55 Years Ago: The Beatles Become First Rock Act to Win Album of the Year

No artist did more to legitimize rock music as a serious art form than the Beatles — and perhaps no accolade symbolized that shift more than the band's magnum opus, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the first rock LP to win Album of the Year at the 10th Annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 29, 1968.

The Fab Four had shown a staggering amount of growth since winning their first two Grammys — Best New Artist and Best Performance by a Vocal Group for "A Hard Day's Night" — in 1965. The Rubber Soul track "Michelle" earned them another trophy for Song of the Year in 1967. Still, the most coveted prize of the ceremony had eluded them so far, with Help! and Revolver losing back-to-back years to Frank Sinatra's September of My Years and A Man and His Music, respectively.

But even rock's staunchest opponents were no match for the paradigm-shifting Sgt. Pepper. The album captured the zeitgeist of the late-'60s counterculture and almost singlehandedly ushered in the Summer of Love upon its release in late May 1967.

It topped the charts on both sides of the pond and sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. It further cemented the LP as the predominant medium of music release and consumption.

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Photo: Getty Images North America

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