Not going to lie, I’m a bit to young to remember this happening, but my goodness it’s pretty incredible.
Back in 1998, a strange thing happened at the Grammy’s.
The two different performances of the same song were nominated for the same award at the same time.
Excuse me, what? I know that’s a lot, so let’s break it down.
Written by Diane Warren (hell of a year for her bank account I 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 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 radio on May 23, 1997.
Side note, I have to go back and watch Con Air. It’s long haired Nicolas Cage as a former Army Ranger who gets arrested for murder of a man who tried to assault his wife (oddly enough named Tricia, spelled different but still…). As you’d guess, he 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, culminating with both LeAnn and Trisha’s version being nominated for the Female Country Vocal Performance Grammy in 1998.
Commercially, Rimes’ cut did better 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). Rime’s version was certified 3x Platinum and set 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 ACM and CMA Female Vocalist of the Year, but it could have been much better if not for some plain old negligent mismanagement by MCA Records.
Trisha’s single shot up the pop charts to Number 23, fueled by strong sales (back when you could only buy whatever physical copies were available) but after the limited run of 300,000 sold out, MCA refused to release anymore. Why, you may ask? 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 purposefully limiting the availability of copies robbed Trisha from much greater success.
But the real question is, who ended up winning the Grammy?
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?