Stevie Wonder, one of the greatest influences in music history, has set the bar at the Recording Academy, participating in the Album of the Year category.
In the 61-year history of the Grammys, the revered icon has won the coveted award a total of three times. In fact, he is the most awarded R&B artist in this category.
Wonder first took home Album of the Year in 1974 for his 16th studio album Innervisions. A year later, he won for Fulfillingness’ First Finale. He scored his third win in 1977 for the beloved Songs in the Key of Life.
The Album of the Year award hasn’t been an easy victory for an R&B artist. Though Pharrell won Album of the Year at 56th Annual Grammy Awards for Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, the versatile musician was awarded as a featured artist — not as a lead performer.
Since 1959, when the Grammys began, there have only been eight R&B/soul artists to walk away with the prestigious award as lead performers including Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Lauryn Hill, Natalie Cole, Lionel Richie, Quincy Jones, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder.
While Bruno Mars won the award in 2018 for 24K Magic, Charles is the last traditional R&B/soul artist to win Album of the Year as a lead artist. He won for his 2004 album Genius Loves Company.
Beyoncé has arguably been snubbed the most for this award, with her last being for 2016’s Lemonade. Her cultural masterpiece lost to Adele’s 25 at the 59th Annual Grammys.