6 Facts About the American Music Awards

November 23, 2015

The annual awards show took place last weekend. Here’s a look back at the history of the event.

American Music Awards

  • While the Grammys were established by a music industry foundation to recognize its best and brightest, the American Music Awards were created purely for TV. In 1973, ABC lost the rights to air the Grammys to CBS, and hired TV mega-producer (and American Bandstand host) Dick Clark to create a competing music show. Clark created the AMAs, which unlike the Grammys at the time, focused on Top 40 and rock music.
  • For its first few years, the show enjoyed multiple hosts, one for each genre of music covered in the ceremony. (The show would be broadcast in sections: all of the pop awards, all the rock awards, and all of the country music awards.) Glen Campbell, a ‘70s country star and country portion host, was the most frequent AMAs host.
  • Like most other awards shows, the AMAs were held and televised live in the very early part of the calendar year, but ABC moved them to November in 2003. They did this to get all the awards show attention squarely on the AMAs (there are no other major awards shows in November), while also moving it to the profitable “Sweeps” period.
  • Unlike the Grammys, which are voted on by invited members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the AMAs are voted on directly by music buyers and fans.
  • Most awarded acts in AMA history: Michael Jackson (24), Whitney Houston (21), and Alabama (19). Taylor Swift will probably break this record, as she’s already won 19 American Music Awards, including the first and only presentation of the “Dick Clark Award for Excellence.”
  • Un-American? For the last two years, the Artist of the Year award has gone to One Direction, a boy band from…England.

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