Welcome to the next lesson in our free English class series about Music in America. Time to get in front of the mirror and rehearse your acceptance speech! In this lesson, we’re going to explore the history of the top music award ceremony in America: The Grammy Awards.
Approximately 15 minutes
The Grammy Awards: Presenting the Best in Music
Click below to listen to a recording of this passage.
Every year, the best and most talented individuals in the world of music are honored at a ceremony in America called The Grammy Awards. The ceremony is put on by The Recording Academy and honors musicians in over 80 different categories in over 25 different fields and genres of music. The Grammy Awards show is televised globally and draws millions of viewers.
This show is called “the Grammys” because the trophy winners receive a golden gramophone. Until 1990, the trophies were made of a soft metal that was easily damaged. Now, the trophy makers use their own alloy to mold a trophy that can withstand a slip or fall.
In 1959, the first Grammy Awards Ceremony was held simultaneously in New York City and Beverly Hills. In fact, the show was originally called The Gramophone Awards, but the name shortened over time (the same thing happened with the Oscars, or the Academy Awards).
It grew in popularity, and in 1971, the Grammys were broadcast live for the first time. Until then, networks would only show parts of the ceremony throughout the year.
The Grammys have certainly racked up their share of interesting moments and streaks over the last 60 years. Three U.S. Presidents have won Grammys for their spoken word albums
Conductor George Solti holds the record for most Grammys won at 31 awards. Michael Jackson and Carlos Santana are tied at eight for the most Grammys won in a single ceremony. The oldest person to ever win a Grammy was blues pianist Pinetop Perkins at 97 years old!
The Grammy Awards are a big event that draws viewers young and old from all over the world. If you want to see the hottest acts from the American music scene, be sure to watch The Grammys this year!
Here's a video clip giving a quick rundown on the history of the Grammys.
Review this sentence from the passage:
Three U.S. Presidents have won Grammys for their spoken word albums.
This sentence utilizes the present perfect verb tense. We use this tense to show actions that took place at an unspecified time before now.
Always remember that the exact time isn’t important when using this tense. That can be confusing to some ESL learners.
The tense has many uses, but one of the most common is when talking about accomplishments. That’s how the writer used it in this context, but you’ll also hear it when people speak about things like experiences and changes over time.
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