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.
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
Johnny Horton’s “The Battle of New Orleans” in 1960
Ernest Gold’s “Theme of Exodus” in 1961
Henry Mancini’s “Moon River” in 1962
Sammy Davis Jr.’s “What Kind of Fool Am I?” in 1963
Henry Mancini’s “Days of Wine and Roses” in 1964
Louis Armstrong’s “Hello, Dolly!” in 1965
Tony Bennett’s “The Shadow of Your Smile” in 1966
The Beatles’ “Michelle” in 1967
The 5th Dimension’s “Up, Up, and Away” in 1968
O. C. Smith’s “Little Green Apples” in 1969
Joe South’s “Games People Play” in 1970
Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” in 1973
Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly with His Song” in 1974
Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were” in 1975
Judy Collins’ “Send in the Clowns” in 1976
Barry Manilow’s “I Write the Songs” in 1977
Barbra Streisand’s “Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)” in 1978
Debby Boone’s “You Light Up My Life” in 1978
Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are” in 1979
Willie Nelson’s “Always on My Mind” in 1983
Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Stevie Wonder & Gladys Knight’s “That’s What Friends Are For” in 1987
Linda Ronstadt & James Ingram’s “Somewhere Out There” in 1988
Bette Midler’s “From a Distance” in 1991
Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable” in 1992
Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle’s “A Whole New World” in 1994
U2’s “Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own” in 2006
Lorde’s “Royals” in 2014
Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like” in 2018