Elvis Presley: How Many Grammy Awards Did The King Win?

by Sean Griffin

Elvis Presley is undisputedly the King of Rock and Roll. As John Lennon famously said, “Before Elvis, there was nothing.” Presley remains an untouchable icon of rock music and will forever be known as “The King.” Presley has sold 500 million records worldwide and is the best-selling solo artist of all-time. He was commercially successful and influential across a wide variety of American music genres. Presley performed rock, pop, country, rhythm and blues, adult contemporary, and gospel.

Recently, there’s been a renewed interest in Elvis since his new biopic Elvis released in theaters. The movie, directed by Baz Luhrmann, stars Austin Butler in the title role. Recently, Austin Butler spoke about why he can’t shake the King’s iconic voice after playing the role. This weekend, Elvis overtook Top Gun: Maverick at the box office’s top spot. The King-inspired biopic made over thirty million in its opening weekend release.

However, for all his impressive feats, you may be surprised to learn how many Grammy Awards Elvis Presley earned in his lifetime. Elvis Presley won only three Grammys in his storied musical career. A total of just three Grammys doesn’t seem commensurate with the storied career of the King of Rock and Roll. Keep reading to find out why Elvis only has three Grammys, less than modern artists like Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, and Lil Wayne.

Why Does Elvis Only Have 3 Grammy Awards?

Nowadays, the Grammy Awards are synonymous with great commercial and critical achievement within popular music. Oftentimes, the coveted awards help raise the prestige of artists. An artist like Elvis, however, is as prestigious as they come. That is why it is ironic that many artists considered less impactful possess dozens more Grammy Awards than Elvis.

One would assume Elvis’ three Grammy Award wins were for his hit rock and roll and pop songs. However, his three Grammy Awards all inhabit the gospel and inspirational categories.

One of the biggest reasons Elvis didn’t win as many Grammys as others is because his career started before the Grammy Awards were founded. The Grammys began in 1958, so the institution missed 1956 and 1957. Those two years were Elvis’ launching point of his career and a period of his skyrocketing superstardom. Had the Grammys been around during this time, there’s a greater chance he would have nabbed more Grammys.

However, in their earliest days, the Grammy Awards didn’t view rock and roll favorably. However, he took home the Best Inspirational Performance for “He Touched Me” in 1972. He also won in that category again two years later for a live rendition of “How Great Thou Art.” The legendary singer also took home a Grammy for the album of the same name. Yet, one of the most famous and successful rock and roll and pop artists of all-time never won a Grammy in those categories.

However, in 1971, the Recording Academy atoned for their mistake of overlooking the King. They awarded him their Lifetime Achievement Award.