- The best rock song category was introduced at the 34th Annual Grammy Awards.
- Sting was the first artist to win the award for his song “Soul Cages”
- Bruce Springsteen, Alanis Morissette, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, U2, and Foo Fighters have won this award multiple times.
- For “Blackstar,” David Bowie was awarded a posthumous best rock song Grammy.
Rock music is classic but has only been a Grammy category since 1992, for music in 1991, during the 34th Annual Grammy Awards. Artists from Bruce Springsteen to Alanis Morissette have been recognised by the Recording Academy for their contributions to this broad genre.
Below we’ve listed every rock song that’s won a Grammy since the category was introduced.
Since Grammys are usually awarded the year after a song came out, each sing is listed by the year it won for, which is typically the year before its award ceremony. This is consistent with the records on the official Grammys site.
1991: “Soul Cages” by Sting.
Sting was the first artist to win a Grammy Award for best rock song. The English musician wrote and performed the track “Soul Cages,” the eponymous single from his third album.
1992: “Layla” by Eric Clapton.
“Layla,” a blues-rock track written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon, won the best rock song at the 35th Annual Grammy Awards.
1993: “Runaway Train” by Soul Asylum.
“Runaway Train,” by alt-rock band Soul Asylum, won a Grammy for best rock song at the 36th Annual Grammy Awards.
1994: “Streets of Philadelphia” by Bruce Springsteen.
Featured in the movie “Philadelphia,” this track also earned Bruce Springsteen Grammy Awards for song of the year, best male rock vocal performance, and best song written specifically for a motion picture or for television.
In total, the Boss has garnered an impressive 20 Grammys.
1995: “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette.
“You Oughta Know” was the lead single from Alanis Morissette’s seminal album “Jagged Little Pill,” which also won a Grammy at the 38th Annual Grammy Awards. The song and others on the record were co-written with Glen Ballard.
1996: “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman.
At the 39th Annual Grammy Awards, singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman won her fourth Grammy for the bluesy track “Give Me One Reason.“
1997: “One Headlight” by The Wallflowers.
The Wallflowers’ single “One Headlight” earned the band a best rock song Grammy at the 40th Annual Grammy Awards.
1998: “Uninvited” by Alanis Morissette.
1999: “Scar Tissue” by Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
Red Hot Chilli Peppers won a Grammy for best rock song with their hit single “Scar Tissue.“
2000: “With Arms Wide Open” by Creed.
The Recording Academy named Creed’s “With Arms Wide Open” the year’s best rock song at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards.
2001: “Drops of Jupiter” by Train.
The best rock song at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards, Train’s “Drops of Jupiter,” also won a Grammy for best instrumental arrangement accompanying vocalists.
2002: “The Rising” by Bruce Springsteen.
“The Rising,” which also won for best male rock vocal performance, marked Bruce Springsteen’s second Grammy Award for best rock song. Additionally, Springsteen’s record of the same name was designated the year’s best rock album.
2003: “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes.
The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” won the Grammy for best rock song at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards. The track was the lead single from “Elephant,” that year’s best alternative music album.
2004: “Vertigo” by U2.
Since releasing their fifth studio album, “The Joshua Tree,” U2 earned a whopping 22 Grammy Awards in categories spanning from album of the year to best long-form music video.
“Vertigo,” released as the lead single for the album “How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb,” won for best rock song at the 47th Annual Grammy Awards.
2005: “City Of Blinding Lights” by U2.
U2 won best rock song for a consecutive year with “City Of Blinding Lights” It was another single from “How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb,” which earned the best rock album Grammy.
2006: “Dani California” by Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
The Red Hot Chilli Peppers track “Dani California” won for best rock song at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards. It was released as a single from “Stadium Arcadium,” that year’s Grammy winner for best rock album.
“Dani California” also earned the band a Grammy for best rock performance by a duo or group with vocals.
2007: “Radio Nowhere” by Bruce Springsteen.
In addition to winning the Grammy for best rock song at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards, Bruce Springsteen’s “Radio Nowhere” also won for best solo rock vocal performance.
2008: “Girls In Their Summer Clothes” by Bruce Springsteen.
Winning a best rock song award for “Girls In Their Summer Clothes,” Springsteen dominated this Grammy category in the aughts.
2009: “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon.
“Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon was a popular anthem that snapped the award up this year.
2010: “Angry World” by Neil Young.
Prolific Canadian musician Neil Young took home a best rock song Grammy at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards for “Angry World” It was Young’s second Grammy, following a win the previous year for best boxed or special limited-edition package.
2011: “Walk” by Foo Fighters.
Foo Fighters have collected 11 Grammys over the years. Their award for “Walk” was one of two they won in the best rock song category.
2012: “Lonely Boy” by The Black Keys.
“Lonely Boy” scored The Black Keys two Grammy Awards, one for best rock song and another for best rock performance. The track was a single from the album “El Camino,” which the Recording Academy named best rock album of the year.
2013: “Cut Me Some Slack” by Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear.
Written for “Sound City,” a documentary by Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl about the eponymous recording studio, “Cut Me Some Slack” won best rock song at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.
For the track, Grohl collaborated with three other notable performers: Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear, who toured with Nirvana as a guitarist, and Beatle Paul McCartney.
2014: “Ain’t It Fun” by Paramore.
Paramore won a best rock song Grammy in 2015 for “Ain’t It Fun” The band, helmed by Hayley Williams, was previously nominated for best new artist and best pop performance by a duo or group with vocals.
2015: “Don’t Wanna Fight” by Alabama Shakes.
“Don’t Wanna Fight” earned blues-rock band Alabama Shakes two Grammys at the 58th Annual Awards: best rock song and best rock performance. It was the lead single from “Sound & Colour,” that year’s Grammy winner for best alternative music album.
2016: “Blackstar” by David Bowie.
At the 59th Annual Grammy Awards, the Grammys for best rock song and best rock performance were posthumously awarded to David Bowie for the art rock track “Blackstar” Bowie’s album of the same name also won for best alternative music album and best engineered album, non-classical.
2017: “Run” by Foo Fighters.
“Run” was the second Foo Fighters track to win a best rock song Grammy. The band previously won in this category at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards with the inversely titled song “Walk.”
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