15 People Who Have Won at Least 15 Grammys
Winning armfuls of Grammys in one sweeping year makes for a great pressroom photo, such as when Norah Jones won five in 2003 or when Adele won six in 2012, but racking up wins year after year takes a career full of quality work. Joining the ranks of those artists who have won at least 15 Grammys takes time, as these musicians prove.
1. GEORG SOLTI
With 31 wins, Georg Solti is the reigning king of the Grammys. An orchestral and operatic conductor, he led such world-renowned orchestras as the Bavarian State Opera and London’s Royal Opera, and he served as the music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for 22 years. He snagged 30 Grammys for classical recordings between 1962 and 1992, as well as a lifetime achievement Grammy the year before his death. “Sir Georg [he was knighted in 1972] was the very model of a modern conductor,” The New York Times wrote. “He knew that recordings were essential, and in the studio he was efficient enough to turn out hundreds of them and artful enough to keep a grip on listeners' attention, even in the most frequently recorded repertory.” Solti died in 1997, and his Grammy record still stands.
2. QUINCY JONES
The legendary producer holds the record for the most Grammy nominations with 79, but with 27 trophies to his name, he's tied for second for most won. His first statue came in 1964 for his instrumental arrangement of Count Basie’s 1963 song “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” He took home a few more instrumental arrangement Grammys in the ‘70s, and then he met Michael Jackson. Their work on Thriller and “We Are the World” garnered him six more wins, and though he is likely best known for producing Jackson’s first three albums, the large majority of Jones’s honors are for his work with classical and jazz music.
3. ALISON KRAUSS
The bluegrass singer-songwriter has been winning Grammys since 1991, when she was just 19 years old. That night, Quincy Jones swept up six awards, but Krauss would soon catch up with his total—the two of them are tied at 27 for the second-most Grammy wins ever. Krauss continued winning bluegrass and country trophies, and became more widely known for her Grammy-winning work on the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack. But her most surprising collaboration was with Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant: Their platinum 2008 duet album, Raising Sand, won six Grammys, including Record of the Year and Album of the Year.
4. AND 5. JAY Z AND KANYE WEST
The rappers and frequent collaborators each have 21 Grammys, with six of those being joint wins for songs like “Otis,” “N****s in Paris,” and “No Church in the Wild.” Kanye has a chance to pull ahead this year, though; he has four nominations tonight.
Between her girl-group days in Destiny's Child and her impressive solo career, Beyoncé has racked up 20 Grammys in the past 15 years. In 2010, she became the first female artist to win six trophies in one night (a record that Adele tied two years later). Four of her wins—two for her first solo single "Crazy in Love" and two at last year's awards for "Drunk in Love"—are likely of special significance to the star—they showcased one particularly fruitful collaborator: husband Jay Z.
7. STEVIE WONDER
Little Stevie Wonder had been a child prodigy who cranked out hit after hit after getting a label deal at age 11, so when he finally won four Grammys for his 16th album, 1973's Innervisions, and the singles "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" and "Superstition," it felt long overdue. At that time, Wonder was the second youngest artist ever to win Album of the Year at 23 years old. Wonder has taken home a total of 22 Grammys.
8. JOHN WILLIAMS
Composer John Williams is one of the most decorated and celebrated film-score composers of all time, and in addition to winning five Oscars, he also has 22 Grammys. His first came in 1976 for Best Score Soundtrack for Jaws, and like the movie's main theme, many of Williams's subsequent scores could be readily identified by just their opening notes. Williams won five Grammys for the Star Wars franchise, but even with his high trophy count, many of his most recognizable scores, such as for Jurassic Park, Hook, and Harry Potter, were only nominated.
9. PAUL MCCARTNEY
Sir Paul has won 18 Grammys, starting with the Beatles' Best New Artist win in 1965 and spanning his time in that band, Wings, and his solo career. But for the first time this year, Macca is nominated in two rap categories—Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song—for his work on Kanye West's "All Day."
10. ARETHA FRANKLIN
The Queen of Soul's eight-year winning streak for the category Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, starting with "Respect" (1967) and ending with "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" (1974), holds the record for most consecutive wins in a category. She won three more of those in the '80s, plus seven others for categories like gospel performances, for a grand total of 18 Grammys.
11. ERIC CLAPTON
Eric Clapton is considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time, but he hadn't won an individual Grammy until the 1990s, long after his '60s and '70s heyday. His biggest take was in 1993 for his Unplugged album and tribute song "Tears in Heaven," which was written for his 4-year-old son who had died just two years earlier. He now has 17 total Grammys.
12. VINCE GILL
Surprisingly, Vince Gill is the only country artist to have more than 15 Grammys. Starting in 1990, Gill has picked up nine Best Male Country Vocal Performance and a slew of Best Country Instrumental Performance trophies for a grand total of 20 Grammys.
13. JIMMY STURR
Trumpeter, clarinetist, and saxophonist Jimmy Sturr is a good example of someone dominating a lesser-known category. The category no longer exists, but when it did, Sturr and his band won 18 out of 25 Best Polka Album Grammys between 1986 and 2009.
14. RAY CHARLES
Ray Charles won 12 Grammys during his lifetime, but in 2005, he became the artist to win the most posthumous awards in one night. His album Genius Loves Company was released two months after his death in 2004, and won the late singer five Grammys, including Record and Album of the Year, bringing his total trophy count to 17.
15. ALICIA KEYS
In 2002, Keys won the first five of her current 15 Grammys in one huge night—her debut album Songs in A Minor took home Best R&B Album, while the hit single “Fallin’” won three categories. Keys also won Best New Artist that year, which made her (at the time) only the second solo female artist (after Lauryn Hill) to win five Grammys in one night.