LOS ANGELES — Sam Smith was the king of the Grammys, taking home three of the top four awards, including song and record of the year for “Stay With Me,” and best new artist, while Beck won album of the year.
“I want to thank the man who this record is about … Thank you so much for breaking my heart because I have four Grammys,” said Smith, who also won best pop vocal album for “In the Lonely Hour.”
Smith, along with Beyonce, Pharrell and Ed Sheeran, lost album of the year to Beck’s “Morning Phase,” which also won best rock album.
Kanye West, who famously interrupted Taylor Swift when she beat Beyonce at the MTV Video Music Awards, almost walked onstage when Prince announced Beck’s name. Some in the audience seemed shocked, from Pharrell to Questlove.
Beck’s album debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and sold about 300,000 units.
Pharrell and Rosanne Cash walked away with three awards each. Pharrell won best pop solo performance for a live version of “Happy,” released in 2013. He also won best music video for the song and best urban contemporary album for “G I R L,” beating Beyonce.
“I am going to moonwalk my way off the stage right now,” said Pharrell, wearing a blazer and shorts.
Pharrell’s performance of “Happy” was dramatic with background dancers in black, musicians in yellow and a choir in white.
When the chorus was supposed to come in, Lang Lang played the piano skillfully. Hans Zimmer also played the guitar.
“Thank you, God,” Pharrell, in a bell-boy hat, said at the end of the performance.
Rihanna gave an impressive vocal performance of “FourFiveSeconds” with Paul McCartney to her right and Kanye West to her left. Her hair was slicked back, and she rocked a black suit like her co-stars
Katy Perry, in all white, sang the ballad “By the Grace of God” after a woman who had been abused talked about getting help and moving on with her life. A video of President Barack Obama appeared before she spoke, and he encouraged artists to help out.
“It’s on us, all of us, to create a culture where violence isn’t tolerated,” he said.
Another serious moment came with Prince, who earned a standing ovation when he walked onstage to introduce album of the year.
“Albums — you remember those? They still matter. Like books and black lives, they still matter.”