R&B superstars Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak have joined forces to form a duo called Silk Sonic. The single “Leave The Door Open,” off their album “An Evening with Silk Sonic,” has so far been tremendously popular, recently topping the Billboard Hot 100. But while their continued commercial success seems all but certain, one question does remain: what are their Grammy chances? Let’s look at some past supergroups to see how the recording academy has reacted to them and what that might mean for this new dynamic duo.
This critically acclaimed all-female supergroup consists of Grammy winners Maren Morris, Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires, and Natalie Hemby. The country and Americana quartet released their debut album in late 2019 to great reviews. As for the Grammys, they surprisingly only got one nom for Best Country Song for “Crowded Table,” which they eventually won against bigger hits like Miranda Lambert’s “Bluebird” and Morris’s own “The Bones.” They were definitely helped by being no strangers to Grammy glory: Carlile had won a total of five Grammys in the previous two years, while Shires, Hemby, and Morris had all won one each. As songwriters on “Crowded Table,” Carlile and Hemby won their sixth and second Grammys, respectively.
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
Led Zeppelin‘s Plant and bluegrass favorite Krauss proved to be a bigger Grammy force than most people were probably expecting. Their album “Raising Sand” was released on October 2007 to critical acclaim and debuted at number-two on the Billboard 200. It ended up sweeping the 2009 Grammys, winning all five of its nominations including Album of the Year and Record of the Year (“Please Read the Letter”). Their song “Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)” also won a Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals the year prior to the album’s Grammy sweep.
USA for Africa
Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past 36 years, you’re probably familiar with “We Are The World,” a charity single originally made to raise funds for the 1980s Ethiopia famine crisis. The song, written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones along with Michael Omartian, was a huge success, topping the charts all over the world. The music industry loved it just as much as the general public, giving it an almost full Grammy sweep: it won Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Pop Collaboration with Vocals, and … Best Music Video? (It’s alright to scratch your head at that last one.)
The Three Tenors
Moving from pop to opera, this supergroup consisting of opera legends Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, and José Carreras sold millions of records and won multiple Grammys. Their first album, “The Three Tenors in Concert,” won the Grammy for Best Classical Vocal Performance in 1991, while their sophomore project “The Three Tenors in Concert 1994” earned Grammy noms for Album of the Year and Best Pop Album.
I’m With Her
Another all-female Americana supergroup, I’m With Her was formed by Grammy winners Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan, and Sara Watkins. The group received two nominations in 2020 for their single “Call My Name” off their debut album “See You Around,” winning one of those: Best American Roots Song.
Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris
“Trio,” the 1987 album by the country-pop supergroup formed by Grammy winners Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris, garnered an ACM Award for Album of the Year, as well as a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year and a win for Best Country Duo or Group Performance (back when songs and albums competed together in genre categories). The album became Parton and Harris’s first Album of the Year Grammy nominee, and Ronstadt’s second.
Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
The country-rock supergroup Crosby, Stills and Nash won Best New Artist back in 1970 and earned two Album of the Year noms. The first was for their eponymous debut “Crosby, Stills and Nash” in 1970, before Neil Young joined the group. With Young the following year they contended for their hit album “Déjà Vu.” That said, the group’s only win ever ended up being Best New Artist.
This rock supergroup consisted of acclaimed singer-songwriters Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison. They netted two Grammy noms for their debut album, “Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1,” including Album of the Year. While they didn’t win that award, they still took home Best Rock Duo or Group Performance for the album.
There have been more supergroups that have gotten Grammy recognition, like Dionne and Friends, The Time Jumpers, and George Harrison and Friends. So history seems to be on Silk Sonic’s side, especially with Mars and Paak’s Grammy track records: between them, they have won 15 times. Could we get another “Raising Sand” moment? Time will tell Silk Sonic’s fate, but I hope the Grammys leave the door open for them.
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