The 2023 Grammy Awards are especially competitive in top categories this year. Record of the Year and Song of the Year seem especially tough to call, with Adele‘s “Easy on Me” and Harry Styles‘ “As It was” jockeying for top position in our current Gold Derby odds. Most prognosticators will choose one over the other in both categories — but is that the smart choice? How often do these categories see a split between two artists? And how often do they match up?
Since 2000, 12 artists have swept the two General Field categories: “Smooth” by Santana (2000), “Beautiful Day” by U2 (2001), “Don’t Know Why” by Norah Jones in 2003, “Not Ready to Make Nice” by The Chicks (2007), “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse (2008), “Need You Now” by Lady A (2011), “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele (2012), “Stay With My” by Sam Smith (2015), “Hello” by Adele (2017), “This is America” by Childish Gambino (2019), “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish (2020) and “Leave the Door Open” by Silk Sonic (2022).
Adversely, just one year saw a split between two songs nominated in both categories: In 2002 “Fallin'” by Alicia Keys took Song of the Year while “Walk On” by U2 won Record of the Year. 2018 was a singular instance when Bruno Mars swept both awards but with different songs — winning Song of the Year with “That’s What I Like” and Record of the Year for “24K Magic.”
For the remaining years not mentioned, at least one winning artist for Song of the Year or Record of the Year was not nominated in the other category. The winners for Song and Record of the Year, respectively, were: “Dance With My Father” (Luther Vandross)/”Clocks” (Coldplay) in 2004, “Daughters” (John Mayer)/”Here We Go Again” (Ray Charles & Norah Jones) in 2005, “Sometimes You Can’t Make it On Your Own” (U2)/”Boulevard of Broken Dreams” (Green Day) in 2006, “Viva la Vida” (Coldplay)/”Please Read the Letter” (Robert Plant & Alison Krauss) in 2009, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” (Beyoncé)/”Use Somebody” (Kings of Leon) in 2010, “We Are Young” (Fun feat. Janelle Monae)/”Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye feat. Kimbra) in 2013, “Royals” (Lorde)/”Get Lucky” (Daft Punk) in 2014, “Thinking Out Loud” (Ed Sheeran)/”Uptown Funk” (Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars) in 2016 and “I Can’t Breathe” (H.E.R.)/”Everything I Wanted” (Billie Eilish) in 2021.
Based on those statistics, you should put all your money on the same horse in both races. However, in such a competitive year, maybe we will see the first split since 2002? It wouldn’t be out of the question for Styles’ “As It Was,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 15 weeks, to win Record of the Year while conceding Song of the Year to Adele’s “Easy On Me.” However she is, after all, the only artist to have won both of these categories twice before in the same night. It’s difficult to bet against her.
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