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Teenage Kicks®

Grammy Awards of the Teenage Kicks era

British singer Sting and his wife Trudie Styler arrive at Radio City Music Hall for the 33rd Annual Grammy Awards on February 20, 1991 in New York.
British singer Sting and his wife Trudie Styler arrive at Radio City Music Hall for the 33rd Annual Grammy Awards on February 20, 1991 in New York.DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images
  Play Now [2:00:56]

by Jessica Paxton

February 04, 2023

I'm kicking off the show this week with something from The Cramps and Television, paying homage to Cramps lead singer Lux Interior (who passed away on Feb. 4, 2009) and Tom Verlaine, the Television founding member, singer-songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire who passed away at the age of 73 on January 28, 2023. Television released their iconic debut album Marquee Moon on Feb. 8, 1977.

American rock band Television in a 1977 publicity photo promoting their debut album 'Marquee Moon' on Elektra Records. Left to right: Billy Ficca, Richard Lloyd, Tom Verlaine, and Fred Smith.
Roberta Bayley for Elektra Records

Other dates noted this week include:

  • Feb. 1: Rick James, aka James Ambrose Johnson Jr., born in Buffalo, N.Y. in 1948, and nominated for Best Rock Vocal Performance-Male at the 24th Annual Grammy Awards; and Exene of the band X, aka Christine Cervenka, who was born in Chicago on 1956

  • Feb. 3: Arthur Kane, bassist for New York Dolls, born in the Bronx, N.Y., in 1949; and Dave Davies of The Kinks born in London in 1947

  • Feb. 6: Rick Astley, born in London in 1966; and Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip, born in 1964 in Amherstview, Ontario

  • Feb. 7: Steve Bronski of Bronski Beat, born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1960

  • Feb. 8: David Bowie received The Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards in 2006

Four men standing in a riparian formation looking at a frozen waterfall
'Porcupine' is the third studio album by the English post-punk band Echo & the Bunnymen. It was first released on February 4, 1983.
Sire Records

Today I am also celebrating the 40th anniversary of Porcupine, the third album from Liverpool band Echo & The Bunnymen, released on Feb. 4, 1983. And, with the 65th Grammy Awards coming up tomorrow night in Los Angeles, I'm looking back at some past Grammy winners from the Teenage Kicks era, specifically from 1977 to 1989.

It should be noted that "alternative music" wasn't even acknowledged by The Recording Academy until 1991, when they officially added a Grammy Award category for Best Alternative Music Album. (In 1991 and again from 1994 to 1999, that category was also known as Best Alternative Music Performance). In 2023, the Grammys will for the first time ever give out two separate awards — both Best Alternative Music Album and Best Alternative Music Performance.

Listeners will notice quite a shift in music industry honors over the years, with this week's Teenage Kicks era Grammy winners including an eclectic mix of music and artists not often featured on this show.

At the 20th Grammy Awards, which took place on Feb. 28, 1978, Fleetwood Mac won Album of the Year for Rumours (released Feb. 4, 1977). Other nominees that year included The Eagles, Hotel California; James Taylor, JT; Steely Dan, Aja; and Star Wars — yes, for the work of composer John Williams.

The following year, the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever (released Nov. 15, 1977), was awarded Album of the Year, featuring artists like the Bee Gees, Yvonne Elliman, KC & the Sunshine Band, The Trammps, MFSB, Kool & the Gang, and others. One of the best-selling albums of all time, it was an international sensation, epitomizing the disco craze sweeping both sides of the Atlantic at the time.

At the 22nd Grammy Awards in 1980, honoring releases in 1979, Rickie Lee Jones was named Best New Artist. Her big hit, "Chuck E's in Love," was also nominated for Best Pop Vocal Performance-Female and Song of the Year. Other new artist nominees included The Knack and Dire Straits.

In 1981, Pat Benatar won Best Rock Performance-Female at the 23rd Grammy Awards for "Crimes of Passion" (Grace Slick and Marianne Faithful were fellow nominees). Pat Benatar won the same category again at the 24th, 25th and 26th Annual Grammy Awards.

In 1982, The Police — who, the year prior, had won Best Rock Instrumental for "Reggatta de Blanc" — won Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group for "Don't Stand So Close To Me” and Best Rock Instrumental Performance for "Behind My Camel." They also won Song of the Year and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group in 1983 for "Every Breath You Take."

In 1983 at the 25th Annual Grammy Awards, Men at Work won Best New Artist; fellow nominees included The Human League, Asia, Stray Cats and Jennifer Holliday.

The following year, Culture Club took Best New Artist honors; other nominees were Big Country, Men Without Hats, Eurythmics and Musical Youth. This same year, Prince had his first Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance-Male for "1999".

In 1985 at the 27th Annual Grammy Awards, Prince & The Revolution were honored with Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group for "Purple Rain - Music from the Motion Picture," which was also nominated for Album of the Year.

At the 28th annual ceremony in 1986, Sade was named Best New Artist; her fellow nominees included Katrina & The Waves, Freddie Jackson, a-ha, and Julian Lennon.

In 1987, Steve Winwood won Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance-Male for "Higher Love." The same year, Eurythmics won Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group for "Missionary Man."

Run-DMC at the Grammys in 1987.
Run-DMC backstage at the Grammys in 1987. l-r: Joe Simmons (Run), Jason Mizell (Jam Master Jay), and Darryl McDaniels (DMC).
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

1988 marked the 30th Annual Grammy Awards, and it saw U2 win Album of the Year for The Joshua Tree; U2 also received nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year for "I Still Haven't Found (What I'm Looking For)." Prince’s Sign 'O' The Times was also a contender for Album of the Year.

In 1989, U2 were back to win Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group for "Desire" (from Rattle & Hum).

In 1990, at the 32nd Annual Grammy Awards, the Grammy Award for Best New Artist was originally awarded to Milli Vanilli. However, the award was revoked after producer Frank Farian admitted the duo did not sing at all on their album, Girl You Know It's True. This is the only time a Grammy has been revoked.

Lou Reed At The Grammy Awards
Headshot of American rock and roll musician Lou Reed at the Grammy Awards, Los Angeles, California, February 21, 1990.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In 1991 at the 33rd annual ceremony, Sinéad O'Connor became the first recipient of the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Performance for “I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got"; other nominees were The Replacements, Kate Bush, Laurie Anderson and World Party. That same year, O'Connor was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Performance-Female; she lost to Mariah Carey. "Nothing Compares 2 U" was also nominated for Record of the Year and, as the writer of the song, Prince received a nomination for the same song for Song of the Year.

Although O’Connor was scheduled to perform at the Grammys, she boycotted the ceremony, and by doing so, also became the first artist — and only, to date — to refuse a Grammy Award.

Program playlist, hour 1

Program playlist, hour 2