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11 Grammy recipients that prove you don’t need to carry a tune to win big.

Turns out, you don't have to be all that musical to snag a Grammy.

11 Grammy recipients that prove you don’t need to carry a tune to win big.

There are a few Grammy Award categories that have given hope to us non-musically inclined folks for decades...

...you know, the categories where you don't need a musical bone in your body to win — like Best Spoken Word Album. Because of these categories, a handful of notable winners have snatched up music's most coveted award throughout the years without having to sing a single note.

In honor of the 58th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 15, 2016, here are 11 people you may be surprised to learn have Grammys under their belts (plus one very surprising nominee).


1. Jimmy Carter (2007)

Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS.

That's right — he wasn't just our 39th president; the 91-year-old is a Grammy winner, too. Carter won the Spoken Word category in 2007 for his book "Our Endangered Values." And hey, look at that — he just won the same award this year for his most recent literary endeavor, "A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety." (He had some stiff competition in Amy Poehler but took the gold gramophone trophy home anyway. Sorry, Amy.)

You go, Mr. President.

2. Magic Johnson (1993)

Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images.

Johnson worked his magic at the Grammys in 1993, when he won Best Spoken Word or Nonmusical Album for "What Can You Do to Avoid AIDS." Johnson, who's HIV-positive, has long been an advocate on the issue, raising millions of dollars for research and prevention through his foundation.

What a class act on and off the hardwood.

3. Hillary Clinton (1997)

Photo by Jon Levy/AFP/Getty Images.

Years ago, when Hillary Clinton wasn't filling her days campaigning to be our next president, she won a Grammy. It was in 1997, for her book "It Takes a Village" in the category (yep, you guessed it) Best Spoken Word Album.

Get it, girl.

4. Elmo (1999, 2000, 2002)

Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images.

Elmo! I can think of no one (and that includes puppets) more deserving of a golden megaphone than everybody's favorite furry red friend. Get this: He's won a Grammy three times (in 1999, 2000, and 2002), all for Best Musical Album for Children. Ah, Sesame Street ... good times.

5. Martin Luther King Jr. (1971)

Photo by AFP/Getty Images.

Back in 1971, at the 13th annual Grammy Awards, the late Martin Luther King Jr. won Best Spoken Word Recording for his book "Why I Oppose the Vietnam War," about three years after he was assassinated.

Other awards the civil rights leader received? The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and the Nobel Peace Prize. (No wonder he's one of the most widely admired people of the 20th century.)

6. Bill Clinton (2004, 2008)

Photo by Mehdi Taamallah/AFP/Getty Images.

Hey, Carter isn't the only American president (or Clinton, for that matter) who's snagged a Grammy. Bill Clinton has won two. In 2004, he won Best Spoken Word Album for Children for narrating "Wolf Tracks and Peter and the Wolf" (something he has in common with numbers 7 and 8 on this list), as well as in 2008, when he won Best Spoken Word Album for his autobiography, "My Life."

7. Sophia Loren (2004)

Photo by AFP/Getty Images.

Famed Italian actor Sophia Loren may be known for her acting chops (she won an Academy Award in 1961 for her role in "Two Women"), but her speaking voice isn't too shabby, either. She shared a Grammy win with President Clinton for "Wolf Tracks and Peter and the Wolf," along with the next dude on this list who is none other than...

8. Mikhail Gorbachev (2004)

Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

Gorbachev is probably better known as the last leader of the Soviet Union (and also being the guy President Reagan told to tear down a wall). But hey, winning a Grammy is a pretty big deal, no matter where you land in the history books or what country you've overseen.

9. Jon Stewart (2005)

Photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

Jon Stewart is a lot of things: funny guy, champion for 9/11 first responders, animal sanctuary overseer, and Grammy winner, to name a few. He got that last title back in 2005, when "The Daily Show" won Best Comedy Album for "America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction." (I miss seeing your face on my TV every night, Jon.)

10. Barack Obama (2006, 2008)

Photo by Michael Sohn/AFP/Getty Images.

OK, maybe presidents winning a Grammy is more common than you'd think. Like Bill Clinton, Barack Obama has taken home two gramophones, both Best Spoken Word Albums, for "Dreams From My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope."

11. Zach Braff (2005)

Photo by Clayton Chase/Getty Images for LG Music Lodge.

Famed New Jerseyan Zach Braff is widely known for two things: being a scrub and directing, writing, and starring in 2004's "Garden State," for which he won a Grammy for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album. (Say what you want about the indie flick — its soundtrack made an impression on a lot of folks.)

So there you have it — 11 surprising Grammy winners.

Has your jaw dropped yet? No? Maybe this next one will do the trick...

The Chicago Bears — yes, as in the pro football team out of Illinois — were nominated for a Grammy for "Best Rhythm and Blues Performance by a Duo or Group" back in 1985 for recording "The Super Bowl Shuffle."

This is not a drill. (The poor fellas lost out to Prince ... so let's be honest, they never really stood a chance.)

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images.

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