Bonnie Raitt’s face said it all: She was shocked to win 2023 Grammys’ song of the year

Bonnie Raitt, holding her Grammy, speaks at a microphone.
Bonnie Raitt accepts a Grammy at Sunday’s ceremony.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

A “surprised” and “totally humbled” Bonnie Raitt received the Grammy Award on Sunday for song of the year.

The legendary singer appeared stunned when she won the prize for her song “Just Like That” and got a standing ovation from the crowd at Los Angeles’ Arena. During her acceptance speech, she paid tribute to renowned folk musician John Prine, who died in April 2020 of COVID-19 complications.

Throughout her decades-long career, Raitt has been a Grammys darling — amassing 13 wins and dozens of nominations. In his 2023 Grammys predictions, Times pop music critic Mikael Wood called 73-year-old Raitt “stiff competition” in the song of the year category with “a moving and complex tale of a mother’s encounter with the recipient of her late son’s transplanted heart.”


The 2023 Grammy winners were revealed in 91 categories. Beyoncé became the most-decorated Grammy musician ever.

Feb. 5, 2023

Nominated alongside “Just Like That” in the song of the year category were “abcdefu” (Gayle), “About Damn Time” (Lizzo), “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” (Taylor Swift), “As It Was” (Harry Styles), “Bad Habit” (Steve Lacy), “Break My Soul” (Beyoncé), “Easy on Me” (Adele), “God Did” (DJ Khaled) and “The Heart Part 5” (Kendrick Lamar).

Raitt also took home this year’s Grammy Awards for American roots song (“Just Like That”) and Americana performance (“Made Up Mind”).

Read our live coverage of the 2023 Grammy Awards, as they happened.

Feb. 5, 2023

Below is her full acceptance speech.

Oh, my gosh. Oh, I’m so surprised. I don’t know what to say. This is just an unreal moment. Thank you for honoring me, to all the academy that surrounds me with so much support and appreciates the art of songwriting as I do. I was so inspired for this song by the incredible story of the love and the grace and the generosity of someone that donates their beloved’s organs to help another person live, and the story was so simple and so beautiful for these times.

And people have been responding to the song partly because of how much I love and we all love John Prine, and that was the inspiration for the music for this song and telling a story from the inside. ... I don’t write a lot of songs, but I’m so proud that you appreciate this one and what this means for me and for the rest of the songwriters. ...

I would not be up here tonight if it wasn’t for the art of the great, soul-digging, hard-working people that put these songs and ideas to music. So I thank my team for helping me get this record out. And thank you so much. I’m just totally humbled. I really appreciate it. Thank you.