1977 Grammy Winners

20th Annual GRAMMY Awards (1977)

Throughout the 20th Annual GRAMMY Awards, a suitably far-flung galaxy of stars — quite literally from Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin to stoner comedy stars Cheech & Chong — appeared via videotape to wish the GRAMMYs a happy 20th birthday. This wasn’t the only significant nod to the show’s illustrious past. In fact, the entire evening — hosted for the first time by John Denver, in an appropriately ruffled ’70s tux — kicked off with an extended overture that found a troupe of interpretive dancers doing their thing to the soundtrack of all 19 past winners for Record Of The Year.

Yet the first live musical performance of the night was very much of the moment as teen idol and Best New Artist nominee Shaun Cassidy, dressed in an all-white pantsuit, kicked things into gear with a surprisingly convincing rendition of “That’s Rock & Roll.” Yet when Steve Martin — already a winner for Best Comedy Recording for Let’s Get Small — and Chicago came together to present the Best New Artist, the award went instead to Debby Boone, Pat Boone’s daughter, who was riding the crest of her success with the smash ballad “You Light Up My Life.”

“You Light Up My Life” also won Song Of The Year in a rare GRAMMY tie with “Love Theme From A Star Is Born (Evergreen)” by Barbra Streisand and Paul Williams. For his part, the witty Williams made one of the more memorable GRAMMY acceptance speeches by thanking by name a physician for providing him with “some incredible Valium that got me through the entire experience.” Joe Brooks, who wrote “You Light Up My Life,” then delivered one of the other memorable lines of the night when he pointed out that many of the music professionals in attendance had actually turned down his song, some of them multiple times, before adding, “This tastes so sweet.”

In accepting the GRAMMY for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, earlier in the evening, Streisand seemed genuinely taken aback to have triumphed over Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, Carly Simon and Debby Boone. “Gee, I’m really surprised,” she told the crowd. “I know I won four GRAMMYs, but I didn’t remember for what because it was such a long time ago.” Indeed, Streisand had last won at the 8th Annual GRAMMY Awards in 1966.

This was a night full of varied presenters, including legends Minnie Pearl (who charmingly contended that staring into John Denver’s eyes had given her a “Rocky Mountain High”) and Cab Calloway (who seemed genuinely taken aback by a big reaction from the crowd, telling them, “Thank you — and I’m so glad you remembered.”). The only genre conspicuously absent was punk rock, which had just hit Mother England during the previous year. There were also notable performances from the sublime — Count Basie and his band performing “Sweet Georgia Brown” — to the sublimely ridiculous — soul great Joe Tex performing “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)” with the help of an unusually voluptuous bumping and grinding dancer.

The always amiable John Denver, who had recently starred along with comedy great George Burns in the smash film Oh, God!, kept his own quips to a minimum on this GRAMMY night. Early on, however, he did gamely report that because space backstage was at a premium, artists had to share dressing rooms by genre. “I am personally sharing my dressing room with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris,” he explained with an unusually lusty grin. “Thank God I’m a country boy.” Denver would ultimately host the show five more times, becoming, like Andy Williams before him, a sort of GRAMMY regular. Remarkably, Denver would not actually win a GRAMMY himself until shortly after his death in 1997.

In the end, this 20th anniversary show was a GRAMMY night that found The Academy recognizing many of the finest and most popular recording artists on the West Coast rock scene, with the Eagles winning Record Of The Year for “Hotel California,” Fleetwood Mac taking Album Of The Year for Rumours and Steely Dan’s Aja taking home the award for Best Engineered Recording — Non-Classical. The force was also with John Williams, who won the GRAMMY for Best Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or A Television Special and Best Instrumental Composition for his music for Star Wars.

While presenting the Album Of The Year award to Fleetwood Mac, Graham Nash looked at his co-presenters David Crosby and Stephen Stills and posed perhaps one of the most thoughtful questions in GRAMMY history — one that subtly spoke to the wonderful culture clash that was the GRAMMY Awards at age 20: “Does anybody have any idea what it took to get Crosby into a tuxedo?”

Record Of The Year
Hotel California

Bill Szymczyk, producer

Album Of The Year
Fleetwood Mac

Ken Caillat, Richard Dashut & Fleetwood Mac (Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, John McVie & Stevie Nicks), producers

Song Of The Year
Barbra Streisand, Paul Williams
Love Theme From A Star Is Born (Evergreen)

Barbra Streisand & Paul Williams, songwriters (Barbra Streisand)

Joe Brooks
You Light Up My Life

Joe Brooks, songwriter (Debby Boone)

Best New Artist Of The Year
Debby Boone
Best Instrumental Arrangement
Nadia's Theme (The Young And The Restless)

Harry Betts, Perry Botkin Jr. & Barry De Vorzon, arrangers (Barry De Vorzon)

Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)
Love Theme From A Star Is Born (Evergreen)

Ian Freebairn-Smith, arranger (Barbra Streisand)

Best Arrangement For Voices
New Kid In Town

Eagles, arrangers (Eagles)

Best Engineered Recording - Non-Classical
Elliot Scheiner, Al Schmitt
Best Album Package
Simple Dreams

John Kosh, art director (Linda Ronstadt)

Best Album Notes
Bing Crosby - A Legendary Performer

George T. Simon, album notes writer (Bing Crosby)

Producer Of The Year
Peter Asher
Best Jazz Vocal Performance
Al Jarreau
Look To The Rainbow
Best Jazz Performance By A Soloist
Oscar Peterson
The Giants

Oscar Peterson, soloist

Best Jazz Performance By A Group
Phil Woods
The Phil Woods Six - Live From The Showboat
Best Jazz Performance By A Big Band
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female
Barbra Streisand
Love Theme From A Star Is Born (Evergreen)
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male
Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Group
Bee Gees
How Deep Is Your Love
Best Pop Instrumental Recording
Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female
Thelma Houston
Don't Leave Me This Way
Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male
Unmistakably Lou
Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus
Best Of My Love
Best R&B Instrumental Performance
Best Rhythm & Blues Song
Leo Sayer
You Make Me Feel Like Dancing

Vini Poncia & Leo Sayer, songwriters (Leo Sayer)

Best Gospel Performance, Contemporary Or Insprirational
Sail On
Best Gospel Performance, Traditional
Just A Little Talk With Jesus
Best Soul Gospel Performance, Contemporary
Edwin Hawkins

Edwin Hawkins & The Edwin Hawkins Singers

Best Soul Gospel Performance, Traditional
James Cleveland Live At Carnegie Hall
Best Inspirational Performance
Home Where I Belong
Best Country Vocal Performance, Female
Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue
Best Country Vocal Performance, Male
Best Country Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group
Heaven's Just A Sin Away
Best Country Instrumental Performance
Country Instrumentalist Of The Year
Best Country Song
Richard Leigh
Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue

Richard Leigh, songwriter (Crystal Gayle)

Best Ethnic Or Traditional Recording
Best Recording For Children
Aren't You Glad You're You

(Various Artists)

Best Comedy Recording
Steve Martin
Let's Get Small
Best Spoken Word Recording
The Belle Of Amherst
Best Instrumental Composition
John Williams
Star Wars - Main Title

John Williams, composer (John Williams)

Best Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or A Television Special
John Williams
Star Wars

John Williams, composer (John Williams)

Best Cast Show Album
Charles Strouse

Martin Charnin & Charles Strouse, composers; Larry Morton & Charles Strouse, producers (Andrea McCardle, Dorothy Loudon)

Best Classical Orchestral Performance
Mahler: Symphony No. 9 In D

(Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

Best Opera Recording
Gershwin: Porgy And Bess

John De Main; Thomas Z. Shepard, producer (Houston Grand Opera Orchestra)

Best Choral Performance (Other Than Opera)
Verdi: Requiem

(Chicago Symphony Chorus; Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

Best Chamber Music Performance
Juilliard String Quartet
Schoenberg: Quartets For Strings (Complete)

Juilliard String Quartet (Earl Carlyss, Joel Krosnick, Robert Mann & Samuel Rhodes), artists

Best Classical Performance Instrumental Soloist Or Soloists (With Orchestra)
Itzhak Perlman
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons

Itzhak Perlman, artist (London Philharmonic Orchestra)

Best Classical Performance Instrumental Soloist Or Soloists (Without Orchestra)
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 18 In E Flat/Schumann: Fantasiestucke, Op. 12
Best Classical Vocal Soloist Performance
Bach: Arias

(Academy Of St. Martin-In-The Fields)

Best Engineered Recording, Classical
Ravel: Bolero

Kenneth Wilkinson, engineer (Georg Solti, conductor)