1983 Grammy Winners

26th Annual GRAMMY Awards (1983)

As visionary as he may have been, George Orwell strangely did not write at all about the 26th Annual GRAMMY Awards in his classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. For better or worse, this GRAMMY show occurred not during utter domination by a totalitarian state, but rather during a year significantly dominated by the continuing rise of MTV and the record-breaking commercial impact of Michael Jackson.

John Denver — hosting his fifth show — wasted no time on a monologue, promising “a show so hot it’s going to pop if we don’t get right into it.” Stressing that it had been an amazing year for women in music, he got right to the first performance of the night — Donna Summer singing “She Works Hard For The Money.” Like so much of the rest of the telecast, Summer’s opening performance — presented as a video-like production number — reflected the look and feel of music’s new video age. In fact, throughout the evening nominees were announced with the help of extended video clips, as if audiences couldn’t get enough of the videos that were now beginning to drive so much of the music business, commercially and artistically.

Denver then took the stage to explain that the big words of the past year had been “videos, Boy George and Michael…” leaving the audience to loudly scream out “Jackson” with Jackson himself seated in the front row where he would spend the night between his date Brooke Shields and diminutive “Webster” star Emmanuel Lewis, with producer Quincy Jones sitting nearby. This proved convenient, since Jackson and Jones would end up taking quite a few trips to the stage to accept GRAMMYs during the next few hours.

The first award of the evening — Song Of The Year, presented by esteemed authorities Stevie Wonder and Bob Dylan — did not go to Jackson for “Billy Jean” or “Beat It,” but rather to Police chief Sting for “Every Breath You Take.” The Police were on tour, but in their absence, Dylan announced, “We’ll take it.” The song would also win the Police a GRAMMY this night for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal, and “Synchronicity” would win Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal — leaving co-presenters Alice Cooper and Grace Jones to accept for them.

Joan Rivers and Culture Club were also not in the house, but appeared live from London via satellite along with a Margaret Thatcher impersonator to read the GRAMMY rules. Rivers wryly explained the reason for reviewing the rules: “Every one of the nominees out there should know why they lost out to Michael Jackson.” Rivers also informed Culture Club’s gender-bending frontman Boy George that he looked like “Brooke Shields on steroids.” For his part, Boy George came off as a perfect, cross-dressing gentleman.

Explicitly paying tribute to music’s new video age, John Denver noted that while music videos were non-existent just a couple of years ago, it had “forged ahead to revitalize and totally reawaken the music industry.” That said, an absent Duran Duran were awarded the first-ever GRAMMY for Best Video Album (Duran Duran), having already won the Best Video, Short Form, for “Girls On Film/Hungry Like A Wolf” earlier in the evening.

One outstanding performance put the spotlight on a founding rock father from well before the birth of video — Chuck Berry, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award, along with the late Arturo Toscanini and the late Charlie Parker. Since Berry was not late, but rather very much alive, he not only accepted the award, but also rocked the house with some of his past classics aided by guitar slinging help from Stevie Ray Vaughan and George Thorogood.

Other notable performances, however, reflected the videogenic nature of ’80s music, including Irene Cara’s “Flashdance — What A Feeling,” which took home the GRAMMY for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, as the title song from the smash film that itself demonstrated Hollywood’s reaction to MTV-like editing. Best New Artist nominees Eurythmics also made a vivid impression by performing “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” with Annie Lennox dressed as Elvis Presley, yet another moment in a night of exceptional cross-dressing. As Boy George memorably noted in his acceptance speech when Culture Club were named Best New Artist, “Thank you America, you’ve got taste, style and you know a good drag queen when you see one.”

Another notable piece of history was acknowledged by then Academy President Michael Melvoin who, after holding up a vinyl record, produced a smaller, shinier object and announced excitedly to the world, “This is the new compact disc.” The soon-to-be widespread CD had been introduced to consumers in the early ’80s and was still dwarfed in sales by LPs and cassettes.

Ultimately, though, this night proved the beginning of the King of Pop’s reign, so much so that Michael Jackson began inviting other people up from the audience to share the GRAMMY stage with him as he accepted awards — first his label boss Walter Yetnikoff, and later his three sisters Rebbie, La Toya and future GRAMMY winner Janet. “When something like this happens, you want those who are very dear to you up here with you,” Jackson said. He also explained, having won his seventh award of the night — which he noted was a new record — he would now actually take his glasses off at the personal request of his friend Katharine Hepburn.

Appropriately, the night ended with Jackson winning his eighth and final GRAMMY of the night when “Beat It” was named Record Of The Year. “I love all the girls in the balcony,” Jackson declared to all the cheers from on high. 

Record Of The Year
 
winner
Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones
Beat It

Michael Jackson & Quincy Jones, producers

Album Of The Year
 
winner
Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones
Thriller

Michael Jackson & Quincy Jones, producers

Song Of The Year
 
winner
Sting
Every Breath You Take

Sting, songwriter (The Police)

Best New Artist
 
winner
Culture Club
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female
 
winner
Flashdance - What A Feeling
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male
 
Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal
 
winner
Every Breath You Take

The Police

Best Pop Instrumental Performance
 
winner
George Benson
Being With You
Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female
 
winner
Love Is A Battlefield
Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male
 
Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal
 
winner
Synchronicity

The Police

Best Rock Instrumental Performance
 
winner
Sting
Brimstone And Treacle
Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female
 
winner
Chaka Khan
Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male
 
Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal
 
winner
Ain't Nobody
Best R&B Instrumental Performance
 
Best Rhythm & Blues Song
 
winner
Michael Jackson
Billie Jean

Michael Jackson, songwriter (Michael Jackson)

Best Jazz Fusion Performance, Vocal Or Instrumental
 
Best Country Vocal Performance, Female
 
winner
A Little Good News
Best Country Vocal Performance, Male
 
Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal
 
winner
The Closer You Get...
Best Country Instrumental Performance
 
winner
Fireball
Best New Country Song
 
winner
Stranger In My House

Mike Reid, songwriter (Ronnie Milsap)

Best Gospel Performance, Female
 
winner
Ageless Medley
Best Gospel Performance, Male
 
winner
Walls Of Glass
Best Gospel Performance By A Duo Or Group
 
winner
More Than Wonderful
Best Soul Gospel Performance, Female
 
winner
We Sing Praises
Best Soul Gospel Performance, Male
 
winner
I'll Rise Again
Best Soul Gospel Performance By A Duo Or Group
 
winner
I'm So Glad I'm Standing Here Today
Best Inspirational Performance
 
winner
He's A Rebel
Best Latin Pop Performance
 
Best Tropical Latin Performance
 
winner
On Broadway

Tito Puente & His Latin Ensemble

Best Mexican-American Performance
 
Best Traditional Blues Recording
 
winner
B.B. King
Blues 'N' Jazz
Best Ethnic Or Traditional Folk Recording
 
winner
I'm Here

Clifton Chenier & His Red Hot Louisiana Band

Best Recording For Children
 
winner
Michael Jackson
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Best Comedy Recording
 
winner
Eddie Murphy: Comedian
Best Spoken Word Or Non-Musical Recording
 
winner
Copland: A Lincoln Portrait
Best Instrumental Composition
 
winner
Love Theme From Flashdance

Giorgio Moroder, composer (Various Artists (Helen St. John))

Best Cast Show Album
 
winner
Cats (Complete Original Broadway Cast Recording)

Andrew Lloyd Webber, producer (Original Broadway Cast)

Best Video, Short Form
 
winner
Girls On Film/Hungry Like The Wolf
Best Video Album
 
winner
Duran Duran
Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Female
 
winner
Ella Fitzgerald
The Best Is Yet To Come
Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Male
 
winner
Top Drawer
Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo Or Group
 
Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist
 
winner
Think Of One

Wynton Marsalis, soloist

Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Group
 
winner
At The Vanguard

The Phil Woods Quartet

Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Big Band
 
winner
All In Good Time

Rob McConnell & The Boss Brass

Best Arrangement On An Instrumental
 
winner
Summer Sketches '82

Dave Grusin, arranger (Dave Grusin)

Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s)
 
winner
What's New

Nelson Riddle, arranger (Linda Ronstadt)

Best Vocal Arrangement For Two Or More Voices
 
winner
Be Bop Medley

Chaka Khan & Arif Mardin, arrangers (Chaka Khan)

Best Album Package
 
winner
Speaking In Tongues

Robert Rauschenberg, art director (Talking Heads)

Best Album Notes
 
winner
The Interplay Sessions

Orrin Keepnews, album notes writer (Bill Evans)

Best Historical Album
 
winner
The Greatest Recordings Of Arturo Toscanini - Symphonies, Vol. I

(Arturo Toscanini)

Best Engineered Recording - Non-Classical
 
winner
Thriller

Bruce Swedien, engineer (Michael Jackson)

Producer Of The Year (Non-Classical)
 
winner
Michael Jackson & Quincy Jones
Best Classical Album
 
winner
Georg Solti
Mahler: Symphony No. 9 In D

Georg Solti, artist; James Mallinson, producer

Best Orchestral Recording
 
winner
Georg Solti
Mahler: Symphony No. 9 In D

Georg Solti, conductor (Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

Best Opera Recording
 
winner
Georg Solti
Mozart: Le Nozze Di Figaro
winner
Verdi: La Traviata

Placido Domingo, Cornell MacNeil & Teresa Stratas; James Levine, conductor; Jay David Saks & Max Wilcox, producers (Metropolitan Opera Orchestra)

Best Choral Performance (Other Than Opera)
 
winner
Georg Solti
Haydn: The Creation

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

Best Chamber Music Performance
 
winner
Brahms: Sonata For Cello And Piano In E Minor, Op. 38 And Sonata In F, Op. 99
Best Classical Performance - Instrumental Soloist Or Soloists (With Orchestra)
 
winner
Haydn: Trumpet Concerto In E Flat/L. Mozart: Trumpet Concerto In D/Hummel: Trumpet Concerto In E Flat

Wynton Marsalis, artist (National Philharmonic Orchestra)

Best Classical Performance - Instrumental Soloist Or Soloists (Without Orchestra)
 
winner
Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Nos. 12 & 13

Glenn Gould, artist

Best Classical Vocal Soloist Performance
 
winner
Leontyne Price & Marilyn Horne In Concert At The Met

(James Levine; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra)

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

James Lock, engineer (Georg Solti, conductor)

Classical Producer Of The Year
 
winner
Marc Aubort & Joanna Nickrenz