How did ABBA get nominated for both Record (“Don’t Shut Me Down”) and Album (“Voyage”) of the Year in 2023?
And has anybody even heard Bonnie Raitt’s Song of the Year nominee “Just Like That”? (Sorry, but it’s no “Something to Talk About.”)
In the Grammy 2023 nominations — for the 65th annual awards, which will take place Sunday at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles — there are, like always, some surprises in the top categories to go along with usual suspects such as Adele, Beyoncé, Lizzo and Kendrick Lamar.
Here, we break down some of the most shocking nominations ever — 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” is a shocker, then so was the Swedish group’s nod for “I Still Have Faith for You” in 2022. 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!” fans in the Recording Academy who are 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 of the Los Angeles Convention with masked attendees socially distanced from each other. And when the number of nominees expanded from five to eight in 2019, the occasional head-scratcher was to be expected. But in 2021, the inclusions of alt-soul singer Jhené Aiko’s “Chilombo” and even the Black Pumas’ self-titled set were one-upped by the nomination for British jazz artist Jacob Collier for his album “Djesse Vol. 3” that truly 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 scored 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”) clocking in under 19 minutes — would even be considered an album. No surprise, it was the briefest Album of the Year nominee in history.
Sturgill Simpson, Album of the Year (2017)
Back 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 had 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 was a surprise winner over 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 — peaked at only No. 34 on the Billboard Rock Songs chart says a lot about why this nomination just didn’t make sense. Especially when you consider that it was up against the likes of Cee Lo Green’s “F**k You,” Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me,” Eminem featuring Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie” and the winner, Lady Antebellum’s “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 be alongside Green Day’s “American Idiot,” Usher featuring Lil Jon & Ludacris’ “Yeah” and the winner, Ray Charles & Norah Jones’ “Here We Go Again.” LLB’s nomination even made the Black Eyed Peas’ inclusion for “Let’s Get It Started” seem like a better pick.
Warren Zevon, Song of the Year (2004)
When Zevon — who just received his first nomination for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame — was nominated for SOTY for “Keep Me in Your Heart,” he was completely out-classed by Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” Avril Lavigne’s “I’m with You” and Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” and the winner, Luther Vandross’ “Dance with My Father.” The song wasn’t even officially released as a single from his 2003 album “The Wind,” but no doubt received sentimental support after Zevon’s September 2003 death.
Diana Krall, Album of the Year (2000)
Nothing was probably going to beat Santana’s blockbuster “Supernatural” in 2000. But you could certainly made a good case for TLC’s “FanMail,” Dixie Chicks’ “Fly,” Backstreet Boys’ “Millennium” being in the conversation. But Krall’s “When I Look in Your Eyes” — the fifth studio LP by the jazz chanteuse — peaked at a mere 56 on the Billboard 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 fail. Seriously, how the hell did that get a nod over Michael Jackson’s certified classic “Off the Wall”?