|Grammy Award for Song of the Year|
|Awarded for||Quality song containing both lyrics and melody|
|Presented by||National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences|
|Currently held by||Dernst Emile II, H.E.R. & Tiara Thomas - "I Can't Breathe" (2021)|
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. 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:
to honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position.
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.
Song of the Year is related to but is conceptually different from Record of the Year or Album of the Year:
The Song of the Year awards have been awarded since 1959. 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".
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).
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, Billie Eilish, and H.E.R.).
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. However, songs written for Andy Williams, Roberta Flack, Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler 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". With five nominations, Taylor Swift is the most nominated female songwriter in the history of the award, although she has not won it yet.
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".
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 was the first artist to win the award for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best New Artist from separate occasions, 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 (Darkchild Version)", 2015) and Billie Eilish ("Bad Guy", 2020); Marvin Hamlisch is the 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, although the 1967 winner "Michelle" penned by Lennon-McCartney for The Beatles to perform, has a critical part of its lyrics in French.
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.
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.
Since creation of this category, no songwriter has won Song of the Year twice in a row.
Thirty-two of the winning songs have also won the award for Record of the Year.
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. The rest of the members then vote a winner from the five nominees. In 2018, it was announced the number of nominated tracks will be increased to eight.
|1959||Domenico Modugno||Italy||"Nel blu, dipinto di blu (Volare)" *||Domenico Modugno|||
|1960||Jimmy Driftwood||United States||"The Battle of New Orleans"||Johnny Horton|||
|1961||Ernest Gold||United States
|"Theme of Exodus"||Instrumental
|United States||"Moon River" *||Henry Mancini|||
|United Kingdom||"What Kind of Fool Am I?"||Sammy Davis Jr.||
|United States||"Days of Wine and Roses" *||Henry Mancini||
|1965||Jerry Herman||United States||"Hello, Dolly!"||Louis Armstrong||
|1966||Paul Francis Webster
|United States||"The Shadow of Your Smile"||Tony Bennett||
|United Kingdom||"Michelle"||The Beatles||
|1968||Jimmy Webb||United States||"Up, Up, and Away" *||The 5th Dimension|||
|1969||Bobby Russell||United States||"Little Green Apples"||O. C. Smith|||
|1970||Joe South||United States||"Games People Play"||Joe South||
|1971||Paul Simon||United States||"Bridge over Troubled Water" *||Simon & Garfunkel|||
|1972||Carole King||United States||"You've Got a Friend"||James Taylor & Carole King||
|1973||Ewan MacColl||United Kingdom||"The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" *||Roberta Flack|||
|United States||"Killing Me Softly with His Song" *||Roberta Flack||
|1975||Alan and Marilyn Bergman
|United States||"The Way We Were"||Barbra Streisand||
|1976||Stephen Sondheim||United States||"Send in the Clowns"||Judy Collins|||
|1977||Bruce Johnston||United States||"I Write the Songs"||Barry Manilow||
|United States||"Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)"||Barbra Streisand||
|Joe Brooks||"You Light Up My Life"||Debby Boone|
|1979||Billy Joel||United States||"Just the Way You Are" *||Billy Joel||
|United States||"What a Fool Believes" *||The Doobie Brothers||
|1981||Christopher Cross||United States||"Sailing" *||Christopher Cross||
|United States||"Bette Davis Eyes" *||Kim Carnes||
|United States||"Always on My Mind"||Willie Nelson|||
|1984||Sting||United Kingdom||"Every Breath You Take"||The Police|||
|"What's Love Got to Do with It" *||Tina Turner|||
|United States||"We Are the World" *||USA for Africa|||
Carole Bayer Sager
|United States||"That's What Friends Are For"||Dionne Warwick & Friends (Elton John, Gladys Knight & Stevie Wonder)|||
|United States||"Somewhere Out There"||Linda Ronstadt & James Ingram||
|1989||Bobby McFerrin||United States||"Don't Worry, Be Happy" *||Bobby McFerrin||
|United States||"Wind Beneath My Wings" *||Bette Midler||
|1991||Julie Gold||United States||"From a Distance"||Bette Midler|||
|1992||Irving Gordon||United States||"Unforgettable" *||Natalie Cole (With Nat King Cole)||
|"Tears in Heaven" *||Eric Clapton||
|"A Whole New World"||Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle|||
|1995||Bruce Springsteen||United States||"Streets of Philadelphia"||Bruce Springsteen||
|1996||Seal||United Kingdom||"Kiss from a Rose" *||Seal||
|United States||"Change the World" *||Eric Clapton|||
|United States||"Sunny Came Home" *||Shawn Colvin|||
|United States||"My Heart Will Go On" *||Celine Dion|||
|United States||"Smooth" *||Santana featuring Rob Thomas||
Larry Mullen Jr.
|Ireland||"Beautiful Day" *||U2||
|2002||Alicia Keys||United States||"Fallin'"||Alicia Keys||
|2003||Jesse Harris||United States||"Don't Know Why" *||Norah Jones|||
|United States||"Dance with My Father"||Luther Vandross|||
|2005||John Mayer||United States||"Daughters"||John Mayer|||
Larry Mullen Jr.
|Ireland||"Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own"||U2||
|United States||"Not Ready to Make Nice" *||Dixie Chicks||
|2008||Amy Winehouse||United Kingdom||"Rehab" *||Amy Winehouse||
|United Kingdom||"Viva la Vida"||Coldplay||
|United States||"Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)"||Beyoncé||
|United States||"Need You Now" *||Lady Antebellum||
|United Kingdom||"Rolling in the Deep" *||Adele||
|United States||"We Are Young"||Fun featuring Janelle Monáe||
|United Kingdom||"Stay with Me" *||Sam Smith|||
|United Kingdom||"Thinking Out Loud"||Ed Sheeran||
|2018||Christopher Brody Brown
Ray Charles McCullough II
|United States||"That's What I Like"||Bruno Mars||
Jeffery Lamar Williams
|"This Is America" *||Childish Gambino||
|2020||Billie Eilish O'Connell
|United States||"Bad Guy" *||Billie Eilish||
|United States||"I Can't Breathe"||H.E.R.||