Adele capped off a "life-changing" year by winning six Grammys Sunday night, including record of the year and album of the year for 21.
By taking the two top awards, the British singer completes a journey that began with a painful breakup that led to the writing of a best-selling album and a punishing touring schedule that eventually took its toll on her vocal cords.
After a five-month rest, she was singing again at the Grammys gala, her first performance since last fall when she had vocal cord surgery.
The emotional singer was shaking as she accepted the final award of the night — album of the year — saying it has been a "life-changing" year for her.
Adele won Grammys for best solo vocal performance for Someone Like You and song of the year for Rolling in the Deep, both hits from her album, 21. She also took best pop album 21 and best short form video for Rolling in the Deep.
The Foo Fighters racked up five Grammys Sunday night, coming close to Adele but losing out on the biggest awards. They earned best rock album for Wasting Light, best hard rock/metal performance for White Limo and best rock performance for the song Walk.
As he accepted the award for best performance, Foo Fighters lead singer Dave Grohl talked about the band's decision to record Wasting Light in a garage with a microphone and tape machine.
"This shows the human element of making music is what’s important," Grohl said, of the award. "Singing into a microphone, learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that's the most important thing for people to do.
"It's not about being perfect. It's not about sounding absolutely correct. It's not about what goes on in a computer. It's about what goes on in here (your heart) and what goes on here (your head). ... Long live rock `n' roll!"
Kanye West had seven nominations going into the Grammys and earned four. He took best rap song for All the Lights and best rap album for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, as well as a best performance award for Otis, his collaboration with Jay-Z. He was not in attendance to accept his awards.
Remembering Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston's untimely death Saturday at the Beverly Hills Hotel cast a pall over the Grammy gala, with artists paying tribute to her as they walked the red carpet and accepted early awards.
Host LL Cool J opened the ceremony with a prayer for the late singer.
"There is no way around this. We've had a death in our family," he said before leading the audience in prayer to "our fallen sister, Whitney Houston."
The cause of Houston's death has yet to be determined.
Toronto's Melanie Fiona wins
Toronto R&B singer Melanie Fiona collected two Grammys for Fool for You, her collaboration with Cee Lo Green. She also gave a shout-out to Houston in the pre-telecast gala.
"Whitney Houston, I would not be standing up here if it were not for you. Thank you very much," she said.
Backstage, she recalled hearing Houston's songs as a child.
"Whitney Houston is the first voice and memory I have of music," she said. "My mom used to play her for me to fall asleep in the crib. Hers was the first song I ever sang. She has been an inspiration to me throughout my entire career, for her presence as an artist, her voice, and what she was able to do and the way she made people feel."
Other Canadian performers did not fare as well — Deadmau5, Drake and Sum 41 were shut out in their categories.
Award for Arcade Fire package
Montreal's Caroline Robert was an early Canadian winner for best recording package for her design of the deluxe re-release of Arcade Fire's The Suburbs. Arcade Fire’s disc won album of the year at last year's Grammys.
Her deluxe version of the album included two added tracks, a DVD copy of the Spike Jonze-directed short film Scenes from the Suburbs and an 80-page booklet featuring stills from the film, behind-the-scenes photos and lyrics.
Robert, originally from Lyon, France, was not present at Sunday's show to claim her award.
The Grammy show began with performances by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band and Bruno Mars.
The evening then became a feast of good vibrations, with feel-good performances such as the Beach Boys reunion, in which the remaining band members sang Surfer Girl and Wouldn’t It Be Nice along with Foster the People and Maroon 5. It was the first performance for 20 years Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine and culminated with a rendition of their hit Good Vibrations.
Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift on stage
Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift also gave performances. Swift was a two-time winner on the night, earning best country song and performance for Mean.
Coldplay appeared alongside Rihanna, and Foo Fighters took to an outdoor stage to serenade people outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Glen Campbell sang with The Band Perry and other young country stars, in a tribute that acknowledged his long career.
Chris Brown was granted two performances, one with Deadmau5, his first Grammy appearance since 2009, when his attack on Rihanna sent his career into a tailspin. Brown made a comeback in 2011 and now appears to be back in Grammy good graces.
Brown won the award for best R&B album for F.A.M.E. and alternative group Bon Iver were named best new artist.
Then Jennifer Hudson was back with a full tribute to Houston, one of her idols.
Selected Grammy winners
Best album: 21, Adele
Best recording: 21, Adele
Best pop album: 21, Adele.
Best dance/electronica album: Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, Skrillex
Best rock album: Wasting Light, Foo Fighters
Best rap album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West
Best opera recording: Doctor Atomic, Metropolitan Opera
Best classical instrumental: Schwantner: Concerto For Percussion & Orchestra
Best classical vocal: Diva Divo, Joyce DiDonato
Best jazz vocal: The Mosaic Project, Terri Lyne Carrington & Various Artists
|Best jazz instrumental: Forever, Chick Corea, Clarke & White|
|Best children's album: All About Bullies... Big And Small|
Best musical theatre: The Book of Mormon
|Best R&B album: F.A.M.E., Chris Brown|
|Best country album: Own the Night, Lady Antebellum|
Best alternative album: Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Best new artist: Bon Iver
Best world album: Tassili, Tinariwen
American electronic music producer Skrillex won three Grammys in the pre-telecast awards ceremony Sunday, shutting out Canada’s Deadmau5.
Skrillex gets 3 Grammys
Skrillex, whose real name is Sonny John Moore, described living in an illegal apartment a year ago, when he released his album More Monsters and Sprites as a free download.
He hailed the internet for the creative freedom it gives to artists as he won the Grammys for dance recording, remix recording and electronic recording. But he gave a shoutout to Deadmau5, the DJ from Niagara Falls, Ont.
"And Deadmau5, thanks for signing us to your label," said the L.A. dubstep producer. "I love you Joel. You should have worn a tux though man, c'mon."Others honoured in early going included Paul McCartney, who won best historical album for a re-release of Band on the Run.
Another veteran singer on the podium was Tony Bennett, who won best traditional pop album for Duets II, which he created with artists such as Lady Gaga, k.d. lang and Amy Winehouse.
"This is my 16th Grammy — isn’t that wonderful. I want to thank everybody that participated in this album. They’re all amazing young artists with their career ahead of them," Bennett said as he accepted his award. "It’s the first album I ever had that went to No. 1 in Billboard."
Remembering Amy Winehouse
His single with Winehouse, Body and Soul, won best pop duo performance. The late singer's parents, Mitch and Janis, were on hand to collect the award on her behalf.
"We shouldn't be here. Our darling daughter should be here," Mitch Winehouse said, explaining how proud Amy had been to record Body and Soul, one of his favourite songs.
"We miss our daughter so much and she is pushing us all the time" in the work of her foundation, he added.
Johnny Depp did not perform at the Grammys Sunday. The Johnny Depp lookalike who appeared was John Paul White of musical group The Civil Wars.