Not going to lie, I’m a bit to young to remember this happening, but my goodness it’s pretty incredible.
In 1998, two songs were nominated for a Grammy in the same category, except it was two different performances of the SAME song.
Written by Diane Warren (hell of a year for her bank account I would assume), “How Do I Live” was originally recorded by LeAnn Rimes for her sophomore album You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs, but a version of the song was also recorded for the Con Air movie soundtrack by Trisha Yearwoodin the same year.
The recordings and releases were done around the same time and both versions were sent to the radio on May 23, 1997.
Side note, have to go back and watch Con Air, it’s long haired Nicolas Cage as a former Army Ranger who’s arrested for killing a guy who attempted to assault his wife (oddly enough named Tricia, spelled different but still…) and gets mixed up in a crazy plot of cons, agents, undercover officers and drug king pins.
A bad, yet great, Nick Cage masterpiece.
Anyway, as you probably well know, the song is phenomenal and both ladies turned out incredible, soul-stirring versions which got tons of attention, including both LeAnn and Trisha’s version being nominated for the Female Country Vocal Performance Grammy in 1998.
Rimes’ cut did better commercially by a large margin, probably due to her stronger foot in the pop world and some stupidity by Trisha’s record company (more on this later), being certified 3x Platinum and setting then records on the Billboard Hot 100 for most consecutive weeks Top 5 (25), most consecutive weeks Top 10 (32) and most weeks on the charts (69).
The song also lead to a banner year for Trisha, which included an ACM and CMA Female Vocalist of the Year, but it could have been much better if not for some plain old fuckery by MCA Records.
Trisha shot up the pop charts to Number 23 fueled by strong sales (this is when you could only buy how many physical copies were available) but after the limited run of 300,000 sold out, MCA refused to release anymore to not take away from possible album sales and she fell off the Hot 100 after 12 weeks. The song did go to Number 2 on the Country Radio charts, but the purposefully limiting of the singles potential robbed Trisha from much greater success.
But the real question is, who ended up winning the Grammy in question?
In almost an “F You” to MCA, Ms. Trisha took home the Grammy for Female Country Vocal Performance on February 25th, 1998.
Obviously, both artists benefited greatly from this song and I doubt there’s any tension between the two of them, but how crazy that a song competed against itself for a Grammy?