Jethro Tull’s Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance win over Metallica in 1989 remains one of the most notorious miscues in Grammys history.

The English prog-rock group has always been known for their heavy use of flutes – not exactly the most “metal” of instruments. Indeed, no one expected Jethro Tull to take home the award, and the band wasn’t even in attendance for their unlikely win.

“The record company didn't think we'd get it. And they said that we stood no chance,” Martin Barre, Jethro Tull’s former guitarist, explained to VPR Rocks in a recent interview. “And they said, 'Don't go.'”

READ MORE: Top 10 Jethro Tull Songs

Jethro Tull’s album Crest of a Knave ended up beating out Metallica’s ...And Justice for All, Jane's Addiction’s Nothing's Shocking, Iggy Pop’s “Cold Metal” single and AC/DC’s Blow Up Your Video.

'I Wanted to Be There'

In hindsight, Barre expressed regret for not having been at the awards ceremony, even if his band’s victory proved controversial.

“I really wanted to go. Even as a loser, I wanted to be there,” the guitarist admitted. “So I have to say it was [the record label’s] mistake and their lack of confidence in the band. But, yeah, what a shame, because at the biggest moment possibly ever in my career and maybe Ian's [Anderson] and the others', it was lost forever and it didn't come across well that we weren't there. It just looked really bad."

Barre, who was part of Jethro Tull’s lineup from 1968 to 2012, further expressed pride in his band’s metal victory, even if it proved to be the only Grammy of their career.

“I'm proud of it, and it's a big, big deal,” the rocker declared. “It's a big deal for me because essentially it was me, Ian, and Dave Pegg that wrote, arranged and recorded that album. So I feel a big, big part of it. And yeah, dare I say I deserve it. I don't have a problem with it. Because to me it doesn't just represent one album; it represents years and years of a band putting something into the system. And I think that year, whoever it was, recognized that we needed a little bit of a nod. And it was a good album to choose."

Jethro Tull Albums Ranked

Few bands have evolved in such a distinct way.

Gallery Credit: Ryan Reed

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