Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich took to Instagram on Friday (February 22nd) to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Metallica's famous loss to Jethro Tull for the very first “Hard Rock/Metal Performance” Grammy in 1989. Metallica performed on the Grammy Awards broadcast and was heavily favored to win, with even presenters Alice Cooper and Lita Ford seemingly shocked to announce that classic rockers Tull had won the prize.
Ulrich wrote, “Today 30 years ago, February 22 '89, we played the Grammys for the first time and that was quite a mindf**k!! First time we were in front of a mainstream TV audience. First time mainstream America was exposed to whatever the hell it is we do. First time they had a hard rock/metal category on the Grammys. First time we were Grammy losers, since Jethro Tull, somewhat unexpectedly to most people, walked away with the win.”
Ulrich added, “But all was not lost. The expressions of disgust from most members of the audience (other than Iggy!) is something I will treasure for the rest of my life. And I was rocking some pretty crazy hair that was edging dangerously close to a mullet! Happy days indeed!!”
After Metallica lost the 1989 Grammy to Tull, an embarrassed National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) separated the two genres in 1990 by creating categories for “Best Hard Rock Performance” and “Best Metal Performance.” Metallica won the “Best Metal Performance” award the next year, and thanked Tull for not releasing an album that year. Metallica has earned nearly a dozen Grammys in the years since.