What’s Your Grammy IQ?
How much do you know about the biggest night in music? Test your Grammy knowledge and discover a few fun facts along the way.
Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
A celebration of pop music—and more
Rich Polk/WireImage/Getty Images
Given out by the Recording Academy since 1958, the Grammys (named after the gramophone) honor the best in popular music, but that’s not all. In addition to the awards we see presented on TV, trophies are given in just about every genre of music, including classical, jazz, gospel, reggae, and even non-musical recordings such as spoken word (which includes audiobooks) and comedy. But, the most prized awards are the four in what’s called the “General field:” Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist. Only one artist has ever won all four in one night—read on to see if you can guess correctly who it is. Find out what the Grammys and other award shows used to be like.
Answer: 3. Sir Georg Solti
Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
With 31 wins, the late music director for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is the most decorated Grammy winner of all time and also holds the record for most wins in the classical field. Following his death in 1997, Sir Solti won posthumously for Best Opera Recording for Wagner: Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg at the awards handed out in 1998. Second place Grammy winner is celebrated artist and producer Quincy Jones, who has 28 awards; although Jones does hold the top spot for most nominations ever, with 80 nods. Michael Jackson does not even break the top 10—but the King of Pop holds another record we’ll get to later. Learn all the insider secrets you never knew about award shows.
Who has won all four General field awards (Record, Song, Album, and Best New Artist) in the same night?
Getty Images, rd.com
2. Mariah Carey
3. Christopher Cross
Answer: 3. Christopher Cross
David Wolff – Patrick/Getty Images
Only two artists have ever won all top four awards: Adele and Christopher Cross. But out of only 12 people ever nominated for all four at once (including Mariah Carey), Cross is the only artist who scored them all in one night, in 1980. If you’re scratching your head wondering who Christopher Cross is, you’re not alone: He hasn’t earned a Grammy nod since 1981. You may remember his hits “Sailing” and “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)”—that’s the one with the lyrics, “If you get caught between the moon and New York City…” Adele, on the other hand, has 15 wins out of 18 nominations, taking home Best New Artist in 2008, as well as Record, Song, and Album in the same night in two different years: 2012 and 2017. In doing so, she became the first artist ever to sweep the three awards twice. Discover 21 things you never knew about that other awards show, the Oscars.
Who holds the record for most overall Grammy wins by a woman?
Getty Images, rd.com
1. Alison Krauss
3. Aretha Franklin
Answer: 1. Alison Krauss
Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capital Concerts Inc.
This bluegrass/country singer, songwriter, and musician has a whopping 27 Grammy wins. Krauss is not only the most decorated female winner, but she also comes in third place for most Grammy wins of all time. Her latest Grammy was in 2012 for Best Bluegrass Album, Paper Airplane. Beyoncé comes in second with 23 wins as of 2019; she also holds the record for the most nominations by a female artist, with 70 nods, including four going into the 2020 awards. Could Queen Bey possibly tie Krauss this year as the biggest female winner? It’s possible! Aretha Franklin comes in third for female wins, with 18 trophies. Franklin is also one of 57 trailblazing women who made history.
Answer: 3. Morten Lindberg
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
You’ve probably never heard of him, but sound engineer and producer Morten Lindberg has the most Grammy nominations ever, 28, without a win—although he’s up for two this year, so he might finally make it off the biggest loser list. Composer Zubin Mehta comes in second with 18 nods and no wins; R&B crooner Brian McKnight ties with composer Valery Gergiev with 17 nominations and no wins. Rapper Snoop Dogg has also been famously overlooked, with 16 nominations. The biggest female loser is Icelandic singer Bjork, with 15 nods and no wins. Other famous losers include country stars Dierks Bentley, Tanya Tucker, and Martina McBride, all with 14 nominations, and Katy Perry with 13 nods and no awards. Find out 16 things you never knew about the Emmys.