1979 Grammy Award Winners


Winners Announced: February 15, 1979
Held at: Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, California
Host: John Denver
Eligibility Year: October 1, 1977September 30, 1978

Intriguing Trivia and Nuggets of Knowledge

  1. End of the Disco Era: This year’s Grammy Awards coincided with the tail end of the disco craze, and the Bee Gees were the darlings of the night.
  2. Denver’s Final Act: This was the last time John Denver would host the Grammys, ending his five-year stint.
  3. Rising Talent: This was the year Billy Joel won both Song of the Year and Record of the Year for “Just the Way You Are,” signifying his ascent as a major artist.
  4. Saturday Night Live: The Bee Gees’ album Saturday Night Fever was a significant winner, echoing the cultural impact of disco.
  5. Epic Collaborations: “Stayin’ Alive,” a song by the Bee Gees, also featured on Saturday Night Fever, which is one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time.
  6. First Country Rap: While it didn’t win, “Convoy” by C.W. McCall was nominated, which many consider to be a predecessor to the modern country rap genre
1979 Grammy Winners
Record of the Year:
Just the Way You Are – Billy Joel
Album of the Year:
Saturday Night Fever, Bee Gees, David Shire, Yvonne Elliman, Tevares, Kool and the Gang, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, MFSB, Trammps, Walter Murphy and Ralph MacDonald (RSO)
Song of the Year:
Just the Way You Are – Billy Joel, songwriter
Best New Artist of the Year:
A Taste of Honey
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male:
Copacabana (At the Copa), Barry Manilow
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female:
You Needed Me – Anne Murray
Best Pop Vocal Performance By a Duo, Group or Chorus:
Saturday Night Fever, Bee Gees
Best Pop Instrumental Performance:
Children of Sanchez, Chuck Mangione Group
Best Rhythm and Blues Song:
Last Dance – Paul Jabara, songwriter
Best Rhythm and Blues Vocal Performance, Male:
On Broadway – George Benson
Best Rhythm and Blues Vocal Performance, Female:
Last Dance – Donna Summer
Best Rhythm and Blues Vocal Performance By a Duo, Group or Chorus:
All’n All, Earth, Wind and Fire
Best Rhythm and Blues Instrumental Performance:
Runnin’ – Earth, Wind and Fire
Best Jazz Vocal Performance:
All Fly Home, Al Jarreau
Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist:
Montreux ’77 Oscar Peterson Jam, Oscar Peterson
Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Group:
Friends, Chick Corea
Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Big Band:
Live in Munich, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis
Best Country Song:
The Gambler – Don Schlitz, songwriter
Best Country Vocal Performance, Male:
Georgia on My Mind – Willie Nelson
Best Country Vocal Performance, Female:
Here You Come Again, Dolly Parton
Best Country Vocal Performance By a Duo or Group:
Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys – Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson
Best Country Instrumental Performance:
One O’Clock Jump – Asleep at the Wheel
Best Gospel Performance, Contemporary or Inspirational:
What a Friend – Larry Hart
Best Gospel Performance, Traditional:
Refreshing, Happy Goodman Family
Best Soul Gospel Performance, Contemporary:
Live in London, Andrae Crouch and the Disciples
Best Soul Gospel Performance, Traditional:
Live and Direct, Mighty Clouds of Joy
Best Latin Recording:
Homenaje a Beny Moré, Tito Puente (Tico)
Best Inspirational Performance:
Happy Man, B.J. Thomas
Best Ethnic or Traditional Recording:
I’m Ready, Muddy Waters (Blue Sky)
Best Instrumental Arrangement:
Main Title (Overture Part One, The Wiz Original Soundtrack), Quincy Jones and Robert Freedman, arrangers
Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s):
Got to Get You Into My Life – Maurice White, arranger
Best Arrangement for Voices:
Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees, arrangers
Best Instrumental Composition:
Theme From Close Encounters of the Third Kind – John Williams, composer
Best Cast Show Album:
Ain’t Misbehavin’, Thomas Fats Waller and others, composers (RCA Red Seal)
Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special:
Close Encounters of the Third Kind, John Williams, composer (Arista)
Album of the Year, Classical:
Brahms, Concerto for Violin in D Major, Itzhak Perlman; Carlo Maria Giulini conducting Chicago Symphony (Angel)
Best Classical Orchestral Performance:
Beethoven, Symphonies (Complete), Herbert von Karajan conducting Berlin Philharmonic
Best Chamber Music Performance:
Beethoven, Sonatas for Violin and Piano (Complete), Itzhak Perlman and Vladimir Ashkenazy
Best Classical Performance, Instrumental Soloist(s) (With Orchestra):
Rachmaninoff, Concerto No. 3 in D Minor for Piano (Horowitz Golden Jubilee), Vladimir Horowitz; Eugene Ormandy conducting Philadelphia Orchestra
Best Classical Performance, Instrumental Soloist(s) (Without Orchestra):
The Horowitz Concerts 1977/78, Vladimir Horowitz
Best Opera Recording:
Lehar, The Merry Widow, Julius Rudel conducting New York City Opera Orchestra and Chorus; solos: Sills and Titus (Angel)
Best Choral Performance, Classical (Other Than Opera):
Beethoven, Missa Solemnis, Sir Georg Solti, conductor and Margaret Hillis, choral director, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Best Classical Vocal Soloist Performance:
Luciano Pavarotti – Hits From Lincoln Center, Luciano Pavarotti
Best Comedy Recording:
A Wild and Crazy Guy, Steve Martin (Warner Bros.)
Best Spoken Word Recording:
Citizen Kane (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), Orson Welles (Mark 56)
Best Recording for Children:
The Muppet Show, Jim Henson (Arista)
Best Album Package:
Boys in the Trees, Johnny Lee and Tony Lane, art directors (Elektra)
Best Album Notes:
A Bing Crosby Collection, vols. I and II, Michael Brooks, annotator (Columbia)
Best Historical Repackage Album:
Lester Young Story Vol. 3 (Columbia)
Best Producers of the Year:
Bee Gees, Albhy Galuten and Karl Richardson