Dick Clark created the American Music Awards in 1973 as a populist response to the Grammys. While other awards are decided by an organization of music industry employees, the AMAs were designed to reflect the preferences of the music-buying public.
Fellow teen idols Michael Jackson and Donny Osmond shared the hosting duties at the 1974 American Music Awards.
Soul legend Al Green was at the top of his game at this American Music Awards telecast.
Michael Jackson — and his massive Afro — appeared with 12-year-old sister Janet.
Who drummer Keith Moon and his girlfriend, Annette Walter-Lax, at the American Music Awards in 1977.
1978 was a big year at the American Music Awards for Fleetwood Mac, who took home multiple awards.
Chuck Berry receives the American Music Awards Award of Merit on January 30th, 1981.
Aretha Franklin takes her heels off as she poses for photographers at the 10th Annual American Music Awards on January 17th, 1983.
Prince performs "Solid Gold" at the 1983 American Music Awards.
Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood get cozy at the 10th Annual American Music Awards on January 17th, 1983.
In the wake of Thriller's record-breaking success, Michael Jackson (pictured here with friend Brooke Shields) won the Award of Merit along with seven other trophies.
Cyndi Lauper poses with her awards at the 12th Annual American Music Awards on January 28th, 1985.
In the middle of the Purple Rain tour, Prince — seen here outside the venue under heavy escort — won three awards for the album.
Michael Jackson and Eddie Murphy onstage during the 16th Annual American Music Awards in Los Angeles on January 9th, 1989.
Guns N' Roses won two awards in the heavy metal category, but got more headlines for a curse-filled acceptance speech.
How times have changed: Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer dominated the hip-hop category in 1991.
At the height of her success, Whitney Houston scored a whopping eight awards, including the Award of Merit.
Pat Boone changed his clean-cut image forever by leathering up to present an award to Metallica with Alice Cooper.
Will Smith was the big winner this year, taking home three awards for Big Willie Style.
After turning up with Justin Timberlake in matching denim outfits, Britney Spears stripped into something a little more comfortable for her performance.
Eminem was the big winner with four awards, but didn't make it to the show — 8 Mile co-star Mekhi Phifer accepted for him, swearing Em was on his cellphone.
Owing to a change in schedule, there were two American Music Awards in 2003 — the Osbournes hosted the first.
At the year's second AMAs, Kid Rock lit up the stage with his cover of Bad Company's "Feel Like Makin' Love."
Anna Nicole Smith was not in top form for her AMAs appearance, slurring her words and becoming the subject of several jokes during the show.
American Idol vets Carrie Underwood and Chris Daughtry were big winners in 2007, as each took home three awards.
Janet Jackson opened the show with a medley, and later paid tribute to her late brother Michael by joining in a dance number and performing their duet, "Scream."
American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert's provocative performance went viral.
Russell Brand and Katy Perry declare their love for Justin Bieber at the American Music Awards on November 21st, 2010.
Rihanna performs at the 2010 American Music Awards.
Pitbull and Marc Anthony shared the stage at the 2011 American Music Awards.
LMFAO welcomed a true legend – good-humored actor David Hasselhoff – onstage at the American Music Awards.