The Grammys 2021 are here and it while we can’t really say who will take in the honours this year, here is a breif account of when it all started and how we got where we are.

Grammy Awards are presented annually in the United States by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS; commonly called the Recording Academy), selecting winners from more than 25 fields, which cover such genres as pop, rock, rap, R&B, country, reggae, classical, gospel, and jazz, as well as production and postproduction work, including packaging and album notes.

The Grammy Awards were first given by the NARAS in 1959. Winners at that time included Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and the Kingston Trio. The number of awards has increased from the initial 28, as various new musical genres have emerged and recognised by NARAS. Rock was first recognised as a genre by the academy at the 1980 ceremony and rap at the 1989 presentation.

In 2011 NARAS came out with a radical restructuring of the Grammy and reduced the total number of awards from 109 to 78.

Gender-based categories were eliminated, as were those that distinguished between solo and group efforts. Awards for the likes of Hawaiian music, Native American music, and zydeco were clubbed into a single category, the “regional roots music,” and instrumental categories were drastically scaled back. 

With a few more adjustments, made in subsequent years, the number of awards stabilized at 84 by 2017.

Receipt of a Grammy usually amounts to bigger album sales and gives increased recognition to the artists. 

Among those who have received the most Grammys are Sir Georg Solti (32 awards), Quincy Jones, Alison Krauss, Stevie Wonder, and Chet Atkins.