The Grammy Award for Song of the Year is an honor presented at the Grammy Awards, a ceremony that was established in 1958 and originally called the Gramophone Awards. Awards in several categories are distributed annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to "honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position."
The Song of the Year awards have been awarded since 1959. It is one of the four most prestigious Grammy Awards. Despite both the Record of the Year award and Song of the Year being awarded for a single or for one track from an album, this award goes only to the composer(s) of the song whereas the Record of the Year award goes to the performer and production team of the song. According to the 54th Grammy Awards description guide, the award is given to the songwriter(s) of a song that "must contain melody and lyrics and must be either a new song or a song first achieving prominence during the eligibility year. Songs containing prominent samples or interpolations are not eligible".
Since the late 1960s other songwriter's awards have been presented for genre-specific categories including Grammy Award for Best Country Song, Grammy Award for Best Rock Song, Grammy Award for Best R&B Song and most recently in Grammy Award for Best Rap Song (since 2004), Grammy Award for Best Gospel Song (since 2006), Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Song (since 2012) and Grammy Award for Best American Roots Song (since 2014).
Thirty of the winning songs have also won the award for Record of the Year.
In many cases, the songwriters were also the performers. (Domenico Modugno, Henry Mancini, John Lennon & Paul McCartney, Joe South, Paul Simon, Carole King, Barbra Streisand, Christopher Cross, Michael Jackson & Lionel Richie, Billy Joel, Sting, Bobby McFerrin, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Seal, Shawn Colvin, James Horner, Rob Thomas, Alicia Keys, Luther Vandross, John Mayer, U2, Dixie Chicks, Amy Winehouse, Coldplay, Beyoncé, Lady Antebellum, Adele, Fun, Lorde, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars.)
Multiple winners in this category include Henry Mancini (1962 and 1964), Johnny Mercer (1962 and 1964), James Horner (1988 and 1999), Will Jennings (1993 and 1999) U2 (2001 and 2006) and Adele (2012 and 2017), winning two times each. However, songs written for Andy Williams, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, and Roberta Flack have received this award twice.
Christopher Cross is the first artist to receive the Grammy Award for Song of the Year as well as for Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best New Artist in one ceremony. Adele is the first female artist to receive the award for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Best New Artist, and Album of the Year, nonconsecutively. Only five artists have won the Song of the Year and Best New Artist awards the same year: Christopher Cross (1981), Alicia Keys (2002), Amy Winehouse (2008), Fun (2013), and Sam Smith.
The song "Volare", winner in 1959 by Domenico Modugno and performed in Italian, is the only foreign-language song to win this award, although the 1967 winner "Michelle" by the Beatles has a critical part of its lyrics in French.
As of 2017, no songwriter has won Song of the Year twice in a row.
|Italy||"Volare" *||Domenico Modugno||
|1960||Jimmy Driftwood||United States||"The Battle of New Orleans"||Johnny Horton|||
|1961||Ernest Gold|| United States
|"Theme of Exodus"||Instrumental
|United States||"Moon River" *||Henry Mancini|||
|United Kingdom||"What Kind of Fool Am I?"||Sammy Davis, Jr.||
|United States||"Days of Wine and Roses" *||Henry Mancini||
|1965||Jerry Herman||United States||"Hello, Dolly!"||Louis Armstrong||
|1966||Paul Francis Webster
|United States||"The Shadow of Your Smile"||Tony Bennett||
|United Kingdom||"Michelle"||The Beatles||
|1968||Jimmy Webb||United States||"Up, Up, and Away" *||The 5th Dimension|||
|1969||Bobby Russell||United States||"Little Green Apples"||O.C. Smith|||
|1970||Joe South||United States||"Games People Play"||Joe South||
|1971||Paul Simon||United States||"Bridge over Troubled Water" *||Simon & Garfunkel|||
|1972||Carole King||United States||"You've Got a Friend"||James Taylor & Carole King||
|1973||Ewan MacColl||United Kingdom||"The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" *||Roberta Flack|||
|United States||"Killing Me Softly with His Song" *||Roberta Flack||
|1975||Alan and Marilyn Bergman
|United States||"The Way We Were"||Barbra Streisand||
|1976||Stephen Sondheim||United States||"Send in the Clowns"||Judy Collins|||
|1977||Bruce Johnston||United States||"I Write the Songs"||Barry Manilow||
Paul Williams /
Joe Brooks (Tie)
|United States||"Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)" /
"You Light Up My Life" (Tie)
|Barbra Streisand /
|1979||Billy Joel||United States||"Just the Way You Are" *||Billy Joel||
|United States||"What a Fool Believes" *||The Doobie Brothers||
|1981||Christopher Cross||United States||"Sailing" *||Christopher Cross||
|United States||"Bette Davis Eyes" *||Kim Carnes||
|United States||"Always on My Mind"||Willie Nelson|||
|1984||Sting||United Kingdom||"Every Breath You Take"||The Police|
| United Kingdom
|"What's Love Got to Do with It" *||Tina Turner|||
|United States||"We Are the World" *||USA for Africa|||
Carole Bayer Sager
|United States||"That's What Friends Are For"||Dionne Warwick & Friends|||
|United States||"Somewhere Out There"||Linda Ronstadt & James Ingram|||
|1989||Bobby McFerrin||United States||"Don't Worry, Be Happy" *||Bobby McFerrin||
|United States||"Wind Beneath My Wings" *||Bette Midler||
|1991||Julie Gold||United States||"From a Distance"||Bette Midler|||
|1992||Irving Gordon||United States||"Unforgettable" *||Natalie Cole with Nat King Cole||
| United Kingdom
|"Tears in Heaven" *||Eric Clapton||
| United States
|"A Whole New World"||Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle|||
|1995||Bruce Springsteen||United States||"Streets of Philadelphia"||Bruce Springsteen||
|1996||Seal||United Kingdom||"Kiss from a Rose" *||Seal||
|United States||"Change the World" *||Eric Clapton|||
|United States||"Sunny Came Home" *||Shawn Colvin|||
|Canada||"My Heart Will Go On" *||Celine Dion|||
|United States||"Smooth" *||Santana featuring Rob Thomas||
Larry Mullen, Jr.
|Ireland||"Beautiful Day" *||U2||
|2002||Alicia Keys||United States||"Fallin'"||Alicia Keys||
|2003||Jesse Harris||United States||"Don't Know Why" *||Norah Jones|||
|United States||"Dance with My Father"||Luther Vandross|||
|2005||John Mayer||United States||"Daughters"||John Mayer|||
Larry Mullen, Jr.
|Ireland||"Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own"||U2||
|United States||"Not Ready to Make Nice" *||Dixie Chicks||
|2008||Amy Winehouse||United Kingdom||"Rehab" *||Amy Winehouse||
|United Kingdom||"Viva la Vida"||Coldplay||
|United States||"Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)"||Beyoncé||
|United States||"Need You Now" *||Lady Antebellum||
|United Kingdom||"Rolling in the Deep" *||Adele||
|United States||"We Are Young"||Fun featuring Janelle Monáe|||
|United Kingdom||"Stay with Me" (Darkchild version) *||Sam Smith|||
|United Kingdom||"Thinking Out Loud"||Ed Sheeran||
|United Kingdom||"Hello" *||Adele||
|2018||Christopher Brody Brown
Ray Charles McCullough II
|United States||That's What I Like||Bruno Mars||