Photo by Getty Images
When the annual Grammy Award Ceremony began in 1959, it took a while for rock ‘n’ roll to be recognized. The genre was in its developing phase and the public had yet to realize the impact rock music would have on the world.
For the first years of the Grammys, Frank Sinatra, Bob Newhart, Judy Garland, Vaughn Meader, Barbra Streisand, and Stan Getz & João Gilberto took home the award for “Album of the Year.” The music world then took a change in direction when The Beatles won “Album of the Year” for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on February 29th, 1968. This marked the first rock album to win the prestigious award.
Prior to The Beatles’ honor, most of the Grammy winners created polished and sophisticated music. Sgt. Pepper’s was wild in comparison with its psychedelic elements, experimentation, and many drug-related references. The Beatles’ Grammy win proved that music tastes were evolving, and rock ‘n’ roll wasn’t going anywhere. The next few decades would see many more rock artists achieve “Album of the Year,” including Simon & Garfunkel, Fleetwood Mac, and Blood, Sweat & Tears.