Idol Chatter

With the Grammy Awards coming up Sunday, I got to thinking that of all of the plethora of categories and veritable cornucopia of nominated songs, the event is missing what I’d consider to be the most important and relevant category.
Where is the “Most Inspirational Song” category?
I mean, think about it. For a single song, there is “Record of the Year,” which goes to the Producer and Engineers; “Song of the Year,” which rewards the song writer; “Album of the Year” (even though we don’t have actual record albums anymore!) which rewards the other producer and engineers; there is “Best Vocal Performance,” which goes to the artists, and also “New Artist of the Year” if it’s a rookie.
There are awards for many different genres (Pop, Hard Rock, Metal, Instrumental, Country, Rap, etc.) and there are rewards for individuals as well as collaborations and groups. And there are “Christian” and “Gospel” categories.
Yes, there’s a lot. But for so many people, music is a place one goes to find inspiration, and there doesn’t seem to be a category that captures that. Whether a song is overtly religious or sublimely spiritual, whether it is resonates in the heights or delves to the depths, whether it is dramatic or traumatic and whether it is empathetic or a charge to action I believe the grand moment of the night would be to have one category that simply asks which song inspired us the most.
Believe it or not, there actually was a “Most Inspirational” category up through 1986, existing previously under several different names. Elvis Presley won in 1968 for “How Great Thou Art.” Jake Hess won in 1971 for “Everything is Beautiful” in 1971. B.J. Thomas won in 1982 for “Amazing Grace.” Other winners included Donna Summer, Barbara Mandrell and Debby Boone.
But while those songs really trended towards the religious side of things, I think there have been many since then that have been deeply inspiring. I’d love it if more young musicians and industry professionals would aim for songs which inspire. A lot do already.
If the category existed this year, I’d nominate Dave Matthews’ “Funny the Way It Is,” which inquires about class structures and the existence of God; Seal’s version of “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” exploring commitment in a relationship; Stevie Wonder’s “All About the Love Again,” expressing most of our hopes for what the world could be like, and Bruce Springsteen’s’ “Workin’ on a Dream,” especially if the official submission was the concert version.
Those are mine. What are yours? Which songs inspired you the most? It’d be a tough category to even get nominations for. But that’s the point. Songs aim to inspire. We should recognize and reward them, perhaps even at the culmination of the night. I’d stay up for that!

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