Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar were the big winners at the 58th annual Grammy Awards Monday night, with Swift picking up three trophies, including Album of the Year, for her smash 1989. With the win, Swift became the first female artist ever to win Album of the Year twice, following her 2010 win for Fearless.
“As the first woman to win Album of the Year twice, I want to say to all the young women out there: There are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame,” Swift said in her Album of the Year acceptance speech, a subtle reference to Kanye West’s claim that he made the singer famous. “But if you just focus on the work, and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you are going, you will look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you that put you there and that will be the greatest feeling in the world.”
Swift’s winning ways started immediately as the singer was awarded the very first Grammy in the pre-show ceremony, with 1989 garnering Best Pop Vocal Album. Prior to this year’s awards, Swift had nine Grammys in her trophy case; she upped that total by three by the time Music’s Biggest Night had ended. Swift, with seven nominations, was also recruited to open the show, with the singer delivering “Out of the Woods” in a sparkling jumpsuit alongside Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff on guitar.
Lamar, who led this year’s Grammy field with 11 nominations, took home five awards. The rapper opened the night with a sweep of rap categories, collecting Best Rap Album for To Pimp a Butterfly, Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for his “Alright” as well as Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for his “These Walls” featuring Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat. The rapper also filled the stage with an extraordinary, fiery and cathartic performance of “The Blacker the Berry,” “Alright” and a blistering new song.
Despite facing off in a number of the major categories, both Swift and Lamar were victors in the Best Music Video category, as the all-star video for Swift’s “Bad Blood” remix featuring the rapper won the Grammy.
Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” was another big winner, nabbing the prestigious Record of the Year as well as Best Pop Group/Duo Performance. In another major Grammy category, Meghan Trainor was named Best New Artist.
For the first time in three Grammys ceremonies, Ed Sheeran didn’t walk away empty-handed, as his “Thinking Out Loud” was named Song of the Year. Prior to that big award, Sheeran won his first Grammy thanks to a “Thinking Out Loud” victory in the Best Pop Solo Performance category that ended the British singer’s winless streak.
The music world endured the deaths of David Bowie, the Eagles’ Glenn Frey and Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister in recent months, and the Grammys remembered all three rock legends in separate tributes. Lady Gaga headlined a Bowie salute that found the Artpop singer performing a medley of “Space Oddity,” “Changes,” “Ziggy Stardust,” “Suffragette City,” “Rebel Rebel,” “Fashion,” “Fame,” “Let’s Dance” and “Heroes.”
Jackson Browne and the Eagles collaborated on Frey’s signature song “Take It Easy.” The Hollywood Vampires – the supergroup featuring Alice Cooper, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, actor Johnny Depp plus Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum – staged their first ever televised performance as they remembered Lemmy with “Ace of Spades” following a touching introduction from Dave Grohl. The Hollywood Vampires also debuted their original cut “As Bad as I Am.”
The Grammys also featured a tribute to B.B. King, with Bonnie Raitt, Gary Clark Jr. and Chris Stapleton honoring the blues legend who passed away in May 2015. Other unique Grammy performances found Miguel celebrating Michael Jackson’s 1979 LP Off the Wall, vocal group Pentatonix and Stevie Wonder remembering Earth, Wind and Fire’s Maurice White and a show-closing blowout that brought together Robin Thicke, Pitbull and Travis Barker.
Adele fought through early sound issues for a moving “All I Ask,” while Alabama Shakes showcased their Grammy-winning “Don’t Wanna Fight” and the cast of Hamilton performed via satellite from Broadway’s Richard Rodgers Theatre. Following the musical’s Grammy win, creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda delivered one of the Grammys’ greatest acceptance speech, delivering it as a rapped thank you list that included composers Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick alongside rappers Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac.
Lionel Richie, feted over the weekend as MusiCares’ Person of the Year, received an all-star, hits-filled medley from John Legend, Demi Lovato, Luke Bryan, Meghan Trainor and Tyrese before Richie joined in for “All Night Long.” Gwen Stefani also used the Grammy stage to film a music video for “Make Me Like You” during a commercial break. However, Rihanna’s Grammys performance was canceled at the last minute as the singer was placed on “vocal rest” due to bronchitis.
Although the four-time-nominated Chris Stapleton was shut out for Album of the Year, country’s breakout star still scored wins for Best Country Album (Traveller) and Best Country Solo Performance (“Traveller”); however, Stapleton lost out to Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” in the Best Country Song category.
The Weeknd, another artist nominated for Album of the Year and the recipient of seven nominations total, found solace in a Best R&B Performance win for “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)” and Best Urban Contemporary Album for Beauty Behind the Madness. A tux-wearing Abel Tesfaye also treated the crowd to a medley of his Record of the Year-nominated “Can’t Feel My Face” and a low-key, piano-led take on “In the Night.” D’Angelo and the Vanguard’s acclaimed Black Messiah earned Best R&B Album while “Really Love” claimed Best R&B Song.
Of the over 75 Grammys awarded on Sunday, only eight were televised, meaning much of the hardware was distributed in a pre-ceremony event. Jack Ü (Skrillex and Diplo) and Justin Bieber’s “Where Are Ü Now” nabbed Best Dance Recording – the first Grammy win of Bieber’s career – with the dance duo’s Skrillex And Diplo Present Jack Ü also taking home Best Dance/Electronic Album. On the Grammy broadcast, Bieber and Jack Ü played their hit single together after Bieber opened the performance with an acoustic “Love Yourself.”
In the rock categories, Alabama Shakes picked up their first three Grammys for Best Alternative Album (Sound & Color) and Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song (“Don’t Wanna Fight”). Muse’s Drones nabbed Best Rock Album, while mysterious metal outfit Ghost won Best Metal Performance for “Cirice”; the band showed up in their full papal attire to accept the award.
Other notable pre-ceremony Grammys included Bob Dylan and the Band’s comprehensive The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 taking home Best Historical Album, Maria Schneider winning Best Arrangement, Instruments And Vocals for her work on the Nothing Has Changed version of David Bowie’s “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)” and Roger Waters’ Amused to Deathreissue earning Best Surround Sound Album.
Jack White’s Third Man Records was also honored with Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package for The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records, Volume Two (1928-32), while Joni Mitchell was awarded Best Album Notes for her Love Has Many Faces compilation.
Elsewhere, Louis C.K. won his second Best Comedy Album Grammy for Live at Madison Square Garden. Common and John Legend’s Oscar-winning Selma song “Glory” won the Grammy for Best Song Written For Visual Media, with Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me scooping up Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media. Mavis Staples’ Blind Lemon Jefferson cover “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean'” (Best American Roots Performance) and Buddy Guy’s Born to Play Guitar (Best Blues Album) were also early winners.