Updated: February 5, 2023 | 2:21 p.m.
How did ABBA get nominated for Record (“Don’t Shut Me Down”) and Album (“Voyage”) of the Year in 2023?
And has anyone ever heard Bonnie Raitt’s nominated song of the year “Just Like That”? (Sorry, but that’s not “Something to say.”)
In the 2023 Grammy nominations – for the 65th annual awards show, which takes place on Sunday at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles – there are, as always, a few surprises in the top categories to go along with the usual suspects like Adele, Beyoncé, Lizzo and Kendrick Lamar.
Here, we break down some of the most shocking nominations of all time – from Supertramp to Sturgill Simpson – on music’s biggest night.
Abba, record of the year (2022)
If Abba’s ROTY nomination for “Don’t Shut Me Down” comes as a shock, then so did the Swedish band’s nod to 2022’s “I Still Have Faith for You.” We get it – they should have been nominated years before in this category. for at least “Dancing Queen”. But hey, apparently there must be a lot of “Mamma Mia!” Recording Academy fans determined to make up for lost time.
Jacob Collier, album of the year (2021)
The 2021 Grammys were already a bizarre pandemic affair taking place outside the Los Angeles Convention with masked attendees socially distanced from one another. And when the number of nominees jumped from five to eight in 2019, the occasional headache was to be expected. But in 2021, the inclusions of alternative soul singer Jhené Aiko’s ‘Chilombo’ and even the eponymous Black Pumas set were bolstered by the nomination of British jazz artist Jacob Collier for his album ‘Djesse Vol. 3″ which really came out of nowhere.
Lil Nas X, Album of the Year (2020)
With Lil Nas X having the biggest hit of 2019 in “Old Town Road,” it’s certainly no surprise that he earned a Record of the Year nomination. But it’s a stretch by any imagination that his EP “7” – with its eight tracks (two of which were versions of “Old Town Road”) clocked in under 19 minutes – would even qualify as an album. No surprise, it was the shortest Album of the Year nominee in history.
Sturgill Simpson, album of the year (2017)
In the good old days — when there were still only five AOTY nominees — this alt-country artist had a seat at an A-list table with Adele (“25”), Beyoncé (“Lemonade”), Justin Bieber (“Purpose”) and Drake (“Views”) thanks to his album “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth.” Although his LP clearly received support from the Nashville crowd — it won Best Country Album — the Recording Academy seemed lost at sea on this one.
Bon Iver, record of the year (2012)
The indie folk artist upset the band Perry, J. Cole, Nicki Minaj and Skrillex for best new artist at the 2012 Grammys. But it was even more surprising that he was in the company of Adele (“Rolling in the Deep”), Mumford & Sons (“The Cave”), Katy Perry (“Firework”) and Bruno Mars (“Grenade”) with “Holocene” for record of the year.
Ray LaMontagne, song of the year (2011)
The fact that “Beg, Steal or Borrow” – written by singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne and performed with his backing band The Pariah Dogs – only reached No. 34 on the Billboard Rock Songs chart says it all. on why this nomination just doesn’t make sense. Especially considering it was opposite Cee Lo Green’s “F**k You”, Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me”, Eminem with Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie” and the winner, Lady Antebellum “Need you now.”
Los Lonely Boys, record of the year (2005)
Sure, “Heaven” – the debut single from brothers Henry, Jojo and Ringo Garza – was a minor hit, but did it really deserve to sit alongside Green Day’s “American Idiot”, Usher featuring Lil’ Jon & Ludacris and the winner, “Here We Go Again” by Ray Charles and Norah Jones. The LLB nomination even made the inclusion of the Black Eyed Peas for “Let’s Get It Started” a better choice.
Warren Zevon, song of the year (2004)
When Zevon – who just received his first Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nomination – was nominated for SOTY for “Keep Me in Your Heart”, he was completely outclassed by Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful”, “I’m with You” and “Lose Yourself” by Eminem and the winner, “Dance with My Father” by Luther Vandross. The song wasn’t even officially released as a single from his 2003 album “The Wind,” but no doubt received sentimental support following Zevon’s death in September 2003.
Diana Krall, album of the year (2000)
Nothing was probably going to beat Santana’s 2000 blockbuster “Supernatural.” But you could definitely argue for TLC’s “FanMail,” Dixie Chicks’ “Fly,” Backstreet Boys’ “Millennium.” But Krall’s “When I Look in Your Eyes” — the jazz singer’s fifth studio LP — peaked at just 56 on Billboard’s 200 albums chart.
Supertramp, album of the year (1980)
When you think of all the other albums that could have been nominated alongside The Doobie Brothers’ ‘Minute by Minute’, Kenny Rogers’ ‘The Gambler’, Donna Summer’s ‘Bad Girls’ and Billy Joel’s ’52nd Street’ – the winner in 1980 – Supertramp’s “Breakfast in America” seems like a super miss. Seriously, how on earth did this get a nod to Michael Jackson’s certified classic “Off the Wall”?