1978 Winners

21st Annual GRAMMY Awards (1978)

“I look out here at all the members of The Recording Academy and I see a lot of silks and satins and jewelry and new hair styles — and gee, the ladies look fantastic too,” host John Denver (wearing a tux with bell-bottomed pants) said with a smile at the start of the 21st Annual GRAMMY Awards show, the last ceremony held in the ’70s. Indeed, the music industry really was growing up in a number of fascinating ways. “Twenty-One is a very special age,” Denver noted. “Twenty-One is when you come of age.” Among those coming along for the ride on this GRAMMY night were winners from A Taste Of Honey of “Boogie Oogie Oogie” fame — who won Best New Artist beating out the likes of Elvis Costello, the Cars, Chris Rea and Toto too — to legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz who received two classical awards. Where else in the world besides on the GRAMMYs would Johnny “Take This Job And Shove It” Paycheck and the great tenor Jan Peerce be found next to each other on the bill?

Disco had very much come of age as GRAMMY 21 intermittently turned into Studio 54. The entrenchment of disco by 1978 had become a cultural phenomenon. Manhattan’s Studio 54 was the most high-profile nightspot in the country; Saturday Night Fever took the nation’s theaters by storm; and artists of all stripes — including such venerable rock acts as the Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart — were recording disco and releasing 12" club mixes. Disco colored the fashions (all those satins and silks Denver referred to in his opening remarks) and sense of the times, and led to Denver awkwardly (though endearingly) appropriating John Travolta’s Fever dance moves for his performance of the Bee Gees' “Stayin’ Alive” during a tribute to the year’s Song Of The Year nominees. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Album Of The Year GRAMMY was bestowed upon the smash hit Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.

The first performance of the night was the glitzy ode to the disco lifestyle “I Love The Nightlife” by Alicia Bridges. Dionne Warwick and Quincy Jones presented the GRAMMY award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female, to Donna Summer — who faced considerable competition from nominees such as Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Chaka Khan and Bridges herself — for “Last Dance.”

In the midst of the discothon, the GRAMMYs managed to do what it always does best — highlight all kinds of music, including Chuck Mangione’s flugelhorn hit “Feels So Good,” and a rousing number by Oscar Peterson, winner of Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist (Montreaux ’77 — Oscar Peterson Jam).

In addition to Johnny Paycheck’s biting state of the working man performance, country music was well represented by presenters who spoke their minds. Before announcing that his future fellow Highwayman Willie Nelson had won the GRAMMY for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male (“Georgia On My Mind”) Kris Kristofferson, with wife Rita Coolidge at his side, told the crowd, “I think there ought to be a special award given every year to George Jones and Jerry Lee Lewis just for being who they are.” Glen Campbell and then flame Tanya Tucker did a very special picking and singing presentation of the award for Best Country Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group that became a little more special when it turned out that neither of the beloved country outlaws Waylon Jennings or Willie Nelson were there to pick up the award for the now-iconic “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.” “Well, as most of you know, Waylon and Willie wouldn’t walk a mile to see a pissant eat a bale of hay, but we congratulate them anyway and accept it on their behalf.”

And perhaps in a moment of nostalgia for some old-fashioned rock, The Academy recognized Steely Dan’s “FM (No Static At All)” — from the movie celebrating the age of free-form radio — with a Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical, for Roger Nichols and Al Schmitt.

Another of the evening’s big winners was also not in attendance — Billy Joel, who won both Record Of The Year for “Just The Way You Are” along with his producer Phil Ramone, and Song Of The Year for the same classic romantic ballad. Barry Manilow definitely was there to pick up his only GRAMMY to date for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male, for “Copacabana (At The Copa).” And if the experience wasn’t memorable enough, Manilow received his award from Steve Martin — winner of the Best Comedy Recording for A Wild And Crazy Guy — who took the stage in a tux with no pants, which were later handed to him in dry-cleaner wrapping. Martin went on to offer his own memorable thanks, including a shout out to his own manager “who has believed in me ever since the first album started selling.”

The most inspiring performer of the night, however, may have been 96-year-old Eubie Blake, who would arguably have been named Best New Artist of 1921 had there been a GRAMMY Awards then. Blake performed his classic “I’m Just Wild About Harry” with dancing girls several generations his junior, and then presented the Best New Artist award with Denver. “Boy,” Blake said with a youthful smile on his face, “I’m having the time of my life up here.”

Record Of The Year
 
winner
Billy Joel, Phil Ramone
Just The Way You Are

Phil Ramone, producer

Album Of The Year
 
Song Of The Year
 
winner
Billy Joel
Just The Way You Are

Billy Joel, songwriter (Billy Joel)

Best New Artist
 
winner
A Taste Of Honey
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female
 
winner
You Needed Me
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male
 
winner
Copacabana (At The Copa)
Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus
 
winner
Bee Gees
Saturday Night Fever
Best Pop Instrumental Performance
 
winner
Children Of Sanchez
Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female
 
Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male
 
Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus
 
Best R&B Instrumental Performance
 
Best Rhythm & Blues Song
 
winner
Last Dance

Paul Jabara, songwriter (Donna Summer)

Best Country Vocal Performance, Female
 
winner
Dolly Parton
Here You Come Again
Best Country Vocal Performance, Male
 
winner
Willie Nelson
Georgia On My Mind
Best Country Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group
 
winner
Willie Nelson
Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys
Best Country Instrumental Performance
 
winner
One O'Clock Jump
Best Country Song
 
winner
The Gambler

Don Schlitz, songwriter (Kenny Rogers)

Best Gospel Performance, Contemporary Or Inspirational
 
winner
What A Friend
Best Gospel Performance, Traditional
 
Best Soul Gospel Performance, Contemporary
 
winner
Live In London

Andrae Crouch & The Disciples

Best Soul Gospel Performance, Traditional
 
Best Inspirational Performance
 
Best Ethnic Or Traditional Recording
 
Best Latin Recording
 
winner
Homenaje a Beny More
Best Recording For Children
 
winner
The Muppet Show

(The Muppets)

Best Comedy Recording
 
winner
Steve Martin
A Wild And Crazy Guy
Best Spoken Word Recording
 
winner
Citizen Kane
Best Instrumental Composition
 
winner
John Williams
Theme From Close Encounters Of The Third Kind

John Williams, composer (John Williams)

Best Album Of Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or A Television Special
 
winner
John Williams
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind

John Williams, composer (John Williams)

Best Cast Show Album
 
winner
Ain't Misbehavin'

Thomas Z. Shepard, producer (Various Artists)

Best Jazz Vocal Performance
 
winner
All Fly Home
Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist
 
winner
Montreaux '77 - Oscar Peterson Jam

Oscar Peterson, soloist

Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Group
 
Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Big Band
 
winner
Live In Munich
Best Instrumental Arrangement
 
winner
Quincy Jones
The Wiz Main Title - Overture Part One

Robert (Bob) Freedman & Quincy Jones, arrangers (Various Artists)

Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s)
 
winner
Got To Get You Into My Life

Maurice White, arranger (Earth, Wind & Fire)

Best Arrangement For Voices
 
winner
Stayin' Alive

(Bee Gees)

Best Album Package
 
winner
Boys In The Trees

Tony Lane & Johnny B. Lee, art directors (Carly Simon)

Best Album Notes
 
winner
A Bing Crosby Collection, Vols. I & II

Michael Brooks, album notes writer (Bing Crosby)

Best Historical Repackage Album
 
winner
The Lester Young Story, Vol. 3

(Lester Young)

Best Engineered Recording - Non-Classical
 
winner
Al Schmitt
FM (No Static At All)

Roger Nichols & Al Schmitt, engineers (Steely Dan)

Producer Of The Year
 
winner
Bee Gees, Albhy Galuten & Karl Richardson
Best Classical Album
 
winner
Brahms: Concerto For Violin In D
Best Classical Orchestral Performance
 
winner
Beethoven: Symphonies (9) (Complete)

Herbert von Karajan, conductor (Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra)

Best Opera Recording
 
winner
Lehar: The Merry Widow

Julius Rudel, conductor; John Coveney & George Sponhaltz, producers (New York City Opera Orchestra)

Best Choral Performance, Classical (Other Than Opera)
 
winner
Georg Solti
Beethoven: Missa Solemnis

Georg Solti, conductor (Chicago Symphony Chorus; Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

Best Chamber Music Performance
 
winner
Beethoven: Sonatas For Violin And Piano
Best Classical Performance, Instrumental Soloist(s) (With Orchestra)
 
winner
Vladimir Horowitz
Rachmaninoff: Con. No. 3 In D Minor For Piano (Horowitz Golden Jubilee)

Vladimir Horowitz, artist (New York Philharmonic)

Best Classical Performance, Instrumental Soloist(s) (Without Orchestra)
 
winner
Vladimir Horowitz
The Horowitz Concerts 1977/78
Best Classical Vocal Soloist Performance
 
winner
Luciano Pavarotti - Hits From Lincoln Center
Best Engineered Recording, Classical
 
winner
Varese: Ameriques/Arcana/Ionisation (Boulez Conducts Varese)

Edward (Bud) T. Graham, Arthur Kendy & Ray Moore, engineers (Pierre Boulez, conductor)