“You stick around long enough and they give these things to you, I guess,” said Bruce Springsteen in 1995, accepting a Rock Vocal Grammy for his song, “Streets of Philadelphia” (even though, as he also said in his acceptance speech, he wasn’t really sure it was a rock vocal).
Indeed, before that year, he had only won two Grammys, and hadn’t even received any nominations for his landmark Born to Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town.
After receiving four for “Streets of Philadelphia,” though, he’s won Grammys fairly regularly: He now has 20, and has been nominated 45 times.
He is not nominated for any Grammys in tonight’s ceremony. But with the help of Wikipedia’s Springsteen page, YouTube and the invaluable online Springsteen resource brucebase, I’ve assembled this guide to Springsteen at the Grammys, through the years.
1982: Receives first nomination, in the Rock Vocal category, for “The River.” Loses to Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl.”
1985: Wins first Grammy, in Rock Vocal category, for “Dancing in the Dark.”
1988: Wins in Rock Vocal category, for “Tunnel of Love.”
1994: No nominations but participates in a tribute to Curtis Mayfield:
1995: The breakthrough year, with four awards, including Song of the Year, all for “Streets of Philadelphia.”
In Song of the Year acceptance speech, he praises “all those disparaged and mysterious Grammy voters out there, wherever you are … and whoever you are,” and thanks “my fans, whose passion and support has given great meaning to the work I’ve done, and the folks who have come up to me in restaurants and on the street who’ve lost their sons or their loved ones or their friends to AIDS and said that this song meant something to them.”
1997: Wins the Contemporary Folk Album award, for The Ghost of Tom Joad. In his acceptance speech, thanks, among others, record company executive Don Ienner, “who as he sat in my studio, listening to a rough cut, his dreams of mega-sales slipping down the drain, gave me his full support from the heart.”
2003: Wins Rock Song and Male Rock Vocal awards for “The Rising,” and the Rock Album award for The Rising, but loses in the Album of the Year and Song of the Year categories to Norah Jones.
Also, he participates, that year, in this tribute to the late Joe Strummer:
2004: Wins in the Rock by a Duo or Group with Vocal category, for his Warren Zevon collaboration, “Disorder in the House.”
2005, 2006: Wins in Solo Rock Vocal category for “Code of Silence” and “Devils & Dust.”
In 2006, he also participated in a tribute to the late Wilson Pickett:
2007: Wins Best Traditional Folk Album, for We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, and Best Long Form Music Video for Wings for Wheels: The Making of Born to Run.
2008: Wins three awards: Solo Rock Vocal and Rock Song for “Radio Nowhere,” and Rock Instrumental for “Once Upon a Time in the West” (from the tribute album, “We All Love Ennio Morricone”).
2009: Wins Best Rock Song for “Girls in Their Summer Clothes.”
2010: Wins Solo Rock Vocal award for “Working on a Dream.”
2012: Doesn’t win anything but sings “We Take Care of Our Own” and participates in show-closing Paul McCartney medley.