The 60th annual Grammy Awards are coming up on Sunday, and while the institution has enjoyed six decades of glamour and importance, its history with electronic dance is considerably shorter.
This season marks only the 20th year electronic dance has been considered for an award of any kind, but two decades is still plenty of time to see industry shifts, stars rise the ranks and genres co-mingle in fun and unexpected ways.
Today, we take you down the star-studded path of the Grammys’ electronic dance adventure. From the very first awards to the ones that made dance floors around the world scream “FINALLY,” these are the 10 best dance moments in Grammy history.
The Grammys Open Up to Electronic Dance in 1998
In 1998, The Grammys first honored the work of electronic dance musicians with the categories best dance recording and best remixed recording non-classical. Disco innovator Giorgio Moroder and his classic collaborator Donna Summers won best dance recording for their work on “Carry On.” Chicago house legend Frankie Knuckles won the remix category for a whole slew of work he’d done with Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton and more. After that moment, nothing was the same.
First Best Dance/Electronic Album Award Goes to Basement Jaxx in 2005
Almost a decade later, the Grammys decided they could no longer ignore the full-length album work of electronic’s greatest artists. Basement Jaxx’s iconic Kish Kash beat The Crystal Method‘s Legion of Boom, Paul Oakenfold‘s Creamfields, The Prodigy‘s Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned, and Paul van Dyk‘s Reflections.
Also in 2005, Miike Snow won a Grammy for producing Britney Spears’ absolutely iconic and possibly best song ever (don’t @ me) “Toxic.” OK, they weren’t yet called Miike Snow yet. They were called Bloodshy & Avant, but that duo was born with the names Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg, and a few years later, when they teamed up with singer Andrew Wyatt, they became Miike Snow.
By 2012, the Grammys had a serious relationship with electronic dance, but it still wasn’t super in-touch with what “the kids” were really all about. Afrojack said himself, in 2011, it was just him and David Guetta. In 2012, Skrillex was there, A-Trak was there, Diplo was there. It was the first year the new EDM class was being welcomed into the establishment.
Afrojack spoke to Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter about all that on the red carpet, and he also spoke about helping Paris Hilton produce her dance album. Watch closely as Hilton calls her collaborators “Flo Rider” and “LMAFO.” We haven’t been able to stop laughing for a solid two minutes.
Skrillex’s First Grammy Acceptance Speech Is a Win for Everyone
Everyone in dance music will tell you like 500 times how nice Skrillex is and how much they “love Sonny.” This acceptance speech is the perfect example of why that exchange inevitably occurs. Today, Skrillex holds eight Grammys, but he won his first for his remix of Benny Benassi‘s “Cinema” in 2012, a version that has become even more iconic and recognizable than its original.
In his speech, he humbles himself greatly, telling of his struggle with homelessness, shouts out then-newcomers Zedd and Porter Robinson, and he gave up mad respect to all the producers who came before him. It’s an iconic, legendary moment in dance Grammy history. Watch and weep.
Deadmau5 Wears Skrillex’s Phone Number on His T-Shirt, Performs “Raise Your Weapon”
OK, so obviously 2012 was a big year for electronic dance in the modern sense at the Grammys. Afrojack was gushing, Skrillex was gushing harder, but the absolute winner of the evening was deadmau5, if only because he was the night’s biggest troll. He hit the red carpet wearing Skrillex’s personal cell phone number on his T-shirt with the caption “u mad bro?” Then he took the stage to perform his classic “Raise Your Weapon.”
After almost two decades of hard work that literally changed the music industry forever, Daft Punk took home not just any Grammy, but album of the year. Random Access Memories was also the first album the robots made without gratuitous samples, so you can imagine it must have been an even greater source of pride. If the long, shaking, meaningful and silent hug they share doesn’t make you cry, you’re not human, and you’re not a robot either. And the performance of “Get Lucky” that turns into a funk medley for the ages?! Watch as Beyoncé, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Katy Perry and the entire music industry dances like they’re blue people in the “One More Time” video.
Zedd and FOXES Win Best Dance Recording
The same year Daft Punk won album of the yar, Zedd won best dance recording for his huge hit “Clarity,” a song that has gone down as an absolute timeless classic. It also helped usher in the new age of dance-pop crossover in which we still live today. Zedd thanks his writing partner Matthew Koma, a ton of his industry friends and family. It’s adorably unprepared. Foxes was even chewing gum.
Diplo Wins His First and Only Grammy (to Date) for Jack U’s “Where Are U Now”
Can you believe that in all his many years and collaborations and world travels and Vice shows and what-have-you, Diplo has only won one Grammy? It seems almost strange. Also, doesn’t Skrillex look so much more comfortable up there than he did in 2012? He’d come a long way. He’s working with Justin Bieber now, and yet he’s still as humble as ever on the mic.
Flume Wins First Grammy Four Years After Sparking Future Bass Takeover
Flume may have won his first Grammy last year, but he had already changed the sound of dance music forevermore four years earlier. It’s a special thing, though, to win your first Grammy, and of course to represent your home country making so much noise. It was certainly deserved. Congrats to all the winners through the years, and good luck to all the nominees in 2018.