Who Has Been Nominated for the Most Grammy Awards?

There are a few high-profile awards shows that are broadcast every year that inevitably draw thousands of viewers. In spite of the popularity of streaming services, there is something about a star-studded awards show that brings out the fan in everyone.

One of the biggest and most popular awards shows is the Grammy Awards ceremony, which focuses on excellence in the music industry. While there are a few major music awards given every year, the Grammys consistently draw interest and keep people watching, year after year.

And, for an artist, winning a Grammy is often considered to be the highlight of their career.

How long have the Grammys been around?

Photo of Grammy award statues
GRAMMY STATUE | Kurt Krieger/Corbis via Getty Images

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The Grammys originated in the 1950s when industry leaders decided that the music business deserved its own awards ceremony that was separate from the Academy Awards.

The name “Grammy” originated from the gramophone, a vintage device that was used for the recording and distribution of soundwaves. The original choice for the name of the ceremony and award was the “Eddie” after the invention popularized by Thomas Edison.

Once the name and purpose were finalized, the very first Grammy Awards ceremony was held in 1959 – in two locations simultaneously. The number of categories and awards have fluctuated over the years, with a major restructuring of the categories done in 2012.

Currently, there are over 80 categories. Obviously, not all of the artists and musicians who win an award in each of the 80-plus categories have their acceptance televised on awards night.

The actual televised event includes only a handful of awards given out, usually the ones won by very popular pop, rock, and other contemporary artists, in order to draw higher viewership. Still, every year, the Grammy Awards ceremony broadcast is several hours long.

Who has been nominated for the most Grammy Awards?

It is a big deal to win a Grammy Award, and it is a nearly-equal honor to have been nominated for one of the prestigious trophies. There are thousands of artists who have been nominated over the years, but a few of them have received a record number of nominations.

The artist who has received the single most Grammy Award nominations is Quincy Jones, the producer, songwriter, and arranger. He tops the list with a staggering 80 Grammy nominations.

While Jones is perhaps best known for his collaborations with Michael Jackson in the ’80s, most notably for Jackson’s iconic “Thriller” album, Jones has worked extensively on motion picture soundtracks and on special projects with Frank Sinatra.

Jones is also a noted jazz composer and broke many barriers for African-American artists in the music business. He is also known as the father of actor Rashida Jones

Who has won the most Grammy Awards?

Although he has received the most Grammy Award nominations of any artist, surprisingly, Jones has not received the greatest number of awards. In fact, late conductor Georg Solti holds that record, with 31 Grammy Awards to his credit. Jones is a close second, with an incredible 28 Grammy Awards in his collection.

Jones is part of Grammys’ history for another important reason: He is one of only 15 people to have received the Grammy Legend Award. 

Rounding out the top five winningest artists in Grammy history include singer-songwriter Alison Kraus, who has 27 Grammy Awards, conductor Pierre Boulez with 26 Grammys, and Vladimir Horowitz, a late pianist/composer who earned 25 Grammys throughout the course of his long career.

While many pop music aficionados might not have heard of some of these artists, they are an important part of music history and had a hand in shaping the way that the Grammy Awards are operated today.