Legendary David Bowie didn’t win many Grammys while he was alive — just one to be exact, Best Music Video for “Jazzin’ for Blue Jean” (1985). But he died in 2016, which led the recording academy to reward him four times posthumously at the 2017 Grammys, including Best Rock Performance for “Blackstar.” In 2018 there could be another posthumous winner in the very same category, but this time there are two artists for voters to choose from who died before these nominations were announced: Leonard Cohen and Chris Cornell.
Cohen died in November 2016 at age 82, but not before releasing his 14th and final album, “You Want it Darker.” He’s up for Best Rock Performance for the title track in addition to a bid for Best American Roots Performance for “Steer Your Way.” But despite a long and storied career that included honors like induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Grammys’ own Lifetime Achievement Award, Cohen had never actually been nominated for a Grammy for his own music until now. He won his sole award on his only past nomination, as a featured artist on “River: The Joni Letters” by Herbie Hancock when it won Album of the Year in 2008. Suffice it to say that Cohen has a big IOU, and the recording academy might look foolish if they overlook him on their last chance to honor his work.
Cornell died by suicide in May 2017 at age 52, and the sudden and shocking nature of his passing may make voters especially inclined to pay tribute to the rocker, but unlike Cohen he did win Grammys for his own music while he was alive. He was awarded Best Hard Rock Performance (“Black Hole Sun”) and Best Metal Performance (“Spoonman”) in 1995 with his band Soundgarden. This year he’s nominated for “The Promise,” the title song from the 2016 film set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire and starring Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale.
Of course, Cohen and Cornell aren’t the only options for Grammy voters in this category. Possibly the most formidable of their rivals are the Foo Fighters, who contend for “Run.” To date the band has won 10 Grammys, including Best Hard Rock Performance for “All My Life” (2003) and “The Pretender” (2008), and Best Rock Performance for “Walk” (2012).
Rounding out the category are two first-time nominees. Kaleo contends for “No Good” on their only nomination this year. Nothing More are up for “Go to War,” which is one of three nominations for the band this year; they’re also in contention for Best Rock Song (also for “Go to War”) and Best Rock Album (“The Stories We Tell Ourselves”). Can either of those Grammy newcomers upset the past champs or the sentimental favorites?
Be sure to make your Grammy predictions so that Hollywood record executives and top name stars can see how their songs and albums are faring in our Grammy odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on January 28. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Grammys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our music forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.