Grammy shocker: No nominations at all for Bruce Springsteen

Springsteen grammy western stars

Bruce Springsteen at the 1995 Grammy Awards ceremony.

Grammy Award nominations were announced this morning, and Bruce Springsteen’s Western Stars was not among the Album of the Year nominees. No Western Stars song was nominated for Song or Record of the Year, either.

Springsteen, in fact, did not receive any Grammy nominations, despite releasing two albums — Springsteen on Broadway, in addition to Western Stars — in the appropriate time span. (Any music released from Oct. 1, 2018 to Aug. 31, 2019 was eligible.)

The complete list of nominees is here. The ceremony will take place Jan. 26 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

It may seem on the surface that Bruce Springsteen has been treated well by The Grammys, over the years. He has won 20 of them, after all, with 50 nominations.

But a closer look casts some doubt on that assessment.

Springsteen has never won Album of the Year, which is the most important Grammy, akin to the Oscar for Best Picture. He’s had two nominations in this category, for Born in the USA and The Rising, but these albums lost to Lionel Richie’s Can’t Slow Down and Norah Jones’ Come Away With Me, respectively.

Furthermore, he has won only one “major Grammy” — an unofficial designation for the four categories open to artists of all genres, those being Album, Record (i.e., a recording of a single song), Song (i.e., songwriting of a single song) and New Artist. “Streets of Philadelphia” was named Best Song in 1995.

Of course, many worthy artists have received far shabbier treatment. But still, it’s no exaggeration to say that Springsteen has been the most important American rock artist of the last 50 years. Is one major Grammy really sufficient recognition?

The Grammys took a long time even to notice Springsteen, ignoring him until 1981, when his “Devil With the Blue Dress” medley (from the No Nukes album) lost in the Male Rock Vocal category lost to Billy Joel’s Glass Houses album (the category was open to both songs and albums). Springsteen’s first win came in 1985, when “Dancing in the Dark” beat out songs by David Bowie, Elton John, Billy Idol and John Cougar Mellencamp in the same category.

Strangely, while much of Springsteen’s most important work has not won Grammys, some fairly obscure recordings, including his “Once Upon a Time in the West” (from the all-star We All Love Ennio Morricone tribute album), have.

Here is a list of Springsteen’s Grammy wins. It is, again, not insignificant. But is it really enough? Please let me know what you think in the Comments section, below.

1985: Male Rock Vocal, for “Dancing in the Dark”
1988: Solo Rock Vocal, for “Tunnel of Love”
1995: Song of the Year, Rock Song, Male Rock Vocal and Song Written for a Motion Picture or Television, for “Streets of Philadelphia.”
1997: Contemporary Folk Album, for The Ghost of Tom Joad
2003: Rock Album, for The Rising; Rock Song and Male Rock Vocal, for “The Rising”
2004: Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, for “Disorder in the House” (recorded with Warren Zevon)
2005: Solo Rock Vocal, for “Code of Silence”
2006: Solo Rock Vocal, for “Devils & Dust”
2007: Traditional Folk Album, for We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions; Long Form Music Video, for “Wings for Wheels: The Making of Born to Run”
2008: Rock Song and Solo Rock Vocal, for “Radio Nowhere”; Rock Instrumental for “Once Upon a Time in the West”
2009: Rock Song, for “Girls in Their Summer Clothes”
2010: Solo Rock Vocal, for “Working on a Dream”

Click here for a collection of video clips of Springsteen at Grammy Awards ceremonies, through the years.

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Michele November 20, 2019 - 3:58 pm

It is simply self explanatory that Grammy are a fake, a disaster. Grammy are driven by lobbies as always…
But thanking God, Bruce does no need Grammy and as you written he is the most important US rocker of the last 50 years (minimum)

Hctim ckalb November 20, 2019 - 4:54 pm

Most important American rock artist of the last 50 years??? Opinions are like assholes

Reply November 20, 2019 - 6:16 pm

Ok, who’s more important?

imnokid November 25, 2019 - 11:38 am

Prince is more important to me. BTW, I don’t own any Bruce records, so I am biased. I also think that all award shows, esp the Grammys, are skewed to what is currently popular.

Sir Farty Fartsalot January 27, 2020 - 2:37 am

Meh. You’re just saying that because he’s dead.

Angelo Casarola November 21, 2019 - 11:43 am

People who equate opinions with assholes are typically assholes!

Mark Vaught November 22, 2019 - 2:27 am

And you are who? Exactly.

Marge Teilhaber November 20, 2019 - 9:37 pm

Fast-forward will come in quite handy for the Grammy telecast in January.

Michel November 21, 2019 - 12:00 am

Well let’s face it, Born to Run, is one of the best albums of all time. So how it wasn’t nominated and won is unbelievable. You have three top songs of all time on one album. So you need to start there. It’s a travesty.

Beth Hegyi November 21, 2019 - 12:34 am

I have loved Bruce since 1985 when I discovered him. No one compares th him!!
Loved Cover Me, Tougher than the Rest, Murder Inc, Atlantic City etc. So many phenomenal songs!!

Betty November 21, 2019 - 1:06 pm

I love all of Springsteen’s work. Western Stars, while very different from earlier works, is amazing. I think he has always done an excellent job of doing his own thing, grammy or no grammy. What talent!

Doris November 23, 2019 - 1:50 pm

My whole consent

Mark Vaught November 22, 2019 - 2:25 am

I agree that he is one of the most important rock artists of the last 50 years. Easily. If not THE best. However, that’s a tough crowd he’d be up against. Lol
Still he’s a legend and fuck Grammy for not acknowledging him even more. And in the right category with the right song at the right time.

But just goes to show that like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it’s primarily a joke. Just bullshit all the way around.

Billy J January 26, 2020 - 9:17 pm

Western Stars, not to be nominated – that is a surprise. His recent work has been stunning. It is surprising too to see that nothing off the Wrecking Ball album has any Grammy recognition. Retrospectively ‘Born to Run’ should be recognised and ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ gets many hard core fans contending that this was possibly his best album. Roll on 2020 with a new album with E-Street Band mooted by the Boss.

Sir Farty Fartsalot January 27, 2020 - 2:41 am

It is a bit surprising since “Western Stars” is not only a different effort from Bruce, but it’s definitely one of the best albums of 2019.


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