The 2016 Grammy Awards ceremony is happening as we speak! Probably many of you guys are super excited to find out who will win big time this year…not to mention the awesome live performances we are just dying to see.
As we all know, there are plenty of categories, however to me personally (for rather obvious reasons), the nominations and winners for “best rock performance”, “best metal performance”, “best rock album” and in particular “best rock song” have always triggered tremendous emotions in me, which include both happiness and appreciation, as well as criticism and dissatisfaction.
Anyhow, since the Grammy Awards Ceremony is happening today – 15th of February, I thought it’s only natural to prepare a little publication dedicated to some of the past winners of this prestigious award. In particular, I would like to remind my readers of the best rock songs that won a Grammy. I decided to include winners only from the 90s because – well, after that (at least to me), things just changed drastically. Besides, I think the 90s were a very good decade for rock music and throughout this period of 1992 to 1999, some of my favorite rock tunes have emerged as winners. I was born in the 90s and I grew up listening to those songs – this makes this publication even more special to me.
The first time a Grammy for a best rock song was given in 1992 (which also happens to be the year I was born in) and the first one to grab the gramophone trophy was Sting, with the song “The Soul Cages”. I should mention that the award is given not to performers (singers) but the writers of a song, even though I’m sure most of you guys already know that. In some cases, the songwriter and the performer are two different people; however they may also be the same person – such as the case with Sting and Eric Clapton, for instance. This time, as I said, I will be focusing on the quality of the song itself (lyrics, technicality, complexity, excellence, impact, etc.), rather than the vocal or live performance of it (despite those elements being probably the most important reasons for its success, I believe). This award is also given regardless of a rock song’s chart position or previous awards (yeah, right…). Interesting fact, our favorite Mr. Bruce Springsteen actually holds the record for most wins and nominations in this category ever, not just in the 90s – he has nine nominations and won four times – he deserves it and we all love his music! (He said goodbye to the 80s and entered the 90s with such a tremendously successful jump!)
The following is a list of songs that, as I already said won a Grammy award for “best rock song”. I won’t be focusing on each song individually; however I am going to include the names of the songwriters, performers and the year it won the award. I hope by doing so, some of you guys may get reminded of those long-lost tunes from when we were a little bit younger. Also, while you are checking those songs out, try to detect the difference between the way rock songs were made 20 years ago and the way we do it nowadays. I am sure many of you would easily spot the contrast – in pretty much every aspect of the rock song. Here we go!
Sting – The Soul Cages (1992)
Eric Clapton – Layla (Unplugged Version) (1993)
Songwriter(s): Eric Clapton, Jim Gordon
Performer(s): Eric Clapton
Soul Asylum – “Runaway Train” (1994)
Songwriter(s): Dave Pirner
Performer(s): Soul Asylum
Bruce Springsteen – “Streets of Philadelphia” (1995)
Songwriter(s): Bruce Springsteen
Performer(s): Bruce Springsteen
Alanis Morissette – “You Oughta Know” (1996)
Songwriter(s): Alanis Morissette, Glen Ballard
Performer(s): Alanis Morissette
Tracy Chapman – “Give Me One Reason” (1997)
Songwriter(s): Tracy Chapman
Performer(s): Tracy Chapman
The Wallflowers – “One Headlight” (1998)
Songwriter(s): Jakob Dylan
Performer(s): The Wallflowers
Alanis Morissette – “Uninvited” (1999)
Songwriter(s): Alanis Morissette
Performer(s): Alanis Morissette
All of the above listed songs have one thing in common – they were all exceptionally well-written, composed and possess a special aura – a distinctive character, if I may say. Obviously, they were awarded for a reason. I don’t necessarily agree with the winners (especially from the last few years of the decade), however it is what it is. I hope you guys got reminded of some of those classics! Let’s wait and see what happens this year! Cheers!