The JUNO Awards is Canada’s premier music celebration. What once was a single evening awards show is now a week packed with events for artists, fans and industry types alike. JUNO Week 2016 takes place from March 28 to April 3 in Calgary, Alberta. Here, TD Music takes a trip through time to introduce you to some lesser-known JUNO facts.
Fact #1: The JUNO Awards were first held in 1970, although back then, they were called the RPM Gold Leaf Awards, named after RPM Magazine. The name officially changed to the JUNO Awards one year later, named after Pierre Juneau, the first chairman of the CRTC and strong advocate for Canadian content regulations.
Fact #2: 250 people showed up for the JUNO Awards in 1971. Today, more than two million viewers tune in annually, with over 157 Million having watched The JUNO Awards Broadcasts over time.
Fact #3: The statuettes that are given to winners have gone through a number of transformations. At first, they were made of wood and in the shape of a metronome. In 1975, the year that the JUNO Awards were first broadcast on television, the awards grew taller and were changed to acrylic. In 2000, the statuettes took on a human form and were crafted of hand-blown glass. Five years ago, they became the crystal towers we see glimmering on today’s broadcasts.
Fact #4: The length of JUNO eligibility for an album is 14 months, which means some releases can be entered in two different years, if not previously nominated.
Fact #5: There were 12 award categories in 1970. There are now 41, representing a wide range of sounds. Some of the notable additions include Video (1984); R&B/Soul Recording (1985); Rap Recording (1991); Aboriginal Album (1994); Pop Album and Rock Album (the Best Album of the Year category was expanded to the two in 1999); JUNO Fan Choice Award (2003); Electronic Album (2011) and Metal/Hard Music Album (2012) and Adult Contemporary (2013).
Fact #6: During the opening segment of the 1983 JUNO Awards Broadcast, the hosts held up a compact disc and explained that it was going to be the future. Host and musician Burton Cummings had never seen or touched one before that night.
Fact #7: In 1990, Maestro-Fresh Wes was the first hip-hop artist to perform during The JUNO Awards. His debut album, Symphony in Effect, won the very first JUNO for Rap Recording of the Year in 1991.
Fact #8: Nine years later, Rascalz represented with Kardinal Offishall, Checkmate, Thrust and Choclair as the crew performed their Canadian hip-hop anthem “Northern Touch.”
Fact #9: The JUNOS were held outside of Toronto for the very first time in 1991 in Vancouver, BC. The JUNOS have since crisscrossed the country. This year’s 45th annual JUNO Awards will be held in Calgary, which previously played host in 2008.
Fact #10: Though it’s often assumed that JUNO Awards are won based on sales figures, 32 of the 41 categories are decided on merit alone, voted on by either expert judges or CARAS Academy Delegates. Nine awards have a sales component, but only two of those (International Album of the Year, Album of the Year) are purely consumption based.
Fact #11: The JUNO Cup, which pits musicians against former pro hockey players in a charity game, was founded by Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy in 2004. Since its launch, more than $850,000 has been raised in support of MusiCounts, Canada’s music education charity associated with CARAS.
Fact #12: Hip-hop artist and JUNO Award winner Classified met Jim Cuddy while playing in JUNO Cup. They later collaborated on the track “The Hangover,” also featuring Kayo.
Fact #13: The JUNO Fan Choice Award category debuted in 2003, with a list of five nominees (Shania Twain won). In 2012, the list expanded to include 10 artists or groups. JUNO Fan Choice is the only award that is voted on by music fans and TD is proud to have sponsored it since 2013. New in 2016: fans can vote as many times as you’d like, including through the use of custom Twitter hashtags.
Fact #14: Justin Bieber’s loyal fans made it possible for the young artist to take home the JUNO Fan Choice statuette more than any other act to date. They voted for Biebs to win four years in a row, from 2011 to 2014.
Fact #15: There were back-to-back years when a single female artist won all five categories in which she was nominated. Nelly Furtado achieved this feat in 2007 (including a win of that year’s JUNO Fan Choice Award), while Feist repeated the sweep in 2008.
Fact #16: The JUNO Awards are hosted by a different musician, actor or comedian annually (with a few repeat visits over the years). The brothers in The Moffatts were the youngest group to host, in 2000, while rapper Drake is the youngest person to have had the honour, at age 24, in 2011. The forever-young William Shatner is the eldest to have hosted, which he did the following year.
Fact #17: 2012 was a banner year for dance and electronic music at the JUNOS as the broadcast included performances by deadmau5 featuring LIGHTS and MC Flipside, Dragonette, and Anjulie.
Fact #18: In 2014, A Tribe Called Red was the first indigenous band or group to win a JUNO outside of the Aboriginal music category. They won Breakthrough Group of the Year.
Fact #19: The 2014 JUNO Awards was the first event in Canada to use the Vine360 booth.
Fact #20: In 2015, 13-time JUNO Award winner Alanis Morissette became the eighth woman to be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame since its debut in 1978. Alanis was inducted in Hamilton, the same city where she won 5 JUNOS for Jagged Little Pill in 1996.