The competition is steep at the GRAMMY Awards. Just ask the Backstreet Boys.
AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell rode into the 42nd annual ceremony in 2000 on the back of a monster album. Millennium resulted in four nominations that year: Album of the Year, Best Pop Album, and Record of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal for “I Want it That Way.” The group’s third studio album also featured three other hit singles: “Larger Than Life,” “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely” and “The One.”
But something else happened in the year leading up to those GRAMMY Awards. Santana put together a monster album of its own. Supernatural included collaborations with industry giants including Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews and Rob Thomas, whose appearance on “Smooth” helped make it one of the most successful songs of all time.
“We were sitting in the audience and I’ll never forget – we grew up obviously loving all sorts of music and Carlos Santana was one of the people we loved as well,” Carter told RADIO.COM. “We were sitting there with Millennium, our – I like to say best album to date. And I just remember looking at the guys; I’m like ‘we’re not gonna win this thing.’ It’s not happening.”
Santana beat the Backstreet Boys in three of the categories they were nominated in that night, with another hall of famer, Sting, edging them out in the other. But while awards are nice, it was music that put the Backstreet Boys in that room and that’s what ultimately made it one of Richardson’s proudest moments. The group performed a medley of Motown hits and then joined forces with a legend.
“Later on that night we got to perform ‘Philadelphia Freedom’ with Elton John which was incredible,” he recalled. “That was an amazing night; we were nominated and we got to perform. To me, when I look back on YouTube at our proudest and best jobs we’ve done in a live vocal performance – that was a really nice performance. I’m very proud of that moment for us.”
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The competition still hasn’t let up for the Backstreet Boys. They own eight GRAMMY nomination in all and are still looking for their first win. Steely Dan, U2 and Lady Gaga have also gotten in their way. But it’s all respect from the group, which is still going strong with another world tour beginning February 20th in Mexico City.