Grammy Award for Song of the Year

The Grammy Award for Song of the Year is an honor presented at the Grammy Awards, a ceremony that was established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards.[1] The Song of the Year award is one of the four most prestigious categories at the awards (alongside Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Album of the Year) presented annually since the 1st Grammy Awards in 1959. According to the 54th Grammy Awards description guide, the award is presented:

Grammy Award for Song of the Year
Awarded forQuality song containing both lyrics and melody
CountryUnited States
Presented byNational Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
First awarded1959
Currently held byBillie Eilish O'Connell & Finneas O'Connell - "Bad Guy" (2020)
Websitegrammy.com

to honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position.[2]

If a winning song contains samples or interpolations of existing material, the publisher and songwriter(s) of the original song(s) can apply for a Winners Certificate[3].


Song of the Year is related to but is conceptually different from Record of the Year or Album of the Year:

  • Song of the Year is awarded for a single or for one track from an album. This award goes to the songwriter who actually wrote the lyrics and/or melodies to the song. "Song" in this context means the song as composed, not its recording.
  • Record of the Year is also awarded for a single or individual track, but the recipient of this award is the performing artist, the producer, recording engineer and/or mixer for that song. In this sense, "record" means a particular recorded song, not its composition or an album of songs.
  • Album of the Year is awarded for a whole album, and the award is presented to the artist, songwriter, producer, recording engineer, and mastering engineer for that album. In this context, "album" means a recorded collection of songs (a multi-track LP, CD, or download package), not the individual songs or their compositions.

History and descriptionEdit

The Song of the Year awards have been awarded since 1959.[4] It is one of the four most prestigious Grammy Awards. Despite both the Record of the Year award and Song of the Year being awarded for a single or for one track from an album, this award goes only to the composer(s) of the song whereas the Record of the Year award goes to the performer and production team of the song. According to the 54th Grammy Awards description guide, the award is given to the songwriter(s) of a song that "must contain melody and lyrics and must be either a new song or a song first achieving prominence during the eligibility year. Songs containing prominent samples or interpolations are not eligible".[5]

Since the late 1960s other songwriter's awards have been presented for genre-specific categories including Grammy Award for Best Country Song (since 1965), Grammy Award for Best R&B Song (since 1969), Grammy Award for Best Song Written for Visual Media (since 1988), Grammy Award for Best Rock Song (since 1992), and most recently Grammy Award for Best Rap Song (since 2004), Grammy Award for Best Gospel Song (from 2006 to 2014), Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Song (from 2012 to 2014), Grammy Award for Best American Roots Song (since 2014), Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance/Song (since 2015), and Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song (since 2015).

Thirty-one of the winning songs have also won the award for Record of the Year.

The category was expanded to include eight nominees in 2019.[6]

AchievementsEdit

In many cases, the songwriters were also the performers. (Domenico Modugno, Henry Mancini, John Lennon & Paul McCartney, Joe South, Paul Simon, Carole King, Barbra Streisand, Billy Joel, Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross, Sting, Michael Jackson & Lionel Richie, Bobby McFerrin, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Seal, Shawn Colvin, Rob Thomas, U2, Alicia Keys, Luther Vandross, John Mayer, Dixie Chicks, Amy Winehouse, Coldplay, Beyoncé, Lady Antebellum, Adele, Fun, Lorde, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Childish Gambino and Billie Eilish.)

Multiple winners in this category include Henry Mancini ("Moon River" and "Days of Wine and Roses"), Johnny Mercer ("Moon River" and "Days of Wine and Roses"), James Horner ("Somewhere Out There" and "My Heart Will Go On"), Will Jennings ("Tears in Heaven" and "My Heart Will Go On"), U2 ("Beautiful Day" and "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own"), and Adele ("Rolling in the Deep" and "Hello"), winning two times each.[7] However, songs written for Andy Williams, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, and Roberta Flack have received this award twice.

Paul McCartney and Lionel Richie have the most Song of the Year nominations amongst songwriters with six each. Both won once, McCartney for "Michelle" and Richie for "We Are the World".[8] With four nominations, Marilyn Bergman and Taylor Swift are the most nominated female songwriters in the history of the award. Bergman won for "The Way We Were".[9]

The first woman to win the award was Carole King in 1972, for "You've Got a Friend". Adele was the first female songwriter to win the award twice, winning for "Rolling in the Deep" and "Hello".[10]

Lorde is the youngest songwriter to win in the category, winning for "Royals" in 2014 at the age of 17.

Christopher Cross and Billie Eilish are the only artists to receive the Grammys for Song of the Year as well as Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best New Artist in a single ceremony. Adele is the first artist to receive the award for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Best New Artist, and Album of the Year, nonconsecutively, and first woman to accomplish this feat. Only six artists have won the Song of the Year and Best New Artist awards the same year: Christopher Cross ("Sailing", 1981), Alicia Keys ("Fallin'", 2002), Amy Winehouse ("Rehab", 2008), Fun ("We Are Young", 2013), Sam Smith ("Stay with Me", 2015) and Billie Eilish ("Bad Guy", 2020); Marvin Hamlisch is only composer to win the Song of the Year and Best New Artist awards the same year in 1975 for "The Way We Were".

The song "Nel blu, dipinto di blu (Volare)", winner in 1959, written by Domenico Modugno and performed in Italian, is the only foreign-language song to win this award,[11] although the 1967 winner "Michelle" penned by Lennon–McCartney for The Beatles to perform, has a critical part of its lyrics in French.[12]

The first and only tie in this category in Grammy history took place in 1978, when both Barbra Streisand's & Paul Williams' "Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)" and Joe Brooks' "You Light Up My Life" win the award.[13]

The Ernest Gold's song "Theme of Exodus", which won in 1961, is the only instrumental song to ever receive this award.[14]

The first time in Grammy history that two different songs with the same title have been nominated in this category happened with "Hello" written by Lionel Richie in 1985 and "Hello" by Adele & Greg Kurstin in 2017.[15]

Since creation of this category, no songwriter has won Song of the Year twice in a row.

ProcessEdit

Members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences nominate their choices for song of the year. A list of the top twenty records is given to the Nominations Review Committee, a specially selected group of anonymous members, who then select the top eight records to gain a nomination in the category in a special ballot.[16] The rest of the members then vote a winner from the five nominees.[17] In 2018, it was announced the number of nominated tracks will be increased to eight [18]

RecipientsEdit

An asterisk (*) indicates this recording also won Record of the Year.
Year[I] Winner(s) Nationality Work Performing artist(s)[II] Nominees Ref.
1959 Domenico Modugno   Italy "Nel blu, dipinto di blu (Volare)" * Domenico Modugno
[19]
1960 Jimmy Driftwood   United States "The Battle of New Orleans" Johnny Horton
[20]
1961 Ernest Gold   United States
  Austria
"Theme of Exodus" Instrumental
(Various Artists)
[21]
1962 Henry Mancini
Johnny Mercer
  United States "Moon River" * Henry Mancini [22]
1963 Leslie Bricusse
Anthony Newley
  United Kingdom "What Kind of Fool Am I?" Sammy Davis Jr. [23]
1964 Henry Mancini
Johnny Mercer
  United States "Days of Wine and Roses" * Henry Mancini
[24]
1965 Jerry Herman   United States "Hello, Dolly!" Louis Armstrong [25]
1966 Paul Francis Webster
Johnny Mandel
  United States "The Shadow of Your Smile" Tony Bennett [26]
1967 John Lennon
Paul McCartney
  United Kingdom "Michelle" The Beatles [27]
1968 Jimmy Webb   United States "Up, Up, and Away" * The 5th Dimension [28]
1969 Bobby Russell   United States "Little Green Apples" O. C. Smith [29]
1970 Joe South   United States "Games People Play" Joe South [30]
1971 Paul Simon   United States "Bridge over Troubled Water" * Simon & Garfunkel [31]
1972 Carole King   United States "You've Got a Friend" James Taylor & Carole King [32]
1973 Ewan MacColl   United Kingdom "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" * Roberta Flack [33]
1974 Norman Gimbel
Charles Fox
  United States "Killing Me Softly with His Song" * Roberta Flack [34]
1975 Alan and Marilyn Bergman
Marvin Hamlisch
  United States "The Way We Were" Barbra Streisand [35]
1976 Stephen Sondheim   United States "Send in the Clowns" Judy Collins [36]
1977 Bruce Johnston   United States "I Write the Songs" Barry Manilow [37]
1978 Barbra Streisand
Paul Williams
  United States "Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)" Barbra Streisand [38]
Joe Brooks "You Light Up My Life" Debby Boone
1979 Billy Joel   United States "Just the Way You Are" * Billy Joel [39]
1980 Kenny Loggins
Michael McDonald
  United States "What a Fool Believes" * The Doobie Brothers [40]
1981 Christopher Cross   United States "Sailing" * Christopher Cross [41]
1982 Donna Weiss
Jackie DeShannon
  United States "Bette Davis Eyes" * Kim Carnes [42]
1983 Johnny Christopher
Mark James
Wayne Carson
  United States "Always on My Mind" Willie Nelson [43]
1984 Sting   United Kingdom "Every Breath You Take" The Police [44]
1985 Graham Lyle
Terry Britten
  United Kingdom
  Australia
"What's Love Got to Do with It" * Tina Turner [45]
1986 Michael Jackson
Lionel Richie
  United States "We Are the World" * USA for Africa [46]
1987 Burt Bacharach
Carole Bayer Sager
  United States "That's What Friends Are For" Dionne Warwick & Friends (Elton John, Gladys Knight & Stevie Wonder) [47]
1988 James Horner
Barry Mann
Cynthia Weil
  United States "Somewhere Out There" Linda Ronstadt & James Ingram [48]
1989 Bobby McFerrin   United States "Don't Worry, Be Happy" * Bobby McFerrin [49]
1990 Larry Henley
Jeff Silbar
  United States "Wind Beneath My Wings" * Bette Midler [50]
1991 Julie Gold   United States "From a Distance" Bette Midler [51]
1992 Irving Gordon   United States "Unforgettable" * Natalie Cole with Nat King Cole [52]
1993 Eric Clapton
Will Jennings
  United Kingdom
  United States
"Tears in Heaven" * Eric Clapton [53]
1994 Alan Menken
Tim Rice
  United States
  United Kingdom
"A Whole New World" Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle [54]
1995 Bruce Springsteen   United States "Streets of Philadelphia" Bruce Springsteen [55]
1996 Seal   United Kingdom "Kiss from a Rose" * Seal [56]
1997 Gordon Kennedy
Wayne Kirkpatrick
Tommy Sims
  United States "Change the World" * Eric Clapton [57]
1998 Shawn Colvin
John Leventhal
  United States "Sunny Came Home" * Shawn Colvin [58]
1999 James Horner
Will Jennings
  United States "My Heart Will Go On" * Celine Dion [59]
2000 Itaal Shur
Rob Thomas
  United States "Smooth" * Santana featuring Rob Thomas [60]
2001 Adam Clayton
David Evans
Larry Mullen Jr.
Paul Hewson
  Ireland "Beautiful Day" * U2 [61]
2002 Alicia Keys   United States "Fallin'" Alicia Keys
[62]
2003 Jesse Harris   United States "Don't Know Why" * Norah Jones [63]
2004 Richard Marx
Luther Vandross
  United States "Dance with My Father" Luther Vandross
[64]
2005 John Mayer   United States "Daughters" John Mayer [65]
2006 Adam Clayton
David Evans
Larry Mullen Jr.
Paul Hewson
  Ireland "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own" U2 [66]
2007 Emily Robison
Martie Maguire
Natalie Maines
Dan Wilson
  United States "Not Ready to Make Nice" * Dixie Chicks [67]
2008 Amy Winehouse   United Kingdom "Rehab" * Amy Winehouse [68]
2009 Guy Berryman
Jonny Buckland
Will Champion
Chris Martin
  United Kingdom "Viva la Vida" Coldplay
[69]
2010 Thaddis Harrell
Beyoncé Knowles
Terius Nash
Christopher Stewart
  United States "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" Beyoncé [70]
2011 Dave Haywood
Josh Kear
Charles Kelley
Hillary Scott
  United States "Need You Now" * Lady Antebellum [71]
2012 Adele Adkins
Paul Epworth
  United Kingdom "Rolling in the Deep" * Adele [72]
2013 Nate Ruess
Jack Antonoff
Jeff Bhasker
Andrew Dost
  United States "We Are Young" Fun featuring Janelle Monáe [73]
2014 Joel Little
Ella Yelich-O'Connor
  New Zealand "Royals" Lorde [74]
2015 James Napier
William Phillips
Sam Smith
  United Kingdom "Stay with Me" (Darkchild version) * Sam Smith [75]
2016 Ed Sheeran
Amy Wadge
  United Kingdom "Thinking Out Loud" Ed Sheeran [76]
2017 Adele Adkins
Greg Kurstin
  United Kingdom
  United States
"Hello" * Adele
[77]
2018 Christopher Brody Brown
James Fauntleroy
Philip Lawrence
Bruno Mars
Ray Charles McCullough II
Jeremy Reeves
Ray Romulus
Jonathan Yip
  United States "That's What I Like" Bruno Mars [78]
2019 Donald Glover
Ludwig Göransson
Jeffery Lamar Williams
  United States
  Sweden
"This Is America" * Childish Gambino
[79][80]
2020 Billie Eilish O'Connell & Finneas O'Connell   United States "Bad Guy" * Billie Eilish
[81]
  • ^[I] Each year is linked to the article about the Grammy Awards held that year.
  • ^[II] The performing artist is only listed but does not receive the award.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

General
  • "Past Winners Search". National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Retrieved March 4, 2011. Note: User must select the "General" category as the genre under the search feature.
  • "Grammy Awards: Album of the Year". Rock on the Net. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
Specific
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  6. ^ Recording Academy Announces 61st GRAMMY Awards Update
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External linksEdit