How did Zach Braff—the Scrubs guy—score a Grammy in 2005? Two words: Garden State. The film, and that Shins song that "will change your life," apparently resonated in the hearts of the Academy; Garden State's soundtrack won an award for Best Compilation Soundtrack. Not bad, Braff. Not bad, indie rock.
There was a lot of interesting music happening in 2000. With the new millennium came the Baha Men's reggae-fueled party anthem "Who Let the Dogs Out." The song's as lighthearted as they come, and somehow managed to score the Bahamian band a Grammy for Best Dance Recording.
Germany's Kraftwerk are legendary for their robotic aesthetic and synth-pop, Kraut-rock sound. They were innovators and genre-inventors, turning bizarre bleeps and bloops melodic. Still, Kraftwerk are considered challenging music, and judging by some recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame snubs, they still lack mainstream appreciation. The Grammys proved cynics wrong and gave the German group a Lifetime Achieve Award in 2014.
Everyone seems to forget there's a Best Spoken Word Album award given each year at the Grammys, and Barack Obama has won it not once but twice. In 2006 he got it for the audiobook of Dreams from My Father, and then The Audacity of Hope won in 2008. Not bad for the guy who was about to start ruling the free world.
Before Nickelback adopted the title, Creed did a pretty good job holding the title of rock's biggest joke, regardless of their talent (same goes for the Chad Kroeger & Co...these are not bad bands.) In 2001, the Christian rockers won a Grammy for the undeniable, unavoidable hit, "Arms Wide Open." Careful next time you try to dub these guys the "worst band in the world."
And what about the guy who pretends to rule the free world? Stephen Colbert, too, has taken home the same prize as Obama, but in 2014, for his reading of America Again: Re-becoming The Greatness We Never Weren't. Colbert defeated Carol Burnett, David Sedaris, Billy Crystal and Pete Seeger. No one reads a book like this guy.
Milli Vanilli's 1990 Grammy win came as a shock to everyone because, well, it's Milli Vanilli—the one-hit wonders behind the silly and sensual "Girl You Know It's True." Scandal struck when the Academy learned that the group's vocals didn't actually belong to Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan. The German gents were quickly stripped of their Best New Artist award.
Who says punk doesn't have a place at award shows? In 1994 Black Flag frontman and hardcore icon Henry Rollins released a double-disc album titled Get in the Van: On the Road with Black Flag. The recording consisted of Rollins reading from his diary during the band's heyday. It's cool, raunchy, at times downright offensive, and it won Best Spoken Word Album.