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Italy at the Grammys: a history of successes

Italy at the Grammys: a history of successes

The Grammy Awards are universally known as the Oscars of music: it is the most prestigious award for a musician. In this article we collect some piece of data concerning Italian artists who not only have won “the gilded gramophone”, that is the much sought-after award-statuette of the Grammy, but that somehow have marked its history.

The first Annual Grammy Awards is hold in 1959 and Italy was quite the protagonist: lyric singer Renata Tebaldi started with a bang, winning the award for the Best Classical Performance (vocal solist). But above all Domenico Modugno stood up: Nel blu dipinto di blu (In the blue that is painted blue) won as Record and Song of the Year. Two Grammys – the most important ones – in one shot.

Among the Italians who have not only won but really romped to victory, conductor Carlo Maria Giulini dominates with six Grammys. Luciano Pavarotti and Cecilia Bartoli follow a Grammy away. One of the five “gramophones” brought home by Pavarotti is the Grammy Legend Award (1998), a special award of merit that is not assigned every year and so far has been received only by fifteen artists worldwide. Two Grammys away is Giorgio Moroder, the pioneer of Italian-disco in the world.

In addition to leading orchestras, the aforementioned Giulini, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti and Ennio Morricone also… lead the charts of the multi-awarded artists: the first has won two Grammys, in 1997 and 2005; the second takes home two awards in a single year (2010); but the last mentioned deserves a separate discourse. Along with 2 Oscars, 4 Golden Globes, 6 BAFTAs, 10 David di Donatello, 11 Silver Ribbons, 2 European Film Awards, 1 Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement and 1 Polar Music Prize – Morricone won a GrammyAward in 1988, for the soundtrack of the movie The Untouchables (Brian De Palma, 1987). Which is almost a trifle, compared to the awards won later. To date, he is the only Italian artist to have entered the Grammy Hall of Fame: since 2009, thanks to the soundtrack of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), he is now one of the stars of the musical firmament. To this award followed the Grammy Trustees Award, assigned in 2014, for the fundamental contribution given during his life-long career to sound recording.

The other Italian artists awarded a Grammy were: Riz Ortolani and Nino Olivieri in 1964, Laura Pausini in 2006 and Giovanni Sollima in 2017. In short, the made in Italy, from the very first to the most recent editions of the Grammys, is not shy at all with awards.