1968 Winners

11th Annual GRAMMY Awards (1968)

For the 11th Annual GRAMMY Awards, the live presentation ceremony and “The Best On Record” special were linked as never before—bringing the show one step closer to the live telecast that would follow in two years. The winner for Record Of The Year was not announced during the awards dinner so that the winner could instead be revealed during the NBC special that aired nearly two months later on May 5. To accomplish this, five separate awards announcements and acceptance speeches were taped. Just an hour before air time, a network official opened the envelope and instructed a machine operator to insert the correct reel into the master tape. The decision proved somewhat controversial. Writing in the Los Angeles Times, staff writer Wayne Warga reported that when Los Angeles Chapter President Irving Townsend announced at the awards dinner that an award was being held back to help ratings, “The audience booed him. Fortunately, nobody threw anything. This was probably because the waiters had wisely cleared the tables.” Apparently performances by Jackie DeShannon, Lou Rawls, Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart and Bill Medley were far better received.

There was no booing whatsoever when “The Best On Record” finally aired—indeed this edition of “The Best On Record: The GRAMMY Awards Show” felt downright giddy thanks in part to the presence of opening and closing act Dan Rowan and Dick Martin whose “Laugh-In” show had become the comedic rage since its debut in 1968. Interestingly, “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” was—like “The Best On Record”—produced by George Schlatter, a synergy that lent the proceeding a certain “Laugh-In” like, slightly off-color, “sock-it-to-me” charm.

Accordingly, comedians figured quite prominently in this hour of TV. Flip Wilson introduced Jeannie C. Riley’s performance of “Harper Valley P.T.A.”—a winner for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female, and a nominee in the still open Record Of The Year category—by declaring, “Country music has come a long way since the washboard and kazoo. Nowadays they use electric washboards and electric kazoos.” Don Rickles appeared alongside Tiny Tim for a surreal introduction of a fascinating and unusual clip of another of the Record Of The Year nominees—Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson.” Asked to film a performance of the song, Simon & Garfunkel suggested instead that they would prefer to film a segment at an empty Yankee Stadium—a seeming nod to Joe DiMaggio who figured in the song’s lyrics. Executive Producer Ted Bergmann recalls Paul Simon saying, “Art and I will run the bases while you play ‘Mrs. Robinson.’” The resulting clip is a fantastic, offbeat early rock video—a truly winning non-performance GRAMMY performance. Tommy Smothers introduced the Los Angeles cast of “Hair,” which then performed two songs from “The American Tribal Love Rock Musical,” spotlighting both Delores Hall and Jennifer Warnes, the latter of whom would return to win a couple GRAMMYs more than a decade later.  

It took a village—okay, actually the entire King Family—to introduce Best New Artist and Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Performance, Male, winner Jose Feliciano, and the singer/guitarist did the whole family proud with a powerful rendition of “Light My Fire.” Burt Bacharach introduced a strong performance of “Do You Know The Way To San Jose?” by Dionne Warwick—GRAMMY winner for Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Performance, Female. “She has a voice and a style and a warmth that gives any song a very special meaning,” he said, clearly from personal experience. Mama Cass, meanwhile, introduced a performance clip of “Hey Jude” by the Beatles—another nominee for Record Of The Year.

Toward the end of “The Best On Record,” Henry Mancini appeared to introduce “the big one we’ve all waited for” — the winner of Record Of The Year. Ultimately Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson” prevailed over not only the Beatles’ “Hey Jude,” but also Jeannie C. Riley’s “Harper Valley P.T.A.,” Glen Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman” and Bobby Goldsboro’s “Honey.” Accordingly, the pre-taped speech came from Art Garfunkel who, wearing a tux but holding a baseball, graciously — and theoretically — accepted on behalf of producer and engineer Roy Halee and “my best friend Paul Simon who wouldn’t wear a tuxedo today.” 

Record Of The Year
 
winner
Mrs. Robinson

Roy Halee & Simon And Garfunkel (Art Garfunkel & Paul Simon), producers

Album Of The Year
 
winner
Glen Campbell
By The Time I Get To Phoenix

Al De Lory, producer

Song Of The Year
 
winner
Little Green Apples

Bobby Russell, songwriter (Roger Miller AND ALSO O.C. Smith)

Best New Artist Of The Year
 
winner
Jose Feliciano
Best Instrumental Arrangement
 
winner
Classical Gas

Mike Post, arranger (Mason Williams)

Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)
 
winner
Mac Arthur Park

Jimmy L. Webb, arranger (Richard Harris)

Best Engineered Recording (Non-Classical)
 
winner
Wichita Lineman

Hugh Davies & Joe Polito, engineers (Glen Campbell)

Best Album Cover
 
winner
Underground

Horn Grinner Studios, photographer; John Berg & Richard Mantel, art directors (Thelonious Monk)

Best Album Notes
 
winner
Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison

Johnny Cash, album notes writer (Johnny Cash)

Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Performance, Female
 
winner
Do You Know The Way To San Jose?
Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Performance, Male
 
winner
Light My Fire
Best Contemporary Pop Performance - Vocal Duo Or Group
 
Best Contemporary Pop Performance, Chorus
 
winner
Mission Impossible/Norwegian Wood Medley

Alan Copeland Singers

Best Contemporary Pop Performance, Instrumental
 
winner
Classical Gas
Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance, Female
 
winner
Chain Of Fools
Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance, Male
 
winner
(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
Best Rhythm & Blues Performance By A Duo Or Group, Vocal Or Instrumental
 
Best Rhythm & Blues Song
 
winner
(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay

Steve Cropper & Otis Redding, songwriters (Otis Redding)

Best Country Vocal Performance, Female
 
winner
Harper Valley P.T.A.
Best Country Vocal Performance, Male
 
winner
Johnny Cash
Folsom Prison Blues
Best Country Performance, Duo Or Group - Vocal Or Instrumental
 
winner
Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Best Country Song
 
winner
Little Green Apples

Bobby Russell, songwriter (Roger Miller AND ALSO O.C. Smith)

Best Sacred Performance
 
winner
Beautiful Isle Of Somewhere
Best Gospel Performance
 
winner
The Happy Gospel Of The Happy Goodmans
Best Soul Gospel Performance
 
winner
The Soul Of Me
Best Folk Performance
 
winner
Both Sides Now
Best Instrumental Theme
 
winner
Classical Gas

Mason Williams, composer (Mason Williams)

Best Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or A Television Special
 
winner
Paul Simon
The Graduate

Dave Grusin & Paul Simon, composers (Simon And Garfunkel)

Best Score From An Original Cast Show Album
 
winner
Hair

Galt MacDermott, James Rado & Gerome Ragni, composers; Andy Wiswell, producer (Ronnie Dyson, Gerome Ragni, Steve Curry, Lamont Washington, Diane Keaton, Melba Moore, James Rado)

Best Comedy Recording
 
winner
To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With
Best Spoken Word Recording
 
winner
Lonesome Cities
Best Instrumental Jazz Performance - Small Group Or Soloist With Small Group
 
winner
Bill Evans At The Montreux Jazz Festival
Best Instrumental Jazz Performance - Large Group Or Soloist With Large Group
 
winner
Duke Ellington
And His Mother Called Him Bill
Best Classical Performance - Orchestra
 
winner
Boulez Conducts Debussy (La Mer; Prelude A L'Apres-Midi D'Un Faune; Jeux)

(New Philharmonia Orchestra)

Best Chamber Music Performance
 
winner
Glory Of Gabrieli Vol. II - Canzonas For Brass, Winds, Strings And Organ
Best Opera Recording
 
winner
Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte

Erich Leinsdorf; Richard Mohr, producer (New Philharmonia Orchestra)

Best Performance - Instrumental Soloist Or Soloists (With Or Without Orchestra)
 
winner
Horowitz On Television (Chopin, Scriabin, Scarlatti, Horowitz)
Best Choral Performance (Other Than Opera)
 
winner
The Glory Of Gabrieli

(Gregg Smith Singers & Texas Boys Choir)

Best Vocal Soloist Performance
 
winner
Rossini: Rarities

(RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra)

Best Engineered Recording - Classical
 
winner
Mahler: Symphony No. 9 In D

Gordon Parry, engineer (Georg Solti, conductor; London Symphony Orchestra)