1961 Grammy Award Winners

1961 Grammy Award Winners

Winners Announced: April 12, 1961
Held in: Los Angeles and New York
Host/Emcee: Mort Sahl
Eligibility Year: September 1, 1959November 30, 1960

Highlights and Achievements

  • Ray Charles Makes Waves: The man behind hits like What’d I Say won two awards, including Best Vocal Performance Single Record or Track, Male for Georgia On My Mind.
  • First Female Winner in Country: The groundbreaking artist Marty Robbins won the Grammy for Best Country & Western Performance for El Paso. Did you know it was also the first year a woman won in a country category? The Carter Sisters won for their song He Will Set Your Fields on Fire.

Little-Known Trivia

  • First Grammy Telecast: This 1961 event was the first-ever Grammy Awards to be telecast. A closed-circuit television feed linked the Los Angeles and New York ceremonies.
  • Take our 1961 Quiz!
Record of the Year:
Theme From A Summer Place, Percy Faith
Album of the Year:
Button Down Mind, Bob Newhart (Warner Bros.)
Song of the Year:
Theme From Exodus, Ernest Gold, songwriter
Best New Artist of 1960:
Bob Newhart
Best Performance By a Pop Single Artist:
Georgia on My Mind, Ray Charles
Best Vocal Performance Single Record or Track, Male:
Georgia on My Mind, Ray Charles (ABC)
Best Vocal Performance Single Record or Track, Female:
Mack the Knife, Ella Fitzgerald (Verve)
Best Vocal Performance, Album, Male:
Genius of Ray Charles, Ray Charles (Atlantic)
Best Vocal Performance, Album, Female:
Mack the Knife?Ella in Berlin, Ella Fitzgerald (Verve)
Best Performance By a Vocal Group:
We Got Us, Eydie Gormé and Steve Lawrence
Best Performance By a Chorus:
Songs of the Cowboy, Norman Luboff Choir
Best Rhythm and Blues Performance:
Let the Good Times Roll, Ray Charles
Best Jazz Performance, Solo or Small Group:
West Side Story, André Previn
Best Jazz Performance, Large Group:
Blues and the Beat, Henry Mancini
Best Jazz Composition of More Than Five Minutes:
Sketches of Spain, Miles Davis and Gil Evans, composers
Best Performance By a Band for Dancing:
Dance With Basie, Count Basie
Best Country and Western Performance:
El Paso, Marty Robbins
Best Performance, Folk:
Swing Dat Hammer, Harry Belafonte
Best Performance By an Orchestra:
Mr. Lucky, Henry Mancini
Best Arrangement:
Mr. Lucky, Henry Mancini, arranger
Best Show Album (Original Cast):
The Sound of Music, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, composers (Columbia)
Best Soundtrack Album or Recording of Music Score From Motion Picture or Television:
Exodus, Ernest Gold, composer (RCA)
Best Soundtrack Album or Recording of Original Cast From Motion Picture or Television:
Can-Can, Cole Porter, composer (Capital)
Best Classical Performance, Orchestra:
Bartók, Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste, Fritz Reiner conducting Chicago Symphony
Best Classical Performance, Vocal or Instrumental:
Chamber Music Conversations With the Guitar, Laurindo Almeida
Best Classical Performance, Concerto or Instrumental Soloist:
Brahms, Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-Flat, Sviatoslav Richter; Erich Leinsdorf conducting Chicago Symphony
Best Classical Performance, Instrumental Soloist or Duo (Other Than Orchestral):
The Spanish Guitars of Laurindo Almeida, Laurindo Almeida
Best Classical Opera Production:
Puccini, Turandot, Erich Leinsdorf conducting Rome Opera House Chorus and Orchestra; solos: Tebaldi, Nilsson, Björling and Tozzi
Best Classical Performance, Choral (Including Oratorio):
Handel, The Messiah, Sir Thomas Beecham conducting Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus
Best Classical Performance, Vocal Soloist:
A Program of Song, Leontyne Price
Best Contemporary Classical Composition:
Orchestral Suite From Tender Land Suite, Aaron Copland, composer
Best Comedy Performance (Spoken Word):
Button Down Mind Strikes Back, Bob Newhart
Best Comedy Performance (Musical):
Jonathan and Darlene Edwards in Paris, Jo Stafford and Paul Weston
Best Performance, Documentary or Spoken Word (Other Than Comedy):
F.D.R. Speaks, Robert Bialek
Best Album Created for Children:
Let’s All Sing With the Chipmunks, David Seville (Liberty)
Best Album Cover:
Latin a la Lee, Marvin Schwartz, art director (Capitol)