When Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon gave his now-infamous, "I'll take your award but I won't like it" speech last night, it wasn't the first time a Grammy recipient went all Sacheen Littlefeather at the podium, though none have managed Vernon's particular combination of fumbling Midwestern politeness and hipster disdain.
Most artists who feel conflicted about the Grammys don't show up at all, though some make more of a public point of this than others. In the spirit of Vernon's semi-rejection, we've rounded up five more surly, super awkward instances of Grammy rejection, both on and off the stage.
This was at the height of the band’s mid-'90s, We Are Conflicted About Fame period. Eddie Vedder famously says, "I don't think this means anything," before accepting the award anyway, saying his father would have liked it.
Sinead O'Connor, 1991
O'Connor won several awards, including Record of the Year in 1991, but boycotted the ceremony because of concerns about "commercialization." This was a big deal, back in the day: No artist before or since has made such an explicit point of not showing up for her win.
Jay-Z and Kanye West, multiple years
Neither rapper showed up last night to accept their award for Best Rap Performance, and both men have frequently snubbed the Grammy ceremonies. Jay-Z has long taken issue with their treatment of hip-hop artists, who used to be relegated mostly to off-camera awards. "That's like inviting me over for dinner and asking me to eat in the basement," he once complained. West, who also won several awards of his own last night, may have been unhappy with the lack of major nominations for "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy."
Trent Reznor, multiple years
Reznor, who won several Grammys with Nine Inch Nails, recently told the Hollywood Reporter, "Why don't the Grammys matter? Because it feels rigged and cheap — like a popularity contest that the insiders club has decided." He hasn't been nominated since, though this may be a coincidence.
Nominated for Best Americana Album in 2010, the band didn’t attend the ceremony. "Every time we go we never win and when we don't go, we win, so that's our strategy. We're sticking with it,” Jeff Tweedy told Radar.com. They later lost to Levon Helm.