On February 19, 1974 Dick Clark did his best to steal the thunder away from the Grammy Awards by airng the first American Music Awards two weeks earlier. Winners were decided by surveying 200,000 Americans in three areas of music: pop, soul and country. Each area had five categories. It was a bland affair hosted by Helen Reddy, Smokey Robinson and Roger Miller. The highlight was having Donny Osmond and Michael Jackson hand out awards with the tot sized Rodney Allen Rippy and Ricky Seagall:
The winners were all the usual suspects. The late Jim Croce beat Elton John and Stevie Wonder in Favorite Male Pop Artist. "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" won best pop song. The Carpenters won best group. You get the idea.
Stevie Wonder won Best Soul Song with "Superstition" and Favorite Male Artist.
Wonder. who had recovered from a near deadly car accident the year before, received a standing ovation and thanked "my Supreme Being for letting me be here. 'Cause it didn't have to be that way."