Music is one of the few truly universal forms of expression. The Grammy awards are an annual tradition showcasing some of the best releases of the year. We have an extensive music collection across our system with a number of these acclaimed works. I’ve included one nominee or winner for Best Album of the Year that is available as part of our collection to get you ready for this year’s Grammys!
Let’s start off with an album everyone is probably at least a little familiar with, even if you aren’t a huge fan of the Beatles. Help! was a nominee during the 1966 Grammy Ceremony and accompanied the movie with the same title. It has a number of the Beatles most well-known songs, including “Yesterday”, which is still the most covered song ever according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Innervisions was Stevie Wonder’s sixteenth studio album and 1973 Album of the Year winner. This is a notable album for him for several reasons, including being the first artist to heavily use a synthesizer throughout the album, paving the way for it to become commonly used in the future. Three days after Innervisions was released, Wonder was in a horrific car accident that almost ended his life. He was knocked unconscious and spent several days in a coma. Thankfully he went on to have many more years of an illustrious career. If this had been a fatal accident, Stevie Wonder would have passed away at age 23.
Whitney was nominated for the 1988 Album of the Year and contained one of her mega hits “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” It was Houston’s second album and reached a significant milestone more than 30 years after its initial release. On October 28, 2020 it was certified by the Recording Industry Association of America as diamond certified, meaning it has sold at least 10 million copies since its release. This was Houston’s third diamond certified album, making her the first Black musician to accomplish this!
You probably know at least half the songs on this album without even seeing the track listing! 1991’s Beauty and the Beast was the first animated film to be voted for Best Picture in the Academy Awards and won two Oscars for the soundtrack. It was nominated for Album of the Year in 1993, but lost to Eric Clapton’s Unplugged. Did you know that composer Alan Menken was inspired by Camille Saint-Saëns’ The Carnival of the Animals?
This 2004 Album of the Year winner is a double album. You may remember a little song called “Hey Ya” from this release. André 3000, one of the two rappers that make up Outcast, wanted to begin recording the album at home instead of the studio. Eventually, around 120 songs were recorded for this double release album, though they obviously weren’t all released on these albums.
Fearless was the second studio album released by Taylor Swift and won Album of the Year in 2010. It was the best selling album of 2009 and caused 19 year old Swift to be the youngest musician with a best-selling album at that time. One of the most popular songs from this album, “Love Story,” was released as a Romeo and Juliet-type story, but with a happier ending. Swift has always written about her life at that moment, and writing about a play commonly read in high school just made sense for her at that time.
If you prefer streaming your music, several of these albums are on Freegal. Check out our playlist of Grammy nominated and award winning artists, or find another favorite artist on the service! Who is your favorite Grammy-winning artist, song, or album? We would love to know in the comments! Happy listening!
Kelsey Shackelford is the Community Events Liaison for Boone County Public Library.