Ian Anderson recalled how Alice Cooper made it seem like the 1989 Grammys upset was the Jethro Tull leader’s fault.

In one of the most notorious incidents in rock awards history, Tull’s 1987 album Crest of a Knave was named Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance, when almost everyone expected Metallica to win for … And Justice For All. Cooper, who presented the Grammy, has told how he also thought there had been a mistake when his envelope revealed Tull as the winner.

“I think people were just so shocked and surprised,” Anderson told Planet Rock in a recent interview. “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.”

He recalled that he "subsequently meet Alice Cooper, who was the guy who was pushed on to accept on our behalf the Grammy that we shouldn’t have won. 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!”

In 2019, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich marked the 30th anniversary of the incident, recalling it as “quite a mindfuck.”

“First time we were in front of a mainstream TV audience," he explained. "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. … 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.”


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