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Grammys 2013: Gotye's 'Somebody That I Used to Know' wins record of the year

February 10, 2013|By Todd Martens
  • Singers Gotye and Kimbra.
Singers Gotye and Kimbra. (Frederick M. Brown / Getty…)

Gotye's inescapable "Somebody That I Used to Know" featuring Kimbra won the Grammy for record of the year. The song, released in mid-2011, peaked in 2012 and has sold more than 7 million downloads in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. 

"Somebody That I Used to Know" introduced Gotye to American audiences, but the artist, whose real name is Wouter de Backer, has released several albums and had success in Australia before the release of his "Making Mirrors," the album on which "Somebody That I Used to Know" can be found. 

"Somebody That I Used to Know" was up against No. 1 singles that include Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" and Fun.'s "We Are Young" featuring Janelle Monáe. Also in consideration was Frank Ocean's low-key slow-burner "Thinkin Bout You."  Rounding out the field was the Black Keys' "Lonely Boy" and Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)," both of which peaked at No. 64 on the Hot 100. 

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In contrast to the song of the year, which recognizes songwriters, the record of the year is awarded to the performer, producer, engineer and mixer. Despite the emphasis on studio work, the category in recent years has focused primarily on more traditional songs rather than those that emphasize production.

Last year, when Adele dominated the Grammys, her "Rolling in the Deep" won record of the year. The year before, the prize went to Lady Antebellum's adult-pop number "Need You Now." The latter beat out a host of more tech-savy numbers, including tracks from B.o.B., Cee Lo Green, Rihanna and Jay-Z. 

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The record of year, in fact, has primarily been awarded to artists in the rock, country or folk fields. Recent winners include King of Leon's "Use Somebody," "Please Read the Letter" from Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" and the Dixie Chicks' "Not Ready to Make Nice" Pure pop songs, be they from Lady Gaga, Beyoncé or Justin Timberlake, have largely been shut out. 

The Grammys are determined by about 13,000 voting members. The eligibility period for nominated recordings was Oct. 1, 2011, to Sept. 30, 2012. The ceremony is being held at Staples Center and telecast on CBS. It is broadcast live except for viewers on the West Coast. The latest headlines and any breaking news will be posted here on Pop & Hiss.

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