Will Gotye Equal Green Day’s Record?
"Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye featuring Kimbra stands a very good chance of becoming only the second hit to win both the VMA for Music Video of the Year and the Grammy for Record of the Year. The first was Green Day's "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams." We'll find out in two stages, first on Thursday, when the 29th annual VMAs are presented at Staples Center, and then on Feb. 10, when the 55th annual Grammy Awards are handed out in the same venue.
Winning both awards is quite a feat, because the VMAs and Grammys have different sensibilities and audiences. Fans who vote for the VMAs are much more comfortable with hip-hop than Grammy voters are. Grammy voters lean more to adult-oriented pop and rock. In some years, it almost seems like parents are filling out the Grammy ballots while their kids are texting in their votes to the VMAs. Case in point: 2008, when a track from a rootsy Robert Plant/Alison Krauss album won the top Grammy, while Britney Spears' "Piece Of Me" took the top VMA award.
"Somebody That I Used To Know" and "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" appeal to both sensibilities. "Somebody…," which crossed over from alternative to pop and many other formats, carries echoes of Sting's hits of the 1980s and 1990s. It's a classy record and an inventive video. "Boulevard…." is a power ballad which marries a poignant melody to a lean, muscular track.
It helps that "Somebody…" has been such a towering hit. The song topped the Hot 100 for eight weeks and became the first song in digital history to sell 6 million copies in a calendar year. "Boulevard…" wasn't as gargantuan a hit, but it spent five weeks at #2 and 14 weeks in the top 10. It has sold 2,150,000 digital copies to date.
"Somebody…" is drawn from Gotye's third album (and U.S. breakthrough), Making Mirrors. "Boulevard…" was from Green Day's seventh studio album, American Idiot.
Three times, the Grammy winner for Record of the Year and the VMA winner for Music Video of the Year have competed head-to-head in the two competitions, with different winners crowned on each show. In 1985, USA for Africa's "We Are The World" won the Grammy, while Don Henley's "The Boys Of Summer" took the VMA. In 2007, Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" won the Grammy, while "Umbrella" by Rihanna featuring Jay-Z won the VMA. Last year, Adele's "Rolling In The Deep" won the Grammy, while Katy Perry's "Firework" won the VMA.
Eight other times, the VMA winner for Music Video of the Year has been nominated for the top Grammy: Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing," Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer," Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U," R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion," TLC's "Waterfalls," Madonna's "Ray Of Light," Eminem's "Without Me" and OutKast's "Hey Ya!."
There have been just two other times where the Grammy winner for Record of the Year was nominated for the VMA for Music Video of the Year. Steve Winwood's "Higher Love" and U2's "Beautiful Day."