The Man Who Created the Word "Grammy" and Other Idle Gossip


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According to the Grammy Awards website, the music industry's highest honor got its name from a nationwide “name the award" contest back in 1959.

Not so according to Grammy-, Emmy- and Clio-winning writer-comedian Stan Freberg, who recently toured the Grammy Museum and emerged incensed. He says the honor's origins (and his role in them) have been erased like a bad overdub.

Here's Stan's correction and recollection:

In 1958, I was on the founding Board of Governors of the Recording Academy. Since I was the only board member who was also a writer, I was asked to write an Academy credo by which all recordings would be judged. So I wrote our credo, which still stands. But what should we call the award for those who earned it?

BOARD MEMBER: Stan, we've decided to call our award the 'Eddy,' for Thomas Edison.

STAN: The 'Eddy!?' People will think you named it for Eddie Fisher.

BOARD MEMBER: Well, what should we call it?

STAN: Edison's first recording device was the Gramophone. Why don't we call it the 'Grammy?'

(long pause)

BOARD MEMBER: That sounds like someone's grandmother, like we're all going over to Grammy's house for Thanksgiving.

Then Elmer Bernstein said I was right, we all voted, the Grammy was born and the little gold statue shaped like Edison's invention, the one that made the recording industry possible, is now recognized around the world as a symbol of the music business.

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