British soul singer Adele has scooped six Grammys, winning every category in which she was nominated, including album of the year for 21 and best record with Rolling In the Deep.
Adele underwent surgery on her vocal cords late last year and had been resting her voice on doctor's orders until music's biggest night.
The British singer, 23, took the stage to belt out Rolling In the Deep and finished to a standing ovation.
Adele claimed three of the music industry's top awards - album, record and song of the year - and added best pop solo performance, pop vocal and short video to her stack of trophies.[image:4604:half:right]
The Grammys opened with tributes to the star Whitney Houston, who died suddenly on Saturday. She was remembered by fellow artists in acceptance speeches and songs.
Jennifer Hudson sang Houston's signature hit, I Will Always Love You, and Grammy host LL Cool J offered a prayer for Houston's family, friends and fans.
Another poignant moment came when Mitch and Janis Winehouse, parents of the late singer Amy Winehouse who died of excessive drinking in 2011, accepted the award for best pop duo or group performance - Amy Winehouse and Tony Bennett for Body and Soul.
Apart from Adele, other major Grammy winners included country's Taylor Swift, who picked up Grammys for solo performance and country song with Mean, which she performed to a standing ovation.
She had been expected to take best country album, too, but Lady Antebellum took that prize with Own the Night.
The other big surprise came when indie folk band Bon Iver took the Grammy for best new artist over rapper Nicki Minaj, who had been widely expected to win with hit album Pink Friday.
DJ Skrillex won two Grammys for best dance recording and top dance/electronica album with Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.
Jay-Z and Kanye West won best rap performance with their song Otis from the album Watch the Throne, but they failed to show up to claim their prize. West also won an award for best rap album with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
Chris Brown won the Grammy for best R&B album F.A.M.E.
Memorable moments came in a reunion of members of the Beach Boys and a lifetime award for Glen Campbell, who sang Rhinestone Cowboy. It could be Campbell's last appearance, after the 75-year-old was diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer's disease.
The Grammys - the word comes from Gramophone - are awarded by America's National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.