The origin of the academy dates back to the beginning of the 1950s Hollywood Walk of Fame project. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce asked the help of major recording industry executives in compiling a list of people in the music business who should be honored by Walk of Fame stars. The music committee, made up of these executives, compiled a list, but as they worked, they realized there were many more talented industry people who would not qualify to be recognized with a Hollywood Boulevard bronze star.
The founding committee members included Jesse Kaye, MGM Records; Lloyd Dunn and Richard Jones, Capitol Records; Sonny Burke and Milt Gabler, Decca Records; Dennis Farnon, RCA Records; and Axel Stordahl, Paul Weston, and Doris Day from Columbia Records. This was the start of the academy and also of the Grammy Awards.
The Recording Academy was formally established in 1957.
The 1st Annual Grammy Awards was held simultaneously in two locations on May 4, 1959 - Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills California, and Park Sheraton Hotel in New York City, and 28 Grammys were awarded. The number of awards given grew and fluctuated over the years with categories added and removed, at one time reaching over 100. The second Grammy Awards, also held in 1959, was the first ceremony to be televised, but the ceremony was not aired live until the 13th Annual Grammy Awards in 1971.
In 1997, the Recording Academy under Michael Greene launched The Latin Recording Academy, which produces the Latin Grammy Awards. Neil Portnow later served as president and CEO of the academy from 2002 to 2019. Deborah Dugan is the current President and CEO of the Recording Academy. She took office on August 1, 2019  and is the first woman to lead the organization.