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The first Grammy Awards were handed out on May 4, 1959 to recognize outstanding musical accomplishments by performers in the year 1958. Two separate ceremonies took place simultaneously on the same day; one at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles and the other at the Park Sheraton Hotel in New York City.

Related: 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards Nominations

In the 60 years since, the Grammys have outgrown hotel ballrooms. This year’s awards ceremony will be held at Staples Center in L.A. on Sunday, February 10th. There are also more categories and nominees.

These were the first Grammys winners in 1959:

Record of the Year

  • “Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu (Volare)” – Domenico Modugno

Song of the Year

  • “Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu (Volare)” – Franco Migliacci and Domenico Modugno, songwriters (Domenico Modugno)

Album of the Year

  • The Music from Peter Gunn – Henry Mancini


  • Best Recording for Children
    • Ross Bagdasarian Sr. for “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” performed by Ross Bagdasarian Sr. as “David Seville and the Chipmunks”


  • Best Comedy Performance
    • Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. for “The Chipmunk Song”, performed by Ross Bagdasarian Sr. as “David Seville and the Chipmunks”

Composing and Arranging

  • Best Musical Composition First Recorded and Released in 1958 (over 5 minutes duration)
    • Nelson Riddle (composer) for “Cross Country Suite”
  • Best Arrangement
    • Henry Mancini (arranger & artist) for The Music from Peter Gunn


  • Best Jazz Performance, Individual
    • Ella Fitzgerald for Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook
  • Best Jazz Performance, Group
    • Count Basie for Basie


  • Best Country & Western Performance
    • The Kingston Trio for “Tom Dooley”

Musical Show

  • Best Original Cast Album (Broadway or TV)
    • Meredith Willson (composer) & the original cast with Robert Preston, Barbara Cook, David Burns, Eddie Hodges, Pert Kelton & Helen Raymond for The Music Man
  • Best Sound Track Album, Dramatic Picture Score or Original Cast
    • André Previn & the original cast for Gigi (Original Motion Picture Soundtracck


  • Best Vocal Performance, Female
    • Ella Fitzgerald for Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Songbook
  • Best Vocal Performance, Male
    • Perry Como for “Catch a Falling Star”
  • Best Performance by a Vocal Group or Chorus
    • Keely Smith & Louis Prima for “That Old Black Magic”
  • Best Performance by a Dance Band
    • Count Basie for Basie
  • Best Performance by an Orchestra
    • Billy May for Billy May’s Big Fat Brass

Spoken Word

  • Best Performance, Documentary or Spoken Word
    • Stan Freberg for The Best of the Stan Freberg Shows


  • Best Rhythm & Blues Performance
    • “Tequila” – The Champs

Production and Engineering

  • Best Engineered Record – Non-Classical
    • Ted Keep (engineer) for “The Chipmunk Song” performed by David Seville
  • Best Engineered Record (Classical)
    • Sherwood Hall III (engineer), Laurindo Almeida & Salli Terri for Duets with Spanish Guitar

Packaging and Notes

  • Best Album Cover Photography
    • Frank Sinatra for Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely