Home » 65 Years Ago, Frank Sinatra Came Up Short at the First Grammys

65 Years Ago, Frank Sinatra Came Up Short at the First Grammys

by UNN Feed

Controversy over winners and losers has been part of the Grammy experience since the very first presentations, which took place on May 4, 1959 — 65 years ago today. The biggest controversy that year had to do with a disappointing showing by Frank Sinatra, who was coming off one of the biggest years of his long career. He had two No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 in 1958 — Come Fly with Me and Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely.



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Sinatra was the year’s top Grammy nominee, with six nods, including two for album of the year (the aforementioned albums) and two for best vocal performance, male (Come Fly with Me and “Witchcraft”). The star wound up winning just one award — and it wasn’t even for his singing. He took best album cover for his art direction of Only the Lonely.

Sinatra attended the event, which was held in the Grand Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. — now best known for hosting the Golden Globes every year. (There was a simultaneous event in New York City for East Coast denizens.) Other attendees at the Beverly Hilton included Sinatra’s fellow Rat Pack members Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin, as well as fellow nominees Henry Mancini and Peggy Lee. Comedian Mort Sahl served as MC.

Sinatra’s two nods for album of the year no doubt worked against him in that category. (The rules have since been changed so an artist can only have one nomination as a lead artist in most categories.) The award went to Mancini for The Music from Peter Gunn.  The album featured music from a weekly TV detective series that debuted in September 1958 and ran for three seasons. (Mancini’s album was released after the Dec. 31, 1958 eligibility cut-off for the 1958 awards….

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