I've said so many times that Adele is going to win Album, Record and Song of the Year on Feb. 12 that I'm going to look like really bad if she doesn't. I don't think I need to worry. Adele is heading into Grammy night with a rare combination of blockbuster sales, critical acclaim and industry respect.
Adele is vying to become only the sixth artist to win "Grammy's Triple Crown" in one night. At just 23, she'd be the youngest artist ever to do this. Also, she'd be only the second female solo artist to do it, following Carole King in 1972, and only the second British artist to do it, following Eric Clapton in 1993.
Here's a complete list of everyone who has won Album, Record and Song of the Year in one night. I follow it with two lists of artists who came close, but don't quite qualify. (I'll explain.) The lists are arranged in chronological order. The date is the date of the Grammy telecast.
Paul Simon, 1971. Simon & Garfunkel won Album of the Year for Bridge Over Troubled Water and Record of the Year for the title track, which became an instant classic. Simon also won Song of the Year for writing the song. Simon was 29 at the time.
Carole King, 1972. King won Album of the Year for Tapestry, Record of the Year for the classy break-up song "It's Too Late" and Song of the Year for the gentle "You've Got A Friend." King was also 29 at the time. James Taylor and Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway both had big hits in 1971 with the latter song.
Christopher Cross, 1981. The Texan won Album of the Year for Christopher Cross and Record and Song of the Year for the hypnotic "Sailing." He, too, was 29 at the time. (That's obviously a good age for creativity.) Cross also won Best New Artist, giving him an unequalled sweep of the "Big Four" awards.
Eric Clapton, 1993. The rock legend won Album of the Year for Unplugged and Record and Song of the Year for the heartfelt "Tears In Heaven" (which he co-wrote with Will Jennings). Clapton was 47 at the time, making him the oldest artist to win the Triple Crown in one night.
Dixie Chicks, 2007. The country trio won Album of the Year for Taking The Long Way and Record and Song of the Year for "Not Ready To Make Nice" (which they co-wrote with Dan Wilson). The Chicks are the only group to win the Triple Crown in one night. Martie Maguire was 37 at the time, Emily Robison was 34 and Natalie Maines, whose harsh comment about President Bush triggered the backlash that led to this strong show of support, was 32.
Adele, 2012. I'm projecting here, but I think 21 is a lock for Album of the Year, while "Rolling In The Deep" (which she co-wrote with Paul Epworth) is unbeatable for Record and Song of the Year. Adele is 23.
Now for the near-misses. First up: Here are four artists who won Album, Record and Song of the Year, but not all in the same year.
Henry Mancini. Mancini won Album of the Year in 1959 for Music From Peter Gunn, which was among the first TV soundtracks to reach #1. He won Record and Song of the Year twice: in 1962 for the gorgeous "Moon River" and in 1964 for the poignant "Days Of Wine And Roses." Mancini co-wrote both of those Oscar-winning movie songs with lyricist Johnny Mercer.
Billy Joel. Joel won Record and Song of the Year in 1979 for the creamy "Just The Way You Are," a warm expression of unconditional love. He won Album of the Year in 1980 for 52nd Street.
Michael Jackson. Jackson won Album of the Year and Record of the Year in 1984 for Thriller and its mega-hit "Beat It," respectively. He won Song of the Year in 1986 for the humanitarian anthem "We Are The World," which he co-wrote with Lionel Richie.
U2. U2 won Album of the Year in 1988 for The Joshua Tree. The band won Record and Song of the Year in 2001 for the exhilarating "Beautiful Day." That completed their non-simultaneous sweep of the "Big Three" categories, but, remarkably, they managed to do the whole thing a second time. They won Record of the Year in 2002 for "Walk On," Album of the Year in 2006 for How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb and Song of the Year in 2006 for "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own." Can they win all three prizes for a third time? Never bet against U2.
Next, here are three cases where an artist won both Album and Record of the Year, but they didn't write or co-write the winning song.
Natalie Cole, 1992. The second-generation star won Album of the Year for Unforgettable With Love and Record of the Year for a velvety remake of her father Nat "King" Cole's 1951 hit "Unforgettable." (Nat's vocal was dubbed in from a 1961 re-recording of his hit.) Irving Gordon wrote the song, which won as Song of the Year.
Santana, 2000. The veteran band won Album of the Year for Supernatural and Record of the Year for "Smooth," a propulsive collabo with Rob Thomas. Thomas and Itaal Shur co-wrote the song, which won as Song of the Year.
Norah Jones, 2003. Jones won Album of the Year for Come Away With Me and Record of the Year for the wistful and enigmatic "Don't Know Why." Jesse Harris wrote the song, which won as Song of the Year.