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Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album

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The Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album is an award given to recording artists for quality albums in the alternative rock genre at the Grammy Awards. The Grammy Awards were established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards.[1] Honors in several categories are presented at the ceremony each year by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to "honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position".[2]

The definition of "alternative" has been debated.[3] The award was first presented in 1991 to recognize non-mainstream rock albums "heavily played on college radio stations".[4][5] According to the Academy, the award is presented to "vocal or instrumental alternative music albums containing at least 51% playing time of newly recorded music".[6] The Academy defines "alternative" as a "non-traditional" genre that exists "outside of the mainstream music consciousness".[6] In 1991, and from 1994 to 1999, the award was known as Best Alternative Music Performance.[3] Beginning in 2001, award recipients included the producers, engineers, and/or mixers associated with the nominated work in addition to the recording artists.[7]

As of 2011, Radiohead and The White Stripes share the record for the most wins in this category, having won three times each. Radiohead's lead singer, Thom Yorke, was also nominated for the 2007 award for his solo album. Beck and Coldplay have each received the award twice, the latter being the only group to win two years in a row. American artists have been presented with the award more than any other nationality, though it has been presented to musicians or groups from the United Kingdom five times, from Ireland twice, and from France once. Female musicians Tori Amos and Björk hold the record for the most nominations without a win, with five each.


Black and white image of a man wearing a white dress shirt, a dark vest and jeans holding a guitar and standing behind a microphone stand. His eyes are closed, and the background is completely black except for a single light that shines from behind.
Thom Yorke of the three-time award-winning band Radiohead
Black and white image of three men holding microphones on a stage. In the background is a drum set, several onlookers, and stage lights shining down from above.
1999 award winner, Beastie Boys
A man wearing a blue t-shirt and dark blue jacket holding a guitar and standing behind a microphone stand.
Chris Martin of the two-time award-winning band Coldplay
On the left, a man in red pants and a black t-shirt with black hair down to his chin holding a red guitar. On the right, a woman wearing a white shirt with black polka dots standing behind a red microphone stand.
Jack White and Meg White of the three-time award-winning band The White Stripes
In the forefront, a man wearing jeans and a jacket with a guitar strapped around him, holding onto a microphone on a stand. In the background, a man in a dress shirt holding a white guitar.
2005 award winner, Wilco
Year[I] Performing artist(s) Nationality Work Nominees Ref.
1991 O'Connor, SinéadSinéad O'Connor Ireland I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got [5]
1992 R.E.M. United States Out of Time [8]
1993 Waits, TomTom Waits United States Bone Machine [9]
1994 U2 Ireland Zooropa [10]
1995 Green Day United States Dookie [11]
1996 Nirvana United States MTV Unplugged in New York [12]
1997 Beck United States Odelay [13]
1998 Radiohead United Kingdom OK Computer [14]
1999 Beastie Boys United States Hello Nasty [15]
2000 Beck United States Mutations [16]
2001 Radiohead United Kingdom Kid A [17]
2002 Coldplay United Kingdom Parachutes [18]
2003 Coldplay United Kingdom A Rush of Blood to the Head [19]
2004 The White Stripes United States Elephant [20]
2005 Wilco United States A Ghost Is Born [21]
2006 The White Stripes United States Get Behind Me Satan [22]
2007 Gnarls Barkley United States St. Elsewhere [23]
2008 The White Stripes United States Icky Thump [24]
2009 Radiohead United Kingdom In Rainbows [25]
2010 Phoenix France Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix [26]
2011 The Black Keys United States Brothers [27]

^[I]  Each year is linked to the article about the Grammy Awards held that year.


  1. "Grammy Awards at a Glance". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company).,0,5279018.htmlstory?track=center. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  2. "Overview". National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Popkin, Helen A.S. (January 23, 2006). Alternative to what?. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  4. "Grammys return to New York". TimesDaily (Tennessee Valley Printing). May 25, 1990.,4464120&dq. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Pareles, Jon (January 11, 1991). "Grammy Nominees Announced". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "52nd OEP Category Description Guide" (PDF). National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. p. 2. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  7. "Grammy Award Winners". National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Retrieved April 29, 2010.  Note: User must select the "Alternative" category as the genre under the search feature.
  8. Pareles, Jon (January 9, 1992). "Grammy Short List: Many For a Few". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved April 30, 2010. 
  9. DeYoung, Bill (February 23, 1993). "One critic handicaps tonight's Grammys". The Gainesville Sun (The New York Times Company).,6642121&dq. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  10. Campbell, Mary (January 7, 1994). "Sting, Joel top Grammy nominations". Star-News (The New York Times Company).,2245707. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  11. "Grammys: Award nominations don't reflect innovative year". The Spokesman-Review (Cowles Publishing Company). February 26, 1995.,2338901&dq. Retrieved April 30, 2010. 
  12. List of Grammy nominees. CNN. January 4, 1996. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  13. "Grammy nominees". Today's News-Herald (Lake Havasu City, Arizona). January 11, 1997.,613679&dq. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  14. "No Spice, Plenty Of Age In Grammy Announcement". MTV. January 6, 1998. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  15. "1999 Grammy Nominees". NME. IPC Media. November 27, 1998. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  16. 42nd Annual Grammy Awards nominations. CNN. January 4, 2000. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  17. Hiatt, Brian; vanHorn, Teri (January 3, 2001). "Dr. Dre, Beyoncé Lead Grammy Nominees". MTV. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  18. Basham, David (January 24, 2002). "Got Charts? Creed, Eminem, No Doubt, 'NSYNC Have Something In Common". MTV. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  19. "Grammy Nominees Announced". Blender. Alpha Media Group. January 15, 2003. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  20. D'Angelo, Joe (January 12, 2004). "White Stripes To Perform At Grammy Awards". MTV. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  21. "Grammy Award nominees in top categories". USA Today (Gannett Company). February 7, 2005. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  22. "The Complete List of Grammy Nominations". The New York Times (The New York Times Company): 1. December 8, 2005. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  23. "49th Annual Grammy Awards Winners List". Grammy Awards. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  24. Leeds, Jeff (December 7, 2007). "Kanye West and Amy Winehouse lead Grammy nominees". Cape Cod Times (Dow Jones Local Media Group). Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  25. Stout, Gene (February 6, 2009). "Grammys Awards: Who will perform, who will win, who should win". Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Hearst Corporation). Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  26. "Grammy nominations 2010 announced – Beyonce, Lady Gaga, MGMT shortlisted". NME. IPC Media. December 3, 2009. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  27. "53rd Annual Grammy Awards nominees list". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company).,0,4822287.htmlstory. Retrieved December 2, 2010. 

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