Country Hits for Grammy’s Record of the Year Nods After 46 Years

country song grammy award after 46 years (1)

When the nominations for the 66th Annual Grammy Awards are announced on Nov. 10, the music world might witness a remarkable event. For the first time since Jimmy Carter was President, two country hits are likely to compete for the prestigious “Record of the Year” category.

Morgan Wallen’s chart-topping track, “Last Night,” and Luke Combs’ soulful rendition of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” both stand a very good chance of making it to the finals. Wallen’s song has enjoyed an impressive 23-week run atop Hot Country Singles, while “Fast Car” secured an equally impressive 12 weeks at No. 2. (Though both songs dropped one spot this week, with Jason Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town” reclaiming the top spot.)

Combs’ hit appears to have better odds of earning a nomination, given his history with the Grammys, having received six nominations previously (albeit without a win). Additionally, Chapman’s original version of “Fast Car” was nominated for “Record of the Year” and “Song of the Year.” On the other hand, Wallen is yet to receive a Grammy nomination, and there remains uncertainty over whether Grammy voters are ready to forgive and forget the 2021 incident involving a racial pejorative.

Should both hits secure nominations, it would mark a momentous occasion, as it has been 46 years since two or more country hits competed in this marquee category. Back in 1977, Crystal Gayle’s touching ballad “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” Linda Ronstadt’s exquisite rendition of Roy Orbison’s “Blue Bayou,” and Debby Boone’s megahit “You Light Up My Life” vied for “Record of the Year.”

Prior to that, in 1967, Glen Campbell’s soulful “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and Bobbie Gentry’s enigmatic “Ode to Billie Joe” competed for the same honor. And in 1968, a historical moment occurred when three No. 1 country hits competed for “Record of the Year”: Jeannie C. Riley’s “Harper Valley P.T.A.,” Bobby Goldsboro’s emotional ballad “Honey,” and Campbell’s version of “Wichita Lineman.”

In more recent times, it has been a challenge for even one country hit to earn a Grammy nod in the “Record of the Year” category. The last five country hits nominated were Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Old Town Road,” Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Lady A’s “Need You Now,” Swift’s “You Belong With Me,” and Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One.”

The Recording Academy expanded the number of nominees in the “Big Four” categories, including “Record of the Year,” from five to eight in 2018, and then to 10 in 2021. However, they recently announced a return to eight nominees for the upcoming nominations.

As we eagerly await the Grammy nominations, the possibility of two country hits competing for “Record of the Year” fills the country music community with excitement and anticipation. Morgan Wallen’s “Last Night” and Luke Combs’ rendition of “Fast Car” have undeniably made their mark on the music landscape, and it will be fascinating to see if they secure their well-deserved spots among music’s elite.

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One thought on “Country Hits for Grammy’s Record of the Year Nods After 46 Years

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