five No. 1 albums. Lost to Crosby, Stills & Nash.

6. Drake (2010)
The hip-hop star has had nine No. 1 albums and four Grammys. Lost to Esperanza Spalding//.

5. Kanye West (2004)
The most acclaimed rapper of the first decade of the 2000s has amassed seven No. 1 albums and 21 Grammys. (That's more Grammys than any other best new artist nominee—winner or loser.) Lost to Maroon 5.

4. Taylor Swift (2007)
The country-turned-pop superstar has amassed six No. 1 albums and 10 Grammys. She was the first female to win album of the year twice as a lead artist. She was the CMA's entertainer of the year twice. Lost to Amy Winehouse.

3. Led Zeppelin (1969)
The hard rock band, which amassed seven No. 1 albums, finally won a Grammy in 2013 for Celebration Day. They received a lifetime achievement award in 2005. Lost to Crosby, Stills & Nash.

2. Eagles (1972)
The influential band amassed six No. 1 albums and six Grammys.  Eagles had the first rock track to win record of the year ("Hotel California"). Lost to America.

1. Elton John (1970)
The pop legend has amassed seven No. 1 albums and five Grammys. He received a Grammy Legend Award in 2000. Lost to Carpenters.

2020 Grammy Awards


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