As you probably know by now, female artists swept the coveted “Big Four” awards at the 2021 Grammys. Taylor Swift won album of the year for a record-tying third time with Folklore. Billie Eilish won record of the year for the second year in a row with “Everything I Wanted.” H.E.R. was among the writers of the song of the year winner, “I Can’t Breathe” (along with another woman, Tiara Thomas, and a man, Dernst Emile II). Megan Thee Stallion, coming off such hits as “Savage” and “WAP,” took best new artist.
This was the sixth time in Grammy history that females have swept the Big Four awards as lead or co-lead artists (combining solo artists and group members). It also happened last year, making this the first time it has happened two years running.
Here’s a look back at the first five times it happened:
1971 (presented March 14, 1972): Carole King won album (Tapestry), record (“It’s Too Late”) and song (“You’ve Got a Friend”). Carly Simon, who had her breakthrough hit in 1971 with the haunting “That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be,” won best new artist.
1981 (presented Feb. 24, 1982): John Lennon & Yoko Ono took album (Double Fantasy), Kim Carnes won record (“Bette Davis Eyes”) and Jackie DeShannon and Donna Weiss won song for writing that smash. Sheena Easton, coming off such hits as “Morning Train (Nine to Five)” and “For Your Eyes Only,” took best new artist.
2006 (presented Feb. 11, 2007): Dixie Chicks (consisting of Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines and Emily Robison) won album (Taking the Long Way), record and song (“Not Ready to Make Nice”). Carrie Underwood, coming off such hits as “Jesus, Take the Wheel” and “Before He Cheats,” won best new artist. (Dixie Chicks, now The Chicks, shared the songwriting award with Dan Wilson.)
2010 (presented Feb. 13, 2011): Arcade Fire (with two female members, Régine Chassagne and Sarah Neufeld) won album for The Suburbs. Lady Antebellum (with one female member, Hillary Scott) won record and song for “Need You Now.” In one of the biggest shockers in Grammy history, jazz artist Esperanza Spalding won best new artist. (Lady A shared the songwriting award with Josh Kear).
2019 (presented Jan. 26, 2020): Eilish swept album (When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?), record and song (“Bad Guy”). She also took best new artist. She shared the songwriting award with her brother and creative partner, Finneas.