Best Record?

In the Grammy’s there are three big awards for best single, best record, and best album.
Album and single are pretty much obvious, but how is a record different from a single or album?

First, a correction in your initial premise: There isn’t a category for “Single of the Year.” The three major Grammy categories are Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year.

Album of the Year, as noted, is self-explanatory.

Song of the Year (which you may have thought was single of the year) is an award presented to the songwriters who win the award. The purpose of the award is to recognize what was, in the opinion of NARAS, the best song released that year. Sometimes the songwriters are the same as the recording artist (as in the case of this year’s winner, U2), sometimes they are not (as in last year’s winner, “Smooth,” written by Rob Thomas and Itaal Shur, but recorded by Santana).

Record of the Year is an award given the the recording artist, producers and engineers who win. It is to recognize the best produced and performed song that year. This year, it so happens that Song of the Year and Record of the Year were the same, like they usually are. Not always, though; in 1993, Record of the Year went to Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” but Song of the Year went to Alan Menken and Tim Rice for “A Whole New World.”

That would make sense, since “I Will Always Love You” was a previously recorded song, and so was ineligible for Song of the Year.

*Originally posted by RickJay *

Not true. Natalie Cole’s recording of “Unforgettable” won Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1991. The Song of the Year award went to Irving Gordon, who wrote the song in 1931, when it was originally recorded by Nat King Cole. Don’t ask me what arcane rules NARAS uses to decide that the song is eligible for Song of the Year 60 years later.

…the awards themselves are all a bunch of crap, rewarding mediocrity and unoriginality. Lest we forget, Milli Vanilli won the “Best New Artist” award not too long ago.

Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap.

I don’t think anybody who’s serious about music takes the Grammies very seriously; after all, to be considered for a Grammy, you need to reach a huge audience. What songs reach a huge audience? Generally, pop songs that will soon fade into obscurity (yes, there are of course exceptions). Case in point: “Smooth”, by Santana. This song completely flooded the airwaves of radio stations about a year ago. I mean, you’d turn the radio on, and be almost guaranteed to hear it within a few minutes. It got so ridiculous that you’d hear that opening bar and change the station. This song won…something, I can’t remember what, now. Was this the best song produced in the following year? I seriously doubt it. I can think of better songs off the top of my head. I’d guess that this song won’t age well, either; we’ve all heard it a billion times, and it doesn’t get airplay anymore. I’m sure there were even better songs on the album that it came from (I’m not that familiar with the rest of it, other than that “Leave your lights on” song), yet this was the “designated pop hit” that won the Grammy.