Grammy Awards and the Led Zeppelin Nomination Controversy

Led Zeppelin Grammy Awards

As with most award shows, the Grammy Awards have had a long history of debatable selections when it comes to their nominations of the best the year has to offer. This year appears to be no different as the Grammy Awards have controversially nominated Led Zeppelin’s “Celebration Day” as one of the five best rock albums of the year.  The major reason why this particular nomination is ruffling the feathers of music lovers everywhere is because “Celebration Day” is a live album. The album was recorded back in 2007 at the rock band’s one-off reunion concert at the O2 arena in London. The album features performances from the rock band’s heyday throughout the 70s without a single new or previously unreleased song. Music critics everywhere are outraged that “Celebration Day” is being given prominence over rock albums featuring new and original material.

Unlike the Academy Awards where studios will send out copies of their films for voting members to raise its awareness, there is no such practise in place for the Grammy Awards. The National Recording Arts and Sciences, which created and presents the Grammy Awards, leaves the voters to their own devices when it comes to the listenings of albums. Therefore, many wonder whether the nominations were simply given by name recognition and nothing else. Along with Led Zeppelin; David Bowie, Black Sabbath, Queens Of The Stone Age and Kings Of Leon are also nominated for the prize of best rock album of the year. Out of the five nominees, only David Bowie and Black Sabbath have won previously, each on a single occasion. The five nominees are all well established acts so this criticism may have some credence after all.

Some argue this nomination controversy would not seem as egregious if this was not the first Led Zeppelin album ever to be selected by the Grammy Awards as one of the best of the year. The band has received some recognition from the Grammys since disbanding over the death of their drummer, Jon Bonham. In 1999, the band finally got what many considered far too long overdue when Led Zeppelin’s self-titled forth album was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame. Thereafter in 2004, the band themselves were induced into the Grammy Hall Of Fame and have two songs included as well, “Stairway to Heaven” and “Kashmir”. Led Zeppelin were finally given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Grammys back in 2005 . The widely influential hard rock band has released nine successful studios albums between 1969 and 1982.

The Grammy Awards have also nominated Zeppelin’s performance of “Kashmir” off of “Celebration Day” as one of the best rock performances of the year. Very few have questioned this selection though. Led Zeppelin were nominated for Best New Artist for their self-titled debut album back in 1969 and prior to this year’s pair of nods, it was the only nomination of the band’s career. The Grammy Award nomination controversy over Led Zeppelin’s live album will come to a conclusion this Sunday, January 26th when L.L Cool J hosts  56th annual award show on CBS at 8pm ET/P.

By: Benjamin Murray


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