The 15 Shortest/Longest Record-Of-The-Year Winners In Grammy History

Grammys 2023: Harry Styles or Doja Cat Could Have the Shortest Record of the Year Winner in 55 Years
By Paul Grein

Wind Beneath My Wings: Bette Midler
Wind beneath my wings bette midler

In recent years, the music industry has rediscovered the virtues of brevity. Norah Jones’ jazzy ballad “Don’t Know Why,” the winner in 2003, ran just 3:01, the shortest playing time for a record of the year winner since “Up, Up and Away.” Smith’s “Stay With Me (Darkchild Mix),” the winner in 2005, was even shorter than Jones’ hit — as noted above, it ran just 2:54. (The primary version of Smith’s hit ran 2:51, but the Grammy specifically went to the Darkchild Mix.)

You could play both of “As It Was” and “Woman” in 5:39, which is less time that it would take you to get through not only “We Are the World” (6:22) and “Hotel California” (6:08), but also Robert Plant & Alison Krauss’ “Please Read the Letter,” the winner in 2009 (5:57).

Eight of this year’s ten records of the year nominees run four minutes or less. The only songs to exceed that time are Beyoncé’s “Break My Soul” (4:38) and Kendrick Lamar’s “The Heart Part 5” (5:32).

Here are The 15 Shortest/Longest Record-Of-The-Year Winners In Grammy History

The 15 shortest records of the year winners:
(counting down from the shortest)

Neil Sedaka & Bette Midler: Love Will Keep Us Together
Neil sedaka bette midler love will keep us together

  • Henry Mancini’s “Days of Wine and Roses,” 1964 (2:05)
  • Percy Faith and his Orchestra’s “Theme from A Summer Place,” 1961 (2:24)
  • Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night,” 1967 (2:36)
  • The 5th Dimension’s “Up, Up and Away,” 1968 (2:40)
  • Henry Mancini’s “Moon River,” 1962 (2:41)
  • Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, “A Taste of Honey,” 1966 (2:42)
  • Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto, “The Girl From Ipanema,” 1965 (2:44)
  • Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” 1963 (2:51)
  • Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me (Darkchild Mix),” 2015 (2:54)
  • Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why,” 2003 (3:01)
  • Bobby Darin’s “Mack the Knife,” 1959 (3:03)
  • Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy,” 2020 (3:14)
  • George Benson’s “This Masquerade,” 1977 (3:17)
  • Natalie Cole featuring Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable,” 1992 (3:23)
  • Captain & Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together,” 1976 (3:24)

The 15 longest records of the year winners:
(counting down from the longest)

We Are Yhe World: Bette Midler & Bob Dylan
<strong>we are yhe world bette midler bob dylan<strong>

  • USA for Africa’s “We Are the World,” 1986 (6:22)
  • Eagles’ “Hotel California,” 1978 (6:08)
  • Robert Plant & Alison Krauss’ “Please Read the Letter,” 2009 (5:57)
  • Adele’s “Hello,” 2017 (4:55)
  • Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings,” 1990 (4:52)
  • Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” 1971 (4:52)
  • The 5th Dimension’s “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” 1970 (4:49)
  • Phil Collins’ “Another Day in Paradise,” 1991 (4:48)
  • Paul Simon, “Graceland,” 1988 (4:48)
  • Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” 1974 (4:46)
  • Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose,” 1996 (4:43)
  • Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” 1999 (4:36)
  • Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” 1994 (4:32)
  • U2’s “Walk On,” 2002 (4:30)
  • Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven,” 1993 (4:29)

Notes: All the years shown here refer to the year of the Grammy ceremony (or, starting in 1971, live telecast) in which the record was honored. We took the singles’ running times from Joel Whitburn’s Pop Annual 1955-2016, which lists every single that made the Billboard Hot 100 by year, in ranked order. We took the running times on more recent singles from Wikipedia.  

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2 thoughts on “The 15 Shortest/Longest Record-Of-The-Year Winners In Grammy History

  1. It was so exciting to see Bette perform “WIND BENEATH MY WINGS” live at “THE GRAMMYS” that year. It was the first time she performed live in several years. She sounded amazing and it was such a thrill to watch as she burst back into the music scene with a top ten album, a number one single and a Grammy Award!

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