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GRAMMYs 2016

The 10 Biggest Upsets in GRAMMY History

Will the 2016 GRAMMYs include any complete shocks? We’ll find out soon, but until then, here are the 10 biggest surprises in the history of the GRAMMY Awards, from the Beatles to Beyoncé

1 / 10

1967: The Beatles' ‘Revolver’ Loses To a Frank Sinatra Album

UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1964: Photo of Beatles  (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

And not just any Frank Sinatra album—A Man and His Music, which features just three tracks specifically recorded for the project, topped arguably the greatest LP of the 1960s in the album of the year category.

2 / 10

1979: A Taste of Honey Beats Elvis Costello for Best New Artist

UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: Photo of Elvis COSTELLO; (approx 1978)  (Photo by Chris Gabrin/Redferns)
Chris Gabrin

A short-lived disco act over one of the most brilliant pop singer-songwriters ever? Come on, guys! The Cars and Toto, also nominated in the category that year, would have been more acceptable upsets in this one.

3 / 10

1985: Lionel Richie Tops Prince & Bruce Springsteen for Album of the Year

Much love to Lionel, “Hello” and “All Night Long (All Night),” but Can’t Slow Down is not better than Born In The U.S.A. or Purple Rain. It’s not even close, really.

4 / 10

1989: Jethro Tull Trumps Metallica in a Hard Rock Category

In 1989, Metallica was supposed to have the Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance category locked down with …And Justice For All. Then Jethro Tull, who somehow snuck in despite not being a hard rock or metal group, took home the gold with Crest of a Knave. At least the album title was pretty metal!

5 / 10

2001: Steely Dan Wins Album of the Year over Radiohead, Eminem

Okay, so there were a LOT of white guys nominated for album of the year in 2001, but the wrong white guys clearly won. Steely Dan’s ho-hum Two Against Nature somehow beat out Radiohead’s groundbreaking Kid A, Eminem’s landmark The Marshall Mathers LP and Beck’s way-more-fun-than-you-remember Midnite Vultures.

6 / 10

2005: A Ray Charles Posthumous LP Beats Out Everyone

CIRCA 1960: Entertainer and pianist Ray Charles records in the studio in circa 1960. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Im
Michael Ochs Archives

Genius Loves Company, Ray Charles’ final release, was up against Green Day’s American Idiot, Usher’s Confessions, Kanye West’s The College Dropout and Alicia Keys’ The Diary of Alicia Keys for Album of the Year. Once again, sentimentality won out over good music (and G.O.O.D. Music).

7 / 10

2011: Esperanza Spalding Takes Down Drizzy and the Biebs

Looking back, the 2011 Best New Artist class was stacked: Drake, Justin Bieber, Mumford & Sons and Florence + The Machine have all enjoyed remarkably successful careers since then. Still, none of them could top contemporary jazz artist Esperanza Spalding, who has gone on to carve a respected place in modern music without dominating radio.

8 / 10

2011: Arcade Fire Shuts Down Eminem, Lady Gaga

Win Butler of Arcade Fire accepts award onstage during The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 13, 2
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

If Eminem wasn’t going to win Album of the Year for Recovery, his third Album of the Year nomination, then Gaga was going to win it for The Fame Monster, her second Album of the Year nomination in a row. Instead, Canadian indie-rockers Arcade Fire strode onstage for The Suburbs—despite their third LP losing out in the Best Alternative Album category.

9 / 10

2014: Ceilings Can’t Hold Macklemore from Beating Kendrick Lamar

Getty Images, 2

Ah, the infamous text-message category: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ The Heist topped Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city for Best Rap Album in 2014, and Macklemore decided to Mackle even more by shooting Kendrick an apologetic text… which he then posted on Instagram, and which went viral.

10 / 10

2015: Beck Rolls Up The Partition on Beyoncé

Beyoncé’s self-titled opus was a shoo-in to win Album of the Year… until it wasn’t, since Beck’s Morning Phase, a surprise nominee, became a shocking winner. Kanye West almost crashed the stage to interrupt Beck’s acceptance speech, as he did to Taylor Swift in 2009, but decided against it at the last minute.

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NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Chance the Rapper and Iman dance at KENZO x H&M Launch Event Directed By Jean-Paul Goude' at Pier

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