It wasn’t such a lonely hour for Sam Smith, or more accurately, not such a lonely three and half hours. Smith now has four GRAMMY Awards to keep him company, though he narrowly missed becoming only the second male artist to sweep the four general categories (Christopher Cross remains the only one to accomplish that feat).
Smith’s haul included Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year (the latter with co-writers James Napier and William Phillips) for “Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)” as well as Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Album for In The Lonely Hour. “It was only until I started to be myself that the music started to flow and people started to listen,” Smith said while collecting the Best Pop Vocal Album award.
Three-time GRAMMY winners for the night included Beyoncé (Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song for “Drunk In Love” and Best Surround Sound Album for Beyoncé); Pharrell Williams (Best Pop Solo Performance for “Happy [Live], “Best Urban Contemporary Album for Girl and Best Music Video for “Girl”); and engineer Bob Ludwig, who was awarded for work on Beck’s Morning Phase and Beyoncé’s Beyoncé.
Also winning three awards was roots artist Rosanne Cash (Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song for A Feather’s Not A Bird and Best Americana Album for The River & The Thread). “The last time I won a GRAMMY [Ronald] Regan was president,” Cash laughed when accepting during the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony.
Beck won Album Of The Year, as well as Best Rock Album, for Morning Phase.
Other multiple winners included Chick Corea, Eminem, For King & Country, Kendrick Lamar, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez, and Jack White.
On a more somber note of celebration were wins for the recently deceased Joan Rivers (Best Spoken Word Album [Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling] for Diary Of A Mad Diva) and blues rock guitarist Johnny Winter (Best Blues Album for Step Back). Additionally, Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Glen Campbell, who is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease, won Best Country Song (along with co-writer Julian Raymond for “I’m Not Gonna Miss You”) but was not able to appear to accept the award.
Awards aside, the show was filled with 23 amazing performances, from the introduction of Rhianna’s new single “FourFiveSeconds” with Kanye West and Paul McCartney to AC/DC rocking the show open, with the likes of Beyoncé, Madonna, Pharrell Williams, Miranda Lambert, Adam Levine, and Gwen Stefani, among others, in between.
With its signature GRAMMY Moments, The Recording Academy regularly takes musical risks, this year pairing Ed Sheeran with Jeff Lynne’s ELO, teaming Beck with Coldplay’s Chris Martin, joining Annie Lennox with newcomer Hozier, and bringing Sam Smith and Mary J. Blige together for a mesmerizing performance. But the show often takes other kinds of risks as well, recognizing it can be a platform for important messaging. This year, President Barack Obama made a plea to stop domestic abuse, backed up by Katy Perry’s heartfelt song of empowerment, “By The Grace Of God.”
It was a fitting moment for Music’s Biggest Night, where celebration meets the recognition that music has a profound cultural impact.