How Historic Was Bruno Mars' Big Night at the Grammys?

Bruno Mars
Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

Bruno Mars accepts the award for album of the year for "24K Magic" at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden on,Jan. 28, 2018 in New York City.

The words used to describe Bruno Mars' claim of the 2018 Grammys range from controversial to unbelievable and for some, disappointing. But there's one description we might all have to agree on: historic.

To win album, record and song of the year in one fell swoop is rare; to do this as an R&B artist, more so; to win record and song for two separate tracks off the same album, rarer still. Billboard crunched the numbers to find out just what records Mars met with his big wins on Sunday (Jan. 28) -- and the extraordinary one he even came close to breaking.

To review, Mars snagged album of the year for 24K Magic, record for the album's title track and song for "That's What I Like." He's only the tenth artist to win that trio of awards in the same night: Simon and Garfunkel were the first to achieve the trifecta with Bridge Over Troubled Water and its title track in 1971 (the first ceremony was held in 1959), and were followed by the likes of Eric Clapton (1993), Norah Jones (2001) and Adele, who claimed the triple honor twice (2012 and 2017).

Of all 10 artists, though, only one besides Mars can brag winning record and song of the year for two different songs off the same album. That would be Carole King, who in 1972 earned record for "It's Too Late" and song for "You've Got a Friend," both from her album of the year win Tapestry.

Here's the full list:

  • (1971) Simon and Garfunkel: Record/song of the year “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” album of the year Bridge Over Troubled Water
  • (1972) Carole King: Record of the year "It's Too Late," album of the year Tapestry, song of the year "You've Got a Friend"
  • (1981) Christopher Cross: Record/song of the year "Sailing," album of the year Christopher Cross
  • (1992) Natalie Cole: Record/song of the year "Unforgettable" with Nat "King" Cole, album of the year Unforgettable... with Love
  • (1993) Eric Clapton: Record/song of the year "Tears In Heaven," album of the year Unplugged
  • (2000) Santana: Record/song of the year "Smooth" featuring Rob Thomas, album of the year Supernatural
  • (2001) Norah Jones: Record/song of the year "Don't Know Why," album of the year Come Away With Me
  • (2007) Dixie Chicks: Record/song of the year "Not Ready To Make Nice," album of the year Taking The Long Way
  • (2012) Adele: Record/song of the year "Rolling In the Deep," album of the year 21
  • (2017) Adele: Record/song of the year "Hello," album of the year 25

Song awards aside, Mars belongs to an incredibly elite club of R&B artists who have nabbed album of the year. Just four other artists in the genre have been awarded the honor in the awards show's 60-year history: Stevie Wonder, who has earned album of the year three times (Songs in the Key of Life in 1977, Fulfillingness' First Finale in 1975 and Innervisions in 1974), Quincy Jones for Back on the Block (1991), Natalie Cole for Unforgettable... with Love (1992) and Ray Charles for Genius Loves Company (2005). The Bodyguard soundtrack (1994), credited to Whitney Houston and various artists, was also primarily R&B-based.

There's still one factoid that might shock fans the most. Bruno's total wins on Grammy night -- six -- mean he was just two awards away from tying Michael Jackson and Santana for most Grammys won in one night, ever. While Jackson won eight in 1984, following Thriller's takeover of pop radio, Santana tied that record in 2000 with Supernatural

All the same, Mars is the ninth artist to win six or more Grammys in a single ceremony, joining Quincy Jones, Beyoncé and a handful others.

2018 Grammy Awards