Jethro Tull winning the Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Grammy over Metallica in 1989 is still one of the most infamous moments in Grammy history. It’s a moment that Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson still remembers vividly.
In an interview with U.K.’s Planet Rock, Anderson said of the upset win, “I think people were just so shocked and surprised. Nobody really said anything on the grounds that, ‘Oh well don’t worry, they’re not going to win!’ The fact is that if I’d been there to a crazed full house of boos and hisses and ‘how dare they(s)?’ it would have been interesting. I’ve no idea what I would have said when I walked up there [to accept the award.]”
The Grammy was accepted for Jethro Tull on their behalf by Alice Cooper who was at the ceremony presenting the category along with Lita Ford. Anderson would later have an interesting run-in with the Godfather of Shock Rock years after the 1989 Grammy ceremony.
“I did subsequently meet Alice Cooper who was the guy who was pushed on to accept on our behalf The Grammy that we shouldn’t have won,” recalled Anderson. “I said, ‘What did it feel like Alice going up there and having to do that?’ And he said, ‘It was just the worst moment of my life!’ As if it was my fault! [Laughs.]”
By no means was it Jethro Tull’s fault for winning the Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Grammy; the fault obviously lies within the then-members of the Recording Academy. Fortunately, the Academy got it together after 1989 and there was no other strange oversight from them when it comes to the world of rock and metal. Oh, wait...never mind.