Every Song of the Year Since the Grammys Started

January 28, 2019 by John Harrington

The Grammy Award for Song of the Year is one of the most prestigious awards in the music industry, akin to a movie winning the Oscar for Best Picture. Song of the Year is one of just four Grammy Award categories in which different music genres compete against each other for one prize. The award will be presented at the 61st Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 10.

The award, which has been presented since 1959, is given only to the composer or composers of the song. This is not to be confused with Record of the Year, which is awarded to the performer and production team of the song. In the history of the Grammy Awards, 29 of the winning songs have also been chosen as Record of the Year. This year, eight songs were nominated for Song of the Year, up from five in previous years.

The history of Song of the Year reflects the evolution of music culture. Early Song of the Year winners were from motion pictures such as “The Theme from Exodus,” “Moon River” for “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” and “Hello, Dolly!” Rock ‘n’ roll would get recognized in the mid-’60s, when John Lennon and Paul McCartney would win for the ballad “Michelle.” Singer-songwriters Paul Simon and Carole King would be cited as the 1970s began, indicative of the shift in pop-culture music tastes. Songs from hip-hop artists such as Drake, who is also among the best-selling Grammy winners of all time, Kendrick Lamar, and Childish Gambino are among this year’s nominees, reflecting the popularity of that genre. Lamar has the most overall Grammy nominations with eight.

In recognition of the music industry’s big night, 24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of every Song of the Year. (If there were a Gammy award for the best comeback, these artists would win it.)

Click here to read about every Song of the Year Since the Grammys started.

Source: Keystone / Getty Images

1959
> Song: Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)
> Artist: Domenico Modugno
> Songwriters: Domenico Modugno
> Weeks on Hot 100: 16

Source: DavidHolt.com / Wikimedia Commons

1960
> Song: The Battle of New Orleans
> Artist: Jimmy Driftwood
> Songwriters: Jimmy Driftwood
> Weeks on Hot 100: 21

Source: Fair Use / Public Domain

1961
> Song: Theme of Exodus
> Artist: Ernest Gold
> Songwriters: Ernest Gold
> Weeks on Hot 100: N/A

Source: Evening Standard / Getty Images

1962
> Song: Moon River
> Artist: Henry Mancini
> Songwriters: Henry Mancini
> Weeks on Hot 100: N/A

Source: Jimmy Sime / Getty Images

1963
> Song: What Kind Of Fool Am I
> Artist: Sammy Davis, Jr.
> Songwriters: Anthony Newley
> Weeks on Hot 100: 15

Source: Fox Photos / Getty Images

1964
> Song: Days Of Wine And Roses
> Artist: Henry Mancini
> Songwriters: Henry Mancini
> Weeks on Hot 100: 18

Source: ky_olsen / Flickr

1965
> Song: Hello, Dolly!
> Artist: Louis Armstrong
> Songwriters: Jerry Herman
> Weeks on Hot 100: 22

Source: Larry Busacca / Getty Images

1966
> Song: The Shadow Of Your Smile (Love Theme From “The Sandpiper”)
> Artist: Tony Bennett
> Songwriters: Johnny Mandel
> Weeks on Hot 100: 6

Source: Central Press / Getty Images

1967
> Song: Michelle
> Artist: The Beatles
> Songwriters: John Lennon
> Weeks on Hot 100: N/A

Source: Getty Images

1968
> Song: Up, Up And Away
> Artist: 5th Dimension
> Songwriters: Jimmy L. Webb
> Weeks on Hot 100: 12

Source: John Ascauaga's Nugget via Wikimedia Commons

1969
> Song: Little Green Apples
> Artist: Roger Miller
> Songwriters: Bobby Russell
> Weeks on Hot 100: 11

Source: Rick Diamond / Getty Images

1970
> Song: Games People Play
> Artist: Joe South
> Songwriters: Joe South
> Weeks on Hot 100: 12

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

1971
> Song: Bridge Over Troubled Water
> Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
> Songwriters: Paul Simon
> Weeks on Hot 100: 14

Source: Matt King / Getty Images

1972
> Song: You’ve Got A Friend
> Artist: Carole King
> Songwriters: Carole King
> Weeks on Hot 100: N/A

Source: Brad Barket / Getty Images

1973
> Song: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
> Artist: Roberta Flack
> Songwriters: Ewan MacColl
> Weeks on Hot 100: 18

Source: Andy Kropa / Getty Images

1974
> Song: Killing Me Softly With His Song
> Artist: Roberta Flack
> Songwriters: Charles Fox
> Weeks on Hot 100: 16

Source: nihgov / Flickr

1975
> Song: The Way We Were
> Artist: Barbra Streisand
> Songwriters: Alan Bergman, Marvin Hamlisch, Marvin Hamlisch
> Weeks on Hot 100: 23

Source: Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images

1976
> Song: Send In The Clowns
> Artist: Judy Collins
> Songwriters: Stephen Sondheim
> Weeks on Hot 100: 27

Source: Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

1977
> Song: I Write The Songs
> Artist: Barry Manilow
> Songwriters: Bruce Johnston
> Weeks on Hot 100: 20

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

1978
> Song: Love Theme From A Star Is Born (Evergreen)
> Artist: Barbra Streisand
> Songwriters: Barbra Streisand
> Weeks on Hot 100: 25

Source: Mike Windle / Getty Images

1978
> Song: You Light Up My Life
> Artist: Debby Boone
> Songwriters: Joe Brooks
> Weeks on Hot 100: 25

Source: Brian Ach / Getty Images

1979
> Song: Just The Way You Are
> Artist: Billy Joel
> Songwriters: Billy Joel
> Weeks on Hot 100: 27

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

1980
> Song: What A Fool Believes
> Artist: The Doobie Brothers
> Songwriters: Kenny Loggins
> Weeks on Hot 100: 20

Source: Carlos Alvarez / Getty Images

1981
> Song: Sailing
> Artist: Christopher Cross
> Songwriters: Christopher Cross
> Weeks on Hot 100: 21

Source: Rick Diamond / Getty Images

1982
> Song: Bette Davis Eyes
> Artist: Kim Carnes
> Songwriters: Donna Weiss
> Weeks on Hot 100: 26

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

1983
> Song: Always On My Mind
> Artist: Willie Nelson
> Songwriters: Johnny Christopher, Wayne Carson, Wayne Carson
> Weeks on Hot 100: 23

Source: Martyn Goddard / Getty Images

1984
> Song: Every Breath You Take
> Artist: The Police
> Songwriters: Sting
> Weeks on Hot 100: 22

Source: Miguel Villagran / Getty Images

1985
> Song: What’s Love Got To Do With It
> Artist: Tina Turner
> Songwriters: Graham Lyle
> Weeks on Hot 100: 28

Source: Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images

1986
> Song: We Are The World
> Artist: USA For Africa – Various Artists
> Songwriters: Lionel Richie
> Weeks on Hot 100: 18

Source: Larry Busacca / Getty Images

1987
> Song: That’s What Friends Are For
> Artist: Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder
> Songwriters: Burt Bacharach
> Weeks on Hot 100: 23

Source: Frederick M. Brown, Brad Barket / Getty Images

1988
> Song: Somewhere Out There
> Artist: Linda Ronstadt, James Ingram
> Songwriters: Barry Mann, James Horner, James Horner
> Weeks on Hot 100: 22

Source: Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images

1989
> Song: Don’t Worry Be Happy
> Artist: Bobby McFerrin
> Songwriters: Bobby McFerrin
> Weeks on Hot 100: 26

Source: Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images

1990
> Song: Wind Beneath My Wings
> Artist: Bette Midler
> Songwriters: Jeff Silbar
> Weeks on Hot 100: 29

Source: Mike Coppola / Getty Images

1991
> Song: From A Distance
> Artist: Bette Midler
> Songwriters: Julie Gold
> Weeks on Hot 100: 26

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

1992
> Song: Unforgettable
> Artist: Natalie Cole [With Nat “King” Cole]
> Songwriters: Irving Gordon
> Weeks on Hot 100: 17

Source: Larry Busacca / Getty Images

1993
> Song: Tears In Heaven
> Artist: Eric Clapton
> Songwriters: Eric Clapton
> Weeks on Hot 100: 26

Source: Kevin Winter, Larry French / Getty Images

1994
> Song: A Whole New World (Aladdin’s Theme)
> Artist: Peabo Bryson, Regina Belle
> Songwriters: Alan Menken
> Weeks on Hot 100: 23

Source: Jamie Squire / Getty Images

1995
> Song: Streets Of Philadelphia
> Artist: Bruce Springsteen
> Songwriters: Bruce Springsteen
> Weeks on Hot 100: 7

Source: PLS Pool / Getty Images

1996
> Song: Kiss From A Rose
> Artist: Seal
> Songwriters: Seal
> Weeks on Hot 100: 36

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

1997
> Song: Change The World
> Artist: Eric Clapton
> Songwriters: Gordon Kennedy, Wayne Kirkpatrick, Wayne Kirkpatrick
> Weeks on Hot 100: 43

Source: Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

1998
> Song: Sunny Came Home
> Artist: Shawn Colvin
> Songwriters: John Leventhal
> Weeks on Hot 100: 32

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

1999
> Song: My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme From Titanic)
> Artist: Celine Dion
> Songwriters: James Horner
> Weeks on Hot 100: 20

Source: Scott Gries / Getty Images

2000
> Song: Smooth
> Artist: Santana Featuring Rob Thomas
> Songwriters: Itaal Shur
> Weeks on Hot 100: 58

Source: Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images

2001
> Song: Beautiful Day
> Artist: U2
> Songwriters: U2
> Weeks on Hot 100: 25

Source: Gary Gershoff / Getty Images

2002
> Song: Fallin’
> Artist: Alicia Keys
> Songwriters: Alicia Keys
> Weeks on Hot 100: 29

Source: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

2003
> Song: Don’t Know Why
> Artist: Norah Jones
> Songwriters: Jesse Harris
> Weeks on Hot 100: 6

Source: Scott Harrison / Getty Images

2004
> Song: Dance With My Father
> Artist: Luther Vandross
> Songwriters: Luther Vandross
> Weeks on Hot 100: 4

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

2005
> Song: Daughters
> Artist: John Mayer
> Songwriters: John Mayer
> Weeks on Hot 100: 17

Source: Ian Gavan / Getty Images

2006
> Song: Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own
> Artist: U2
> Songwriters: U2
> Weeks on Hot 100: 3

Source: ShowBizIreland / Getty Images

2007
> Song: Not Ready To Make Nice
> Artist: Dixie Chicks
> Songwriters: Dan Wilson, Martie Maguire, Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines
> Weeks on Hot 100: 24

Source: Roger Kisby / Getty Images

2008
> Song: Rehab
> Artist: Amy Winehouse
> Songwriters: Amy Winehouse
> Weeks on Hot 100: 20

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

2009
> Song: Viva La Vida
> Artist: Coldplay
> Songwriters: Coldplay
> Weeks on Hot 100: 51

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

2010
> Song: Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)
> Artist: Beyoncé
> Songwriters: Thaddis Harrell, Terius Nash, Terius Nash, Christopher Stewart
> Weeks on Hot 100: 27

Source: John Shearer/Country Rising / Getty Images

2011
> Song: Need You Now
> Artist: Lady Antebellum
> Songwriters: Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott
> Weeks on Hot 100: 60

Source: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

2012
> Song: Rolling In The Deep
> Artist: Adele
> Songwriters: Adele Adkins
> Weeks on Hot 100: 65

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

2013
> Song: We Are Young
> Artist: Fun. Featuring Janelle Monáe
> Songwriters: Jack Antonoff, Andrew Dost, Andrew Dost, Nate Ruess
> Weeks on Hot 100: 42

Source: Christopher Polk / Getty Images

2014
> Song: Royals
> Artist: Lorde
> Songwriters: Joel Little
> Weeks on Hot 100: 44

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

2015
> Song: Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)
> Artist: Sam Smith
> Songwriters: James Napier, Sam Smith, Sam Smith
> Weeks on Hot 100: 54

Source: Ian Gavan / Getty Images

2016
> Song: Thinking Out Loud
> Artist: Ed Sheeran
> Songwriters: Ed Sheeran
> Weeks on Hot 100: 58

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

2017
> Song: Hello
> Artist: Adele
> Songwriters: Adele Adkins
> Weeks on Hot 100: 26

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

2018
> Song: That’s What I Like
> Artist: Bruno Mars
> Songwriters: Christopher Brody Brown, Philip Lawrence, Philip Lawrence, Bruno Mars, Ray Charles McCullough II, Jeremy Reeves, Ray Romulus, Jonathan Yip
> Weeks on Hot 100: 52