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Introducing the Queen of Pop

Page 9 of 11

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift
Joseph Anthony Baker

AWARDS

Let's stay focused on the Grammys for a minute. Our awards ranking totals up the ladies' wins since 2009 at the American Music, Billboard, People's Choice, ACM, BET, CMA and MTV awards, with bonus points for Grammy nominations and extra credit for Grammy wins.

Taylor Swift takes this contest handily, with wins at literally every awards show we tracked (including a single MTV Video Music Award that Kanye West memorably, and rather publicly, thought should go to one of our other contenders). Because we assigned bonus points for Grammy Awards, Swift gets a sizable bump after dominating the 2010 Grammys, where Fearless took Album of the Year, among other prizes.

In all, eight of our contenders won Grammys during the coverage period; three more scored nominations. The biggest gap between nominations and wins: poor Katy Perry, who was teased with six nods – including, this year, a surprise Album of the Year nomination – and went home empty-handed.

Photos: Katy Perry Strips Down for Rolling Stone

Among the truly empty-handed, Ke$ha has yet to receive a statuette anywhere and has thus far gone completely unrecognized by the Grammys. Miley Cyrus would look stronger if we tracked the Teen Choice Awards, but among the mainstream awards-givers she is a near-no-show, save for a single People's Choice win. Finally and perhaps most surprisingly, Christina Aguilera, a Grammy favorite in the early '00s (she won Best New Artist back in 2000), is coming off a tough three years personally and professionally. Despite Xtina's recent dearth of podium-dwelling, her comeback this year on The Voice could begin to turn her fortunes around by 2012.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »
 
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