1972 Grammy Winners

15th Annual GRAMMY Awards (1972)

(The following is an excerpt from And The GRAMMY Goes To...: The Official Story Of Music's Most Coveted Award.)

Like several other GRAMMY shows of the era, the 15th Annual GRAMMY Awards ceremony—broadcast live from Nashville’s Tennessee Theatre and hosted by Andy Williams—seems in retrospect to be an intermittently mind-blowing, impressively eclectic study in contrasts, from a first performance by the decidedly clean-cut Mike Curb Congregation to the Album Of The Year award going to The Concert For Bangladesh, the spiritual predecessor of such global pop goodwill efforts as USA for Africa, Live 8 and Live Aid.

Taking his cue from the previous year’s name-game jokes, host Andy Williams kidded about some songs that weren’t nominated—including “Last Tango In Paris” by Henry Kissinger, “One Less Bell To Answer” by heavyweight fighter Joe Frazier, “I Am Woman” by Alice Cooper (jokes about Cooper’s gender-bending name would become a running gag for the next few years) and Burt Reynolds’ version of “Superfly.”

He then introduced a convincing performance of “Your Mama Don’t Dance” by Loggins & Messina, nominees for Best New Artist. Immediately afterward, the 5th Dimension offered a singing presentation of the nominees and the award went to America on the strength of the megahit “A Horse With No Name,” with Dusty Springfield accepting on their behalf.

This night in Nashville then took a country turn with Charley Pride performing “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’” followed by Loretta Lynn and Eddy Arnold presenting him with the GRAMMY for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male (it also nabbed Best Country Song for songwriter Ben Peters). The Staple Singers then gave one of the most inspiring and inspired performances of the night with their Stax soul gospel masterpiece, “I’ll Take You There,” with Mavis Staples in particularly fine form.

In arguably the night’s most unlikely pairing, the wonderfully tough-talking comedienne Moms Mabley was partnered with wholesome singer Johnny Mann of the Johnny Mann Singers to present the next award for Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus. Donning her glasses and looking Mann over, Mabley told the crowd with perfect timing, “You all got to be kidding.” The award went to the Temptations for “Papa Was A Rolling Stone,” with their old friend Smokey Robinson accepting (the song would win three GRAMMYs on the night for the group, arranger Paul Riser, and songwriters Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield).

The show’s mind-bending eclecticism continued for the rest of the night, from Donna Fargo singing the impossibly upbeat “Happiest Girl In The Whole USA” (and winning Best Country Vocal Performance, Female) to Curtis Mayfield and some funky interracial dancers in glitter Afros performing the gritty junkie lament “Freddie’s Dead” from Superfly. In between were some of the year’s biggest hits, including Mac Davis’ “Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me,” and Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Alone Again, Naturally.”

Other highlights of this GRAMMY evening included the great Johnny Cash delivering a little Recording Academy history like it was a great American train song. He described the organization as “fast-moving, creative and exciting like the recording industry itself. I’m Johnny Cash and I’m proud to be a part of it,” the Man In Black said in conclusion, as only he could. Close friends Harry Nilsson (who won Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, for his version of Badfinger’s “Without You”) and Ringo Starr (who accepted the Album Of The Year award on behalf of George Harrison and the other Concert For Bangladesh participants) made a memorable award presentation that saw them reading their lines in nearly perfect unison.

And in a wonderful early display of feminism on the GRAMMYs, Helen Reddy sang her anthem “I Am Woman” then, in accepting the award for Best Pop Performance, Female, she finished with one of the greatest acceptance lines of all, “...And I would like to thank God because She makes everything possible.”

Record Of The Year
Roberta Flack, Joel Dorn
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

Joel Dorn, producer

Album Of The Year
George Harrison, Ravi Shankar, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Eric Clapton, Klaus Voormann, Phil Spector

George Harrison & Phil Spector, producers

Song Of The Year
Ewan MacColl
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

Ewan MacColl, songwriter (Roberta Flack)

Best New Artist Of The Year
Best Instrumental Arrangement
Theme From The French Connection

Don Ellis, arranger (Don Ellis Big Band)

Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)
What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?

Michel Legrand, arranger (Sarah Vaughan)

Best Engineered Recording - Non-Classical

Armin Steiner, engineer (Neil Diamond)

Best Album Cover
The Siegel-Schwall Band

Acy R. Lehman, art director (Siegel-Schwall Band)

Best Album Notes
Tom T. Hall's Greatest Hits

Tom T. Hall, album notes writer (Tom T. Hall)

Best Album Notes (Classical)
James Lyons
Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 2 (A London Symphony)

James Lyons, album notes writer (Andre Previn, conductor)

Best Jazz Performance By A Soloist
Gary Burton
Alone At Last

Gary Burton, soloist

Best Jazz Performance By A Group
Best Jazz Performance By A Big Band
Duke Ellington
Toga Brava Suite
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male
Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus
Donny Hathaway, Roberta Flack
Where Is The Love
Best Pop Instrumental Performance By An Instrumental Performer
Best Pop Instrumental Performance By An Arranger, Composer, Orchestra And/Or Choral Leader
Isaac Hayes
Black Moses
Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female
Aretha Franklin
Young, Gifted And Black
Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male
Billy Paul
Me And Mrs. Jones
Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus
Papa Was A Rollin' Stone
Best R&B Instrumental Performance
Papa Was A Rollin' Stone
Best Rhythm & Blues Song
Norman Whitfield
Papa Was A Rollin' Stone

Barrett Strong & Norman Whitfield, songwriters (The Temptations)

Best Soul Gospel Performance
Best Country Vocal Performance, Female
Donna Fargo
Happiest Girl In The Whole USA
Best Country Vocal Performance, Male
Charley Pride
Charley Pride Sings Heart Songs
Best Country Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group
Class Of '57
Best Country Instrumental Performance
Charlie McCoy
Charlie McCoy/The Real McCoy
Best Country Song
Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'

Ben Peters, songwriter (Charley Pride)

Best Inspirational Performance
Elvis Presley
He Touched Me
Best Gospel Performance (Other Than Soul Gospel)
Best Ethnic Or Traditional Recording (Including Traditional Blues)
Muddy Waters
The London Muddy Waters Session
Best Recording For Children
Rita Moreno, Bill Cosby
The Electric Company
Best Comedy Recording
Best Spoken Word Recording

(Original Cast)

Best Instrumental Composition
Brian's Song

Michel Legrand, composer (Michel Legrand)

Best Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or A Television Special
Nino Rota
The Godfather

Nino Rota, composer (Nino Rota)

Best Score From An Original Cast Show Album
Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope

Micki Grant, composer; Jerry Ragavoy, producer (Alex Bradford, Hope Clarke, Bobby Hill)

Best Classical Album
Georg Solti
Mahler: Symphony No. 8 In E Flat (Symphony Of A Thousand)

Georg Solti, artist; David Harvey, producer

Best Classical Performance - Orchestra
Mahler: Symphony No. 7 In E Minor

(Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

Best Opera Recording
Berlioz: Benvenuto Cellini

Colin Davis; Erik Smith, producer (BBC Symphony Orchestra)

Best Choral Performance, Classical (Other Than Opera)
Mahler: Symphony No. 8 In E Flat (Symphony Of A Thousand)

(Vienna Boys Choir, Vienna Singverein Chorus & Vienna State Opera Chorus; Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

Best Chamber Music Performance
Julian Bream
Julian And John (Works By Lawes, Carulli, Albeniz, Granados)
Best Classical Performance - Instrumental Soloist Or Soloists (With Orchestra)
Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 2 In B Flat

Artur Rubinstein, artist (Philadelphia Orchestra)

Best Classical Performance - Instrumental Soloist Or Soloists (Without Orchestra)
Vladimir Horowitz
Horowitz Plays Chopin
Best Classical Vocal Soloist Performance
Brahms: Die Schone Magelone
Best Engineered Recording (Classical)
Mahler: Symphony No. 8 (Symphony Of A Thousand)

Gordon Parry & Kenneth Wilkinson, engineers (Georg Solti, conductor)