- Foo Fighters, Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace
- Vince Gill, These Days
- Herbie Hancock, River: The Joni Letters
- Kanye West, Dropout
- Amy Winehouse, Back to Black
While it’s highly unlikely that Vince Gill will triumph here, it’s important to note the history that has been made with his nomination. Besides being the first male country act nominated for this award since Kenny Rogers in 1980, he is also the first country act to be nominated for an album that wasn’t a big seller with crossover appeal. If Kanye West is this year’s version of the Dixie Chicks, and finally wins in his third nomination in this category, he’ll be getting what he deserves. But much credit to Vince anyway, who managed to make a fantastic four-CD set that also challenged the conventional ways of releasing new music to the public.
- Dixie Chicks, Taking the Long Way
- Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere
- John Mayer, Continuum
- Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stadium Arcadium
- Justin Timberlake, Future Sex/Love Sounds
When the Dixie Chicks won Album of the Year, it capped off a night when they won five awards, including the big three: Record, Song and Album. They were the first act to pull this rare feat off since Eric Clapton in 1993. They were certainly due, having been nominated for a third time in this category; no other country artist has had more than one album nominated in this category, though Emmylou Harris did contribute to two nominated projects.
- Dixie Chicks, Home
- Eminem, The Eminem Show
- Norah Jones, Come Away With Me
- Nelly, Nellyville
- Bruce Springsteen, The Rising
Since sweeping the big four categories in 2003, Jones has gone on to dabble in country music, participating in tribute albums to Dolly Parton and Waylon Jennings, collaborating with Parton and Willie Nelson, and recording a retro-country album with her side band, The Little Willies.
- Bob Dylan, Love & Theft
- India.Arie, Acoustic Soul
- OutKast, Stankonia
- Soundtrack, O Brother Where Art Thou?
- U2, All That You Can’t Leave Behind
The wildly popular country/bluegrass soundtrack to O Brother Where Art Thou? was a surprise winner, as U2 had been favored going into the ceremony. The album would move more than seven million copies by the time it finished its chart run.
- Backstreet Boys, Millenium
- Dixie Chicks, Fly
- Diana Krall, When I Look Into Your Eyes
- Santana, Supernatural
- TLC, Fan Mail
Lord knows, Grammy loves a good comeback. The mega-selling Santana set swept the 2000 Grammys, leaving the rest of these albums – all four of which were excellent in their own right – in the dust.
- Sheryl Crow, The Globe Sessions
- Garbage, Version 2.0
- Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
- Madonna, Ray of Light
- Shania Twain, Come On Over
1999 was the year where the Grammys realized that current popular music was completely dominated by intelligent and boundary-destroying women. In this category, five different female artists (four solo and one band leader) who wrote their own material were cited for outstanding albums for their respective genres of rock, alternative, hip-hop, dance and country music. Sure, Britney Spears and Ashlee Simpson were waiting in the wings to destroy the progress these women had worked hard for, but in 1999, the future looked bright.
- Whitney Houston, Whitney
- Michael Jackson, Bad
- Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris, Trio
- Prince, Sign O’ The Times
- U2, The Joshua Tree
While Emmylou Harris would participate in the album that defeated U2 for this award fourteen years later, her landmark collaboration with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt was passed over for the Irish supergroup’s breakthrough smash.
- Doobie Brothers, Minute By Minute
- Billy Joel, 52nd Street
- Kenny Rogers, The Gambler
- Donna Summer, Bad Girls
- Supertramp, Breakfast in America
In recent years, Grammy has smiled only on the country women in this category. Kenny Rogers was the last male country star to garner a nom for Album of the Year until Vince Gill scored a nom in 2008.
- Roberta Flack, Killing Me Softly
- Bette Midler, The Divine Miss M
- Charlie Rich, Behind Closed Doors
- Paul Simon, There Goes Rhymin’ Simon
- Stevie Wonder, Innervisions
Charlie Rich is the only country artist to lose to Stevie Wonder during his record-breaking run of domination in this category. He won the trophy in 1974, 1975 and 1977.
- 5th Dimension, Age of Aquarius
- The Beatles, Abbey Road
- Blood, Sweat & Tears, Blood, Sweat & Tears
- Johnny Cash, At San Quentin
- Crosby, Stills & Nash, Crosby, Stills & Nash
While it was widely considered the inferior to its predecessor, At Folsom Prison, Cash received his only Album of the Year nomination for his second prison album, At San Quentin, which was pretty darn good in its own right.
- The Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour
- Glen Campbell, By the Time I Get to Phoenix
- Jose Feliciano, Feliciano!
- Richard Harris, A Tramp Shining
- Simon & Garfunkel, Bookends
Only two country albums have won this award, and Campbell has the distinction of being the only artist to win, with the other victory being the multi-artist O Brother soundtrack. He also pulled off the rare feat of being nominated for Record of the Year for a single from a different album, as “Wichita Lineman” lost that race the same evening.
- Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, Whipped Cream & Other Delights
- Eddy Arnold, My World
- The Beatles, Help!
- Frank Sinatra, September of My Years
- Soundtrack, The Sound of Music
- Barbra Streisand, My Name is Barbra
Eddy Arnold was the first artist to win CMA Entertainer of the Year, and also the first actual country artist to receive a nod from NARAS for Album of the Year, though Ray Charles had been nominated in 1963 for his landmark Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music.