Ian Anderson has had no shortage of remarkable accomplishments in his long music career, so it's not hard to imagine why being synonymous with someone else's huge mistake might bother him.
As the driving force behind Jethro Tull for more than 50 years, Anderson is one of rock's most revolutionary figures. Yet he's best known as the guy who "stole" the first ever 'Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance' GRAMMY from Metallica in 1989.
Tull's infamous win is still brought up every time the Recording Academy bungles something important, a tradition almost as frequent as the annual GRAMMY awards.
It's quite a cross to bear for a matter in which Anderson had barely any say. But as strange as the whole matter is, he tells Planet Rock he really dodged a bullet by not attending the ill-fated ceremony.
“I think people were just so shocked and surprised,” he said. “Nobody really said anything [to us] on the grounds that, ‘Oh, well, don’t worry, they’re not going to win!’ The fact is that if I’d been there to a crazed full house of boos and hisses and how-dare-theys, it would have been interesting. I’ve no idea what I would have said when I walked up there.”
Of course, someone had to accept the award "that [Tull] shouldn't have won" on Anderson's behalf. That burden fell to Alice Cooper, who was still shaken up about it when he met with Anderson sometime later.
"I said, 'What did it feel like, Alice, going up there and having to do that?' And he said, 'It was just the worst moment of my life' — as if it was my fault!'" Anderson recalled.
Around the 30th anniversary of the incident, drummer Lars Ulrich said he's grown to appreciate how upset the GRAMMYs audience was that night on Metallica's behalf.
Photo: Getty Images