...Well, for quiz show purposes, actually. Warning: boring. Also warning: I don't listen to much popular music, so probably don't know what I'm talking about.
Rehab, Amy Winehouse. Never heard it. Only know her horror-show drug-addiction life via paparazzi. Don't know any of the nominees, either.
Not Ready to Make Nice, Dixie Chicks. Never heard it. But I did like their 2000 cover of "Goodbye Earl," with amusing video by Dennis Franz.
Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Green Day. I love Green Day a lot and I love American Idiot, but this song is nowhere near the best of the album. Title song, "Holiday," or "Jesus of Suburbia" should have won. I have no interest whatever in the talentless nominees from this year, except maybe Kanye West, who is slightly amusing.
Here We Go Again, Ray Charles and Norah Jones. Never heard it. Oddly, "American Idiot" was nominated for Record of the Year this year.
Clocks, Coldplay. Not familiar with it. I found their 2000 hit "Yellow" to be quite the snoozer. Favorite nominee this year: Outkast's "Hey Ya!"
Don't Know Why, Norah Jones. Never heard it. Not familiar with her work. Favorite nominee: "Without Me," Eminem.
Walk On, U2. Meh. Not bad. Not world-shaking either.
Beautiful Day, U2. A pretty good U2 song. Better than the other nominees, I suppose.
Smooth, Santana featuring Rob Thomas. This was a nice song, but the win was probably one of those Long-Overdue Recognition Of a Master type things. I preferred this year's idiotic but fun "Livin' La Vida Loca."
My Heart Will Go On, Celine Dion. This needs to be expunged from history. Seriously, anything but.
Sunny Came Home, Shawn Colvin. It's okay; Colvin is an inoffensive but far from fabulous performer. Much more memorable: this year's "Mmmbop," by Hanson.
Change the World, Eric Clapton. Not familiar with this track. Yet I like Eric Clapton! Isn't that "Ironic"? No.
Kiss from a Rose, Seal. Snore. "Gangsta's Paradise" was better. Joan Osborne's album Relish was fantastic, but I hated the nominee "One of Us."
All I Wanna Do, Sheryl Crow. Well, at least it was catchy. Probably deserved the win due to its impact.
I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston. Hated, hated, hated it. Why didn't Billy Joel's "River of Dreams" win? Or at least Neil Young's "Harvest Moon"?
Tears in Heaven, Eric Clapton. Possibly a pity vote, but a great song regardless.
Unforgettable, Natalie Cole with Nat King Cole. Boring, but won for the "Dead Dad Duet" gimmick that caught the public's attention at the time. If I cared, I would have rooted for REM's "Losing My Religion," or even Bonnie Raitt's "Something to Talk About," both stronger performances.
Another Day in Paradise, Phil Collins. Don't know it. I enjoyed Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U." Hammer's "Can't Touch This" probably should have won, if the award is for ubiquity and memorability.
Wind Beneath My Wings, Bette Midler. Midler's a great singer, but I can't stand this song. You know what's a really fine example of songcraft this year? Don Henley's "The End of the Innocence." I love deceptively angry songs like that.
Don't Worry, Be Happy, Bobby McFerrin. Silly pop song, nice simple positive message. You can't be mad at a song like that. But I preferred Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car."
Graceland, Paul Simon. Yes. Yes. Finally, a song that unquestionably deserves to be singled out for greatness. Record of the Year? Record of the decade, perhaps. Far and away distant runner-up: U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."
Higher Love, Steve Winwood. Boring '80s crap. I'd have gone with Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer."
We Are the World, USA for Africa. Mostly crap. Won the "Serious Message" vote. Actual best song nominated: Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." Distant second: "Money For Nothing," Dire Straits.
What's Love Got to Do with It, Tina Turner. Pretty good. Probably the best of a pretty good bunch, although Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" arguably had more of a cultural impact.
Beat It, Michael Jackson. Not my cup of tea, but deserved to win. Excellently produced, dynamic new video style, vaguely risque lyrics that intrigued the masses. Of course, I would have voted for the Police's "Every Breath You Take."
Rosanna, Toto. Hate it. Horrible, slick '80s crap. Should have been "Always on My Mind," Willie Nelson.
Bette Davis Eyes, Kim Carnes. Mediocre lozenge balladry. John Lennon's "Starting Over" was an infinitely better song --- but was it influential?
Sailing, Christopher Cross. Despite the fact that this guy won the whole Big Four quartet at the Grammies, I am not familiar with this song at all. The very little I've heard of it makes me sick. It is total crap. Now Sinatra's "New York, New York" --- that I like!
What a Fool Believes, The Doobie Brothers. Don't know this one. "The Gambler" should have won! Give Kenny his due, you Grammy bastards!
Just the Way You Are, Billy Joel. One of Joel's weaker efforts, in my opinion. But then, the competition this year was pretty thin. "Stayin' Alive"? Chuck Mangione?!
Hotel California, The Eagles. I think the Eagles are horrible over-rated, but this song has a lot going for it: enigmatic lyrics telling a nightmare story, good guitar, and a catchy sing-along chorus. It's sure a hell of a lot better than that awful Debby Boone song.
This Masquerade, George Benson. I have no idea what this is. "Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover" is better than whatever it is, though. And hey, "Afternoon Delight"! I love deceptively raunchy songs like that!
Love Will Keep Us Together, Captain & Tennille. Crap. The Academy overlooking the rock being recorded these years, I see.
I Honestly Love You, Olivia Newton-John. Also crap. Should have won: "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," Elton John.
Killing Me Softly with His Song, Roberta Flack. A tough year to call. This is a pretty good song and it hit big, but that's also true of the other nominees, "Bad Bad Leroy Brown" and "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" and "You're So Vain." Wise choices all. My personal favorite is probably the Carly Simon record. This was the first year that someone won RotY twice in a row.
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, Roberta Flack. It's okay, but come on, people --- "American Pie"!! A long, long time ago... Everybody! I can still remember how that music used to make me cry! But February made me shiver... I know that whole damn song.
It's Too Late, Carole King. There's no denying King's a talent, but this song is just so... so... Seventies. I prefer Three Dog Night's stupid/awesome "Joy To the World," but is that really RotY material? George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" was a throw-away that probably didn't deserve even the nod.
Bridge over Troubled Water, Simon and Garfunkel. Yeah, this is a great song. But the Academy lost their last chance to give the Beatles a RotY with "Let It Be," the obvious Real Winner.
Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In, The Fifth Dimension. A fine song and representative of the times; bizarrely, Fifth Dimension's second win. Cash's "A Boy Named Sue" is good, but I hesitate to let joke songs in with their more serious brothers at the awards shows. Blood, Sweat & Tears' "Spinning Wheel" is another good one this year.
Mrs. Robinson, Simon and Garfunkel. Everything I said in 1971 applies here: great song, "Hey Jude" deserved it more.
Up, Up and Away, The Fifth Dimension. Not winner material, but neither was anything else this year. Maybe Glen Campbell's cover of "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," if it hadn't been a cover.
Strangers in the Night, Frank Sinatra. Not the best song of the year by any means, but the best of the nominess, certainly. Distant second: "Monday, Monday," by the Mamas & the Papas.
A Taste of Honey, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Not familiar with it. Obvious real winner: "Yesterday." Record of the Year hates the Beatles.
The Girl from Ipanema, Stan Getz & João Gilberto. No, no. Better choices: all the other nominees. "Downtown," Petula Clark; "Hello, Dolly," Louis Armstrong; "I Want to Hold Your Hand," the Beatles.
Days of Wine and Roses, Henry Mancini. Couldn't hum it for you. Other nominees are also unknown to me. The Singing Nun?
I Left My Heart in San Francisco, Tony Bennett. Best song of the group.
Moon River, Henry Mancini. Best song of the group.
Theme from A Summer Place, Percy Faith. I don't know this song, but I know that "Are You Lonesome Tonight?", Ella's version of "Mack the Knife," and Ray Charles "Georgia On My Mind" are all much, much better. The Academy was in its infancy, and stupid(er).
Mack the Knife, Bobby Darin. Yeah, I can agree here. Better than Frank's stupid "High Hopes," and Elvis' "A Fool Such As I" is not one of his very best (but then, his very best never got him RotY, either).
Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare), Domenico Modugno. Won third place at that year's Eurovision contest. The only foreign-language winner of RotY. I couldn't recognize it on the radio with certainty, though I have heard it, and I've heard the English versions. Probably better than Peggy Lee's "Fever." Immediate sign that RotY might not be the mark of total prestige it ought to be: "The Chipmunk Song" is a nominee this year.