Grammys 2021: Billie Eilish could pull off this rare feat only ever accomplished by Roberta Flack and U2

Billie Eilish earned four Grammy nominations this year, including Record of the Year for “Everything I Wanted.” This follows a historic year when she swept the top four general field categories, including Record of the Year for “Bad Guy.” Can she win again? She would be only the third artist in history to achieve back-to-back victories in the category.

The first musician to pull it off was Roberta Flack. She took home Record of the Year in 1973 for “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” and then she prevailed again in 1974 for another classic, “Killing Me Softly with His Song.” Decades later the Irish rock band U2 doubled up, winning for “Beautiful Day” in 2001 and “Walk On” in 2002. Both of those songs came from their album “All That You Can’t Leave Behind,” which makes it the only album to produce two Record of the Year winners.

Eilish might be helped by the fact that “Everything I Wanted” is one of only four songs to be nominated for both Record and Song of the Year, which might suggest greater support from the recording academy. The others are Dua Lipa‘s “Don’t Start Now,” Post Malone‘s “Circles” and Beyonce‘s “Black Parade.” And though voters might be reluctant to give Eilish top honors again right after her epic sweep (too much too soon for the teenage singer-songwriter?), sometimes when the Grammys like you, they really like you.

Consider Adele, who won Record of the Year twice for “Rolling in the Deep” (2012) and “Hello” (2017). In fact, Adele is undefeated in her last 13 nominations, so the recording academy certainly doesn’t hesitate to heap more trophies on her when given the opportunity.

Other double winners for Record of the Year won their prizes close together too. Henry Mancini won twice in three years (“Moon River” in 1962, “Days of Wine and Roses” in 1964). The 5th Dimension and Simon and Garfunkel went back and forth over the course of four years: 5th Dimension with “Up, Up and Away” (1968) and “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” (1970), Simon and Garfunkel with “Mrs. Robinson” (1969) and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (1971).

More recently, Norah Jones won twice in three years (“Don’t Know Why” in 2003, “Here We Go Again” in 2005). And Bruno Mars won twice in three years (“Uptown Funk” in 2016, “24K Magic” in 2018). So actually, if you want to win Record of the Year twice, you’d better strike while the iron is hot. Will Eilish be the latest (and youngest) to earn a Record of the Year bookend?

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