Songs that Won Grammy Award for “Song of the Year”

Presented every year since the first Grammy Awards in 1959, the Grammy Award for Song of the Year remains one of the most esteemed honors presented to artists at the Grammys. This award is given to honor the artistic and technical excellence of songwriters around the world, without regard to sales and chart position of songs.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Billie Eilish's Bad Guy at

Thus, the award goes only to the songwriter(s) who composed the entire lyrics and melodies of the awarded song.

What it takes for a song to win the “Song of the Year” Award at the GRAMMYs

In order for a songwriter to win this award, the song has to go through some processes set by the organizers, the Recording Academy of United States.

Firstly, the song must contain both melody and lyrics and can be either a single on an album, a normal single, an old song, or a new song all of which should have gained recognition worldwide in an eligible year for the Grammy awards.

Songs containing prominent samples from other songs are not eligible mainly because of piracy and patent laws. Members of the Recording Academy nominate their own choices of songs to be put in the category of Grammy song of the year.

The list of songs chosen is sorted and twenty songs are selected as the top twenty songs of the year. These twenty songs are given to the Nominations Review Committee (anonymous members of the Recording Academy), who then through a special ballot, select five songs that officially gain a nomination in the category.

The other members then vote for the winner from the five songs and the song with the majority votes wins the award.


In 2019, the Recording Academy made reforms and increased the number of songs to be nominated in the category to eight. Thus, the Nominations Review Committee now nominates eight songs for the Grammy song of the year category.

Interesting Facts about the “Song of the Year” Award

Domenico Modugno, an Italian singer, and songwriter was the first to receive this award with his song, “Nel blu, dipinto di blu (Volare)”, in 1959.

Many songwriters have won this award after him, but no songwriter in history has won it more than twice.

Songwriters, who have won it two times, include Henry Mancini, Johnny Mercer, James Horner, Will Jennings, U2 and Adele.

However, no songwriter has won the award two times consecutively in the history of the award.

Adele is the only female songwriter to win this award twice. She did it with her hit songs “Rolling in the Deep” released in 2010 and “Hello” released in 2015.

Men for more than decade dominated the category, until in 1972 Carole King Klein with her hit song; “You’ve Got a Friend” won the award, becoming the first female songwriter to win this prestigious award.

Taylor Swift is currently the most nominated female songwriter in this particular award’s history. She has been nominated five times. 

Songs that have received the “Song of the Year” Award at the Grammys

Domenico Modugno’s “Nel blu, dipinto di blu (Volare)” in 1959

"Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)"
“Nel blu, dipinto di blu (Volare)” from “La Strada Dei Successi”

Johnny Horton’s “The Battle of New Orleans” in 1960

"The Battle of New Orleans"
“The Battle of New Orleans” from The Battle of New Orleans

Ernest Gold’s “Theme of Exodus” in 1961

"Theme of Exodus"
“Theme of Exodus” from “Exodus”

Henry Mancini’s “Moon River” in 1962

"Moon River"
“Moon River” from “Ultimate Mancini”

Sammy Davis Jr.’s “What Kind of Fool Am I?” in 1963

"What Kind of Fool Am I?"
“What Kind of Fool Am I?” from “What Kind of Fool Am I – and Other Show-Stoppers”

Henry Mancini’s “Days of Wine and Roses” in 1964

"Days of Wine and Roses"
“Days of Wine and Roses” from “Ultimate Mancini”

Louis Armstrong’s “Hello, Dolly!” in 1965

"Hello, Dolly!"
“Hello, Dolly!” from “Hello, Dolly!”

Tony Bennett’s “The Shadow of Your Smile” in 1966

"The Shadow of Your Smile"
“The Shadow of Your Smile” from “The Movie Song Album”

The Beatles’ “Michelle” in 1967

“Michelle” from “Rubber Soul (UK)”

The 5th Dimension’s “Up, Up, and Away” in 1968

"Up, Up, and Away"
“Up, Up, and Away” from “Up, Up, and Away”

O. C. Smith’s “Little Green Apples” in 1969

"Little Green Apples"
“Little Green Apples” from “Hickory Holler Revisited”

Joe South’s “Games People Play” in 1970

"Games People Play"
“Games People Play” from “Introspect”

Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge over Troubled Water” in 1971

"Bridge over Troubled Water"
“Bridge over Troubled Water” from “Bridge over Troubled Water”

Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend” in 1972

You’ve Got a Friend

Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” in 1973

"The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"
“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” from “First Take”

Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly with His Song” in 1974

"Killing Me Softly with His Song"
“Killing Me Softly with His Song” from “Killing Me Softly”

Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were” in 1975

"The Way We Were"
“The Way We Were” from “The Way We Were”

Judy Collins’ “Send in the Clowns” in 1976

"Send in the Clowns"
“Send in the Clowns” from “Judith”

Barry Manilow’s “I Write the Songs” in 1977

"I Write the Songs"
“I Write the Songs” from “Tryin’ to Get the Feeling”

Barbra Streisand’s “Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)” in 1978

"Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)"
“Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)” from “A Star Is Born”

Debby Boone’s “You Light Up My Life” in 1978

"You Light Up My Life"
“You Light Up My Life” from “You Light Up My Life”

Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are” in 1979

"Just the Way You Are"
“Just the Way You Are” from “The Stranger”

The Doobie Brothers’ “What a Fool Believes” in 1980

"What a Fool Believes"
“What a Fool Believes” from “Minute by Minute”

Christopher Cross’ “Sailing” in 1981

“Sailing” from “Christopher Cross”

Kim Carnes’ “Bette Davis Eyes” in 1982

"Bette Davis Eyes"
“Bette Davis Eyes” from “Mistaken Identity”

Willie Nelson’s “Always on My Mind” in 1983

"Always on My Mind"
“Always on My Mind” from “Always on My Mind”

The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” in 1984

"Every Breath You Take"
“Every Breath You Take” from “Synchronicity”

Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do with It” in 1985

"What's Love Got to Do with It"
“What’s Love Got to Do with It” from “Private Dancer”

USA for Africa’s “We Are the World” in 1986

"We Are the World"
“We Are the World” from USA “We Are the World”

Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Stevie Wonder & Gladys Knight’s “That’s What Friends Are For” in 1987

"That's What Friends Are For"
“That’s What Friends Are For” from “Friends”

Linda Ronstadt & James Ingram’s “Somewhere Out There” in 1988

"Somewhere Out There"
“Somewhere Out There” from “An American Tail (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)”

Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” in 1989

"Don't Worry, Be Happy"
“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” from “Simple Pleasures”

Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” in 1990

"Wind Beneath My Wings"
“Wind Beneath My Wings” from “Beaches: Original Soundtrack Recording”

Bette Midler’s “From a Distance” in 1991

"From a Distance"
“From a Distance” from “Some People’s Lives”

Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable” in 1992

“Unforgettable” from “Unforgettable… with Love”

Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” in 1993

"Tears in Heaven"
“Tears in Heaven” from “Rush: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack”

Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle’s “A Whole New World” in 1994

"A Whole New World"
“A Whole New World” from “Aladdin: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”

Bruce Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia” in 1995

"Streets of Philadelphia"
“Streets of Philadelphia” from “Philadelphia Official Soundtrack”

Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose” in 1996

"Kiss from a Rose"
“Kiss from a Rose” from “Seal II”

Eric Clapton’s “Change the World” in 1997

"Change the World"
“Change the World” from “Phenomenon”

Shawn Colvin’s “Sunny Came Home” in 1998

"Sunny Came Home"
“Sunny Came Home” from “A Few Small Repairs”

Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” in 1999

"My Heart Will Go On"
“My Heart Will Go On” from “Let’s Talk About Love”

Santana and Rob Thomas’ “Smooth” in 2000

“Smooth” from “Supernatural”

U2’s “Beautiful Day” in 2001

"Beautiful Day"
“Beautiful Day” from “All That You Can’t Leave Behind”

Alicia Keys’ “Fallin'” in 2002

“Fallin'” from “Songs in A Minor”

Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why” in 2003

"Don't Know Why"
“Don’t Know Why” from “Come Away With Me”

Luther Vandross’ “Dance with My Father” in 2004

"Dance with My Father"
“Dance with My Father” from “Dance with My Father”

John Mayer’s “Daughters” in 2005

“Daughters” from “Heavier Things”

U2’s “Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own” in 2006

"Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own"
“Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own” from “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb”

Dixie Chicks’ “Not Ready to Make Nice” in 2007

"Not Ready to Make Nice"
“Not Ready to Make Nice” from “Taking the Long Way”

Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” in 2008

“Rehab” from “Back to Black”

Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” in 2009

"Viva la Vida"
“Viva la Vida” from “Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends”

Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” in 2010

"Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)"
“Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” from “I Am… Sasha Fierce”

Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” in 2011

"Need You Now"
“Need You Now” from “Need You Now”

Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” in 2012

"Rolling in the Deep"
“Rolling in the Deep” from “21”

Fun and Janelle Monáe’s “We Are Young” in 2013

"We Are Young"
“We Are Young” from “Some Nights”

Lorde’s “Royals” in 2014

“Royals” from “Pure Heroine”

Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me” in 2015

"Stay with Me"
“Stay with Me” from “In the Lonely Hour”

Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” in 2016

"Thinking Out Loud"
“Thinking Out Loud” from “× (Multiply)”

Adele’s “Hello” in 2017

“Hello” from “25”

Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like” in 2018

"That's What I Like"
“That’s What I Like” from ’24K Magic”

Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” in 2019

"This Is America"

Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” in 2020

"Bad Guy"
“Bad Guy” from “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”

H.E.R.’s “I Can’t Breathe” in 2021

"I Can't Breathe"

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