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Grammy Awards: Stars We’ve Lost

by Legacy Staff

Since the first Grammy Awards in 1958, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has doled out thousands of little gold-plated gramophone statues. Join us as we look back on some of the legendary Grammy winners who have left us… their recordings live on and will continue to inspire future generations of listeners.

NANCY WILSON (1937–2018) 

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In a career that spanned more than half a century, singer and consummate entertainer NANCY WILSON (1937–2018) won three Grammys, for her albums “How Glad I Am” (1965), “R.S.V.P. (Rare Songs, Very Personal)” (2005), and “Turned to Blue” (2007).

View Nancy Wilson’s obituary


ROY HARGROVE (1969–2018) 

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A two-time Grammy winner, ROY HARGROVE (1969–2018) is considered to be one of the premiere jazz trumpeters of his generation.

View Roy Hargrove’s obituary

ARETHA FRANKLIN (1942–2018) 

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During her long and illustrious career, ARETHA FRANKLIN (1942–2018) won 18 Grammy Awards, including the first eight awards given for best female R&B vocal performance (1968–1975). “Being a singer is a natural gift,” the Queen of Soul once said, “It means I’m using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use. I’m happy with that.”

View Aretha Franklin’s obituary


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CLARENCE FOUNTAIN (1929–2018) was a founding member of the Grammy-winning gospel group the Blind Boys of Alabama. The group won four Grammys and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and were members of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

View Clarence Fountain’s obituary



With Grupo Mazz, frontman and founder JIMMY GONZALEZ earned six Latin Grammy awards for best Tejano album, most recently in 2014 for “Forever Mazz.”

View Jimmy Gonzalez’ obituary

RANDY SCRUGGS (1953–2018)

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A talented guitarist, songwriter, and producer RANDY SCRUGGS (1953–2018) won four Grammy Awards for his instrumental work. The son of bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs, he also produced and played guitar on the Nitty Gritty Dirt band’s critically-acclaimed Grammy-winning 1989 album “Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume Two.”

View Randy Scruggs’ obituary

DENNIS EDWARDS (1943–2018)

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DENNIS EDWARDS (1943–2018) replaced David Ruffin as lead vocalist of The Temptations in 1968, bringing soulful lead vocals to the band’s psychedelic, funk, and disco era of the late 1960s and ’70s. During his tenure the group won Grammys for “Cloud Nine” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.”

View Dennis Edwards’ obituary

EDWIN HAWKINS (1943–2018)

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Gospel singer and composer EDWIN HAWKINS (1943–2018) won four Grammys during his career, including for the songs “Every Man Wants to Be Free” and “Wonderful!” But he was best known for the Grammy-winning crossover hit “Oh Happy Day!”

View Edwin Hawkins’ obituary

GEORGE MICHAEL (1963–2017)

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GEORGE MICHAEL’s (1963–2017) album “Faith” was a smash hit that sold over 25 million records. The LP included the hit songs “Faith,” “Father Figure” and “I Want Your Sex.” “Faith” won the 1989 Grammy Award for best album.

View George Michael’s obituary

MALCOLM YOUNG (1953–2017)

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MALCOLM YOUNG (1953–2017) was the rhythm guitarist and guiding force behind bawdy hard rock band AC/DC. In 2009, the band won its one and only Grammy Award, for best hard rock performance for “War Machine.”

View Malcolm Young’s obituary

FATS DOMINO (1928–2017)

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FATS DOMINO (1928–2017) was one of the early superstars of rock ‘n’ roll. In 1987 he received a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

View Fats Domino’s obituary

TOM PETTY (1950–2017)

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Frequently nominated for Grammy Awards, TOM PETTY (1950–2017) first won with the Traveling Wilburys in 1990 for best rock vocal performance by a duo or group. He would win two more Grammys in 1996 and 2009

View Tom Petty’s obituary

GLEN CAMPBELL (1936–2017)

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Country singer-songwriter GLEN CAMPBELL (1936–2017) released “Gentle on My Mind” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” in 1967. Both songs charted well, and each won Campbell two Grammy awards, making him one of the stars of that year’s awards ceremony.

View Glen Campbell’s obituary

GREGG ALLMAN (1947–2017)

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With the Allman Brothers Band, GREGG ALLMAN (1947–2017) created some of rock’s most enduring classics. The Southern rock superstars received a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2012.

View Gregg Allman’s obituary

CHRIS CORNELL (1964–2017)

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CHRIS CORNELL (1964–2017) and Soundgarden had their biggest success in 1994 with “Superunknown.” The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart and featured the Grammy Award-winning singles “Black Hole Sun” and “Spoonman.”

View Chris Cornell’s obituary

AL JARREAU (1940–2017)

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Legendary jazz singer AL JARREAU (1940–2017) won seven Grammy awards during a career that smoothly bridged jazz, pop, and R&B.

View All Jarreau’s obituary

PRINCE (1958–2016) 

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Superstar PRINCE (1958–2016) won two Grammy Awards for his monster 1984 album “Purple Rain.” The album was the soundtrack for Prince’s movie of the same name. Prince won a total of seven Grammy Awards including one for the song “I Feel for You,” as a songwriter. Chaka Khan’s version of the song was a big hit that reached number 3 on the charts after it was released in 1984.

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MAURICE WHITE (1941–2016)

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MAURICE WHITE (1941–2016) was the leader of the funk/soul band Earth, Wind, & Fire that filled the dance floors of the 1970s and ’80s with classic songs such as “Boogie Wonderland.” Earth, Wind, & Fire has won seven Grammy Awards and received a lifetime achievement award in 2016.

View Maurice White’s obituary

GLENN FREY (1948–2016) 

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THE EAGLES and GLENN FREY (1948–2016) won the Grammy for Best Record for their classic “Hotel California” in 1978. At the Grammy Awards in 2016, the Eagles and friend Jackson Browne performed a tribute to Frey.

View Glenn Frey’s obituary

NATALIE COLE (1950–2015)

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NATALIE COLE (1950–2015) swept the Grammy Awards in 1992 for her song “Unforgettable” which won for Best record, album and song. The song was a virtual duet with her father Nat King Cole, who recorded a hit version of the song in 1951. Cole’s version was remixed with the original vocals of her father to create the duet.

View Natalie Cole’s obituary


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The pre-eminent pop diva of the 1980s and ’90s, WHITNEY HOUSTON (1963–2012) racked up six Grammys during her lifetime, starting with best female pop vocal performance in 1986 for “Saving All My Love for You.” In 1994, “I Will Always Love You” and the soundtrack to “The Bodyguard” earned her three more.

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MARVIN HAMLISCH (1944–2012) 

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One of only a handful of artists to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony—aka EGOT—and one of only two to win a Pulitzer Prize as well, composer MARVIN HAMLISCH (1944–2012) won best new artist in 1975. Among his long list of credits are the score and title song to the film “The Way We Were” and the Broadway musical “A Chorus Line.”

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AMY WINEHOUSE (1983–2011)

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AMY WINEHOUSE (1983–2011) won five of the six awards for which she was nominated in 2008, including best new artist, record of the year and song of the year, for “Rehab.” Unfortunately, her issues with substance abuse would lead to her early death at age 27.

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In 1984, MICHAEL JACKSON (1958–2009) was the undisputed King of Pop. He won eight of his 13 career Grammys including album of the year for his masterpiece, “Thriller,” which featured record of the year “Beat It.” He’s photographed here with co-producer Quincy Jones and his record-setting haul, complete with sequined white glove and uniform.

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In 1991 singer-songwriter LUTHER VANDROSS (1951–2005) won his first Grammy for his hit “Here and Now.” In 2004 he would be honored with four Grammys for his touching ballad “Dance With My Father,” including song of the year with co-writer Richard Marx.

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RAY CHARLES (1930–2004)

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The Grammys loved RAY CHARLES (1930–2004), seen here in 2004 receiving the Grammy President’s Merit Award from NARAS president Neil Portnow, left, and producer Quincy Jones, right. Charles’ final album, “Genius Loves Company,” released two months after his death, won eight Grammys, including album of the year in 2005.

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In 1971 the Bangladesh Liberation War caused a humanitarian crisis as tens of millions of refugees fled their war-torn home. GEORGE HARRISON (1943–2001), a longtime fan of Indian music, organized a first-of-its-kind, all-star fundraising concert in New York City. The ensuing triple album, “The Concert for Bangladesh,” won the Grammy for album of the year in 1973.

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FRANK SINATRA (1915–1998)

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The Grammys weren’t around for much of FRANK SINATRA’s (1915–1998) career—otherwise Ol’ Blue Eyes’ would’ve won more—but from 1959 to 1996 he collected 13 of them. Album of the year winners included his classics “Come Dance With Me,” “September of My Years,” and “A Man and His Music.” In 1967 he captured record of the year with “Strangers in the Night.”

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HENRY MANCINI (1924–1994)

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Legendary film and television composer HENRY MANCINI (1924–1994) won 20 of the record 72 Grammys for which he was nominated, including the very first album of the year award in 1959 for “The Music of Peter Gunn.” In 1962, “Moon River” won both record and song of the year. “Days of Wine and Roses” repeated the feat in 1964.

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KAREN CARPENTER (1950–1983) 

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Brother-sister duo RICHARD and KAREN CARPENTER (1950–1983) won three Grammys including best new artist as the Carpenters in 1971, beating out fellow nominees like Elton John. Her beautiful, wistful vocals powered their Grammy-nominated songs “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “Superstar” and the Grammy-winning “(They Long to Be) Close to You.”

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JOHN LENNON (1940–1980)

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The murder of JOHN LENNON (1940–1980) in 1980 shocked the world and especially the music industry. In 1981 his final completed album, “Double Fantasy,” recorded with wife YOKO ONO, was awarded album of the year. It came after a self-imposed five-year hiatus and seemed to indicate the former Beatle was prepared to give the world much more music.

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ELVIS PRESLEY (1935–1977)

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ELVIS PRESLEY (1935–1977) was the “King of Rock and Roll,” however his two Grammy Award wins were for gospel songs. In 1971, Elvis was the sixth recipient of the Grammy lifetime achievement award.

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TAMMY WYNETTE (1942–1998)

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TAMMY WYNETTE (1942–1998) was known as the “First Lady of Country Music.” She wrote and sang many songs about her difficult life. Two of the most popular were “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” and the country anthem “Stand by Your Man.” She won Best Female Country Vocal Performance for “Stand by Your Man” at the 1970 Grammys.

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OTIS REDDING (1941–1967) 

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OTIS REDDING (1941–1967) had one of the great voices in music history. Redding co-wrote and recorded his iconic song “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” shortly before he died in a plane crash on his way to a tour stop in December 1967. The song became the first posthumous No. 1 record on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts. He received two Grammy Awards for the song after his death and also was posthumously given a Grammy lifetime achievement award.

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BOBBY DARIN (1936–1973)

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Singer BOBBY DARIN (1936–1973) won a Grammy Award for Best Record for his song “Mack the Knife” at the second Grammy awards ceremony held in 1959. Darin’s swinging jazzy version of the song was a No. 1 hit in 1959.

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