Famous Grammy Make-Goods: Beck, Steely Dan & More Artists Snubbed But Later Redeemed

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Beck accepts the Album of the Year award for "Morning Phase" from musician Prince onstage during The 57th Annual Grammy Awards at the at the Staples Center on Feb. 8, 2015 in Los Angeles.

Beck's 2015 victory over Beyoncé for album of the year came with no shortage of controversy, given how Queen Bey appeared to be the much timelier, more innovative artist of the moment.

But few artists were timelier or more innovative than Beck in 1997, when his genre-splicing opus Odelay lost to the globe-conquering balladry of Celine Dion -- a snub Kanye himself might've seen fit for protesting. Here's three other examples of artists who've lost out for the Grammys' top prize in their own time, only to finally be rewarded well after the fact.

Tony Bennett

Bennett took advantage of an MTV-assisted mid-’90s mini-renaissance -- and a historically soft album of the year nominee class -- to win top honors in 1995. His MTV Unplugged featured “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” -- vindication for Bennett’s signature song, three decades after his acclaimed 1963 LP of the same name lost out to comedian Vaughn Meader’s Kennedys-parodying The First Family.

Steely Dan

In 2001, Steely Dan’s first studio album in 20 years, Two Against Nature, infamously won over Radiohead’s Kid A and Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP (plus Beck’s Midnite Vultures). The Dan were nominated for, and lost, the award twice before. Studio masterwork Aja fell to Fleetwood Mac’s commercially undeniable Rumours in 1978.

Ray Charles

The soul pioneer was nominated for classic genre dalliances Genius + Soul = Jazz (1962) and Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (1963). But it was only his third, posthumous nomination, for the collaborative set Genius Loves Company, that took home the top prize.

2018 Grammy Awards

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 28 issue of Billboard.


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