Echoes of Innovation – The Grammys of 1982 

today16 May 2024

19828; using the andy warhol signature style of boarders on the left and right side of the picture, use a retro synth wave colour scheme, create an image depicting the Grammy Awards of 1982

The Grammys of 1982 

The Grammys of 1982. They were big, glamorous, and had all the biggest musicians, actors, and models. 

With the rise of MTV just a few years before, more eyes than ever were on the Grammys. And as the 

premiere night for all things music, they needed to deliver an event to set the tone for the rest of the 


Snapshot: 80s Pop-Culture 

The 80s was a fast paced, brightly coloured, decade of rolled up sleeves on men and leg warmers on women. The fashion world exploded in popularity and created new ways to look at everyone’s style. Technology was starting to get smaller and affordable. Plus, the inception of music videos completely changed the relationship fans had with their favourite artist. 

Music videos gave a new way to connect to the music and more importantly artist. They weren’t just a voice on the radio anymore. Suddenly, your favourite artist was playing a private concert for you in your own den. You knew what they were wearing, they way they talked, the way they walked. They were simultaneously made more relatable and bigger than life. 

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Mix in the outrageous fashion of the 80s, like neon sports gear, leg warmers, and sleeves rolled up on 

blazers, and the Grammy’s of 1982 were destined to be a night few would forget! 

The Nominees—Grammys 1982 

The 1982 Grammys had a diverse list of nominees in several of the categories as more and more sub-genre were founded and even more artists discovered their own artistic direction—unwilling to be defined by the past. This led to some strong competition in some of the sought after categories: 

  1. Album of the Year: 

  • “Double Fantasy” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono 
  • “The Dude” by Quincy Jones 
  • “Mistaken Identity” by Kim Carnes 
  • “Gaucho” by Steely Dan 
  • “The Innocent Age” by Dan Fogelberg 
  1. Record of The Year: 

  • “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes 
  • “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” by Christopher Cross 
  • “Endless Love” by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie 
  • “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield 
  • “Woman in Love” by Barbra Streisand 
  1. Song of the Year: 

  • “Bette Davis Eyes” by Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon 
  • “Endless Love” by Lionel Richie 
  • “Every Breath You Take” by The Police (written by Sting) 
  • “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” by Peter Allen, Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, and Christopher Cross 
  • “Just the Two of Us” by Bill Withers, William Salter, and Ralph MacDonald 
  1. Best New Artist: 

  • Sheena Easton 
  • Men at Work 
  • The Go-Go’s 
  • Asia 
  • The Human League 
  1. Best Pop Vocal Performance: 

  • Lena Horne 
  • Sheena Easton 
  • James Taylor 
  • Christopher Cross  
  • Kenny Rogers 
  1. Best Rock Vocal Performance: 

  • Pat Benatar 
  • The Rolling Stones 
  • The Cars 
  • Billy Squier 
  • Bob Seger 


It’s clear that there were some heavy favourites—looking at you “Bette Davis Eyes”. Some of the names are household names now, but in 1982 they were still trying to carve out their own slice of the music landscape. With a nominees list as stacked as this one, it’s easy to see why we’re talking about the Grammys of 1982 today. 


The Winners—1982 Grammys 

While ever musician, band, or artist nominated deserves their own spotlight, there can only be one winner. The winners of 82 Grammys have had whirlwind careers, but each one would count their grammy win as one of the highlights to an illustrious career. 

Album of the Year: “Double Fantasy” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono 

Touted for its emotional honesty and musical brilliance this album was the highly anticipated return to music of Beatles legend John Lennon. With his wife Yoko Ono, he created an evocative album that defied expectations and genres. 

Record of the Year: “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes 

Whether blasting from radios, dominating dance floors, or featuring in blockbuster films and TV shows, “Bette Davis Eyes” left an indelible mark on popular culture, earning its rightful place as Record of the Year. More than just a song; it was a cultural phenomenon that captured the spirit of the era. 

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Song of the Year: “Bette Davis Eyes” by Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon 

While Kim Carnes version of the song won Record of the Year, Donna Weiss and Jackie DeShannon’s version stood on it’s own merits. A combination of these two talents, their songwriting power is on showcase in every lyric. Paired with their infectious, toe tapping, melody and instrumentation, this version of “Bette Davis Eyes” won song of the year at the 1982 Grammys for good reason! 

Best New Artist: Sheena Easton 

Sheena Easton was an easy contender for Best New Artist at the ’82 Grammys thanks to her captivating blend of pop sensibility, powerhouse vocals, and electric stage presence. Her undeniable talent was further showcased through her versatility, taking on pop, R&B, and adult contemporary effortlessly. 

Best Pop Female Vocal Performance: Lena Horne for “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music Live on Broadway” 

Her win wasn’t just about hitting the right notes; it was a celebration of a legendary career marked by resilience, talent, and a commitment to social change. Horne’s velvet voice and captivating stage presence transported audiences to the heart of Broadway, where she bared her soul through every soulful lyric and every haunting melody. 


Best Pop Male Vocal Performance: Al Jarreau for “Breakin’ Away” 

With his album “Breakin’ Away,” Jarreau redefined the boundaries of pop music, infusing it with elements of jazz, R&B, and soul. His smooth, velvety voice danced effortlessly over intricate melodies and infectious rhythms, captivating listeners with every note. But what truly set Jarreau apart was his ability to connect with audiences on a deeply emotional level. 

Best Rock Vocal Performance: Pat Benatar for “Fire and Ice” 

Benatar’s album “Fire and Ice” showcased her powerful vocals, electrifying stage presence, and unapologetic approach to rock music. With anthems like “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and “Fire and Ice,” she captivated audiences with her raw energy and rebellious spirit, setting a new standard for female rockers everywhere.  

The 1982 Grammys were a night to remember 

The 1982 Grammy Awards stand as a significant milestone in music history, celebrating the artistry and innovation that defined the early 1980s. From the triumphant sweep by John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Double Fantasy” to the groundbreaking success of new wave and rock acts, the ceremony highlighted the diverse and evolving landscape of popular music. Legends like Quincy Jones and Pat Benatar shone brightly, while the emergence of artists such as Sheena Easton signaled the arrival of fresh talent poised to shape the future of the industry. Reflecting on the 1982 Grammy Awards, it’s evident that this was a year marked by poignant tributes, bold musical experimentation, and a rich tapestry of sounds that continue to influence and inspire generations of musicians and fans alike. 

Written by: Brandon Lawson