Somewhere in England sits a man who was the unwitting inspiration for the biggest winner at the Grammy Awards. He’s the man who loved, and dumped, 22-year-old British soul singer Sam Smith. Smith’s yearning hit, ”Stay With Me,” won Grammys for song and record of the year and he was named best new artist – three of the four biggest awards the Grammys present each year. His album, ”In the Lonely Hour,” won best pop vocal album but lost to Beck for album of the year.
Still, not a bad haul.
While accepting his record of the year award, Smith said he wanted to thank the man he’s been in love with for the past year ”for breaking my heart, ’cause you got me four Grammy Awards.”
Backstage later, Smith said that ”I’ll be seeing him soon, so I can let him touch the Grammys – once.”
Asked what could top his night, Smith said, ”A boyfriend would be nice.”
Other memorable moments at Sunday’s 57th annual Grammy Awards:
He didn’t win any Grammys, but Kanye West predictably made his presence felt – and not just for bringing wife Kim Kardashian along to entertain the red carpet crew.
West performed a new song about his late mother, ”Only One,” on a nearly dark stage, illuminated by a light glowing from under his feet. He joined collaborators Rihanna and, yes, Paul McCartney for a performance of their new song, ”FourFiveSeconds.” And he made a joking reference to one of his most infamous moments, at an MTV Video Music Awards when he hijacked the stage from Taylor Swift to protest a prize he thought should have gone to Beyonce.
When Beck won album of the year, beating out Beyonce among others, Kanye climbed the stairs to the stage and stopped just short of the microphone, smiling and wagging his finger before swiftly exiting. Knowing music insiders roared with laughter.
”Come back. I need some help,” Beck said with a smile.
Beck’s award for album of the year was Sunday’s biggest surprise. His date mouthed, ”Oh, my god,” in hugging him after his name was announced and he looked a little shell-shocked walking up to the stage.
Beck’s ”Morning Phase” was a critical favorite, and it won best rock album. But it sold modestly and, at a time rock has receded in pop music’s firmament, he’d been overshadowed by fellow nominees Sam Smith, Pharrell and Beyonce. But Beck won the influential Grammy, and later was joined by Chris Martin for a performance.
Pharrell went home happy again.
The producer-performer won three Grammys, including best pop solo performance for a live version of his omnipresent hit, ”Happy.” He won best music video and best urban contemporary album.
”This is super awkward and I’m going to moonwalk my way off this stage right now,” he said after picking up one trophy.
Known for his headgear, Pharrell donned a bellboys’ cap to play ”Happy” in a collaboration with Lang Lang and Hans Zimmer.
She wasn’t offered a spotlight on the prime-time broadcast, but veteran singer Rosanne Cash went home with three Grammy Awards for American roots performance, American roots song and Americana album.
”Reagan was president last time I won a Grammy,” said Cash, a country star in the 1980s who now lives in New York and keeps away from boisterous mainstream country. ”I just showed up for work for 35 years and this is what happened.”
Country queen Miranda Lambert’s stage show shot off fireworks and she was briefly bleeped during her raucous performance of ”Little Red Wagon.” She won best country album for ”Platinum.”
The state of the world found a place on the Grammy stage. President Barack Obama appeared in a taped message, urging help for women who are abused, and a woman involved in a violent relationship talked about getting help. Katy Perry followed her to the stage and sang the ballad, ”By the Grace of God.”
Racial turmoil was referenced a handful of times, once by Prince when he came onstage to present the Grammy for album of the year.
”Albums, remember those?” he said. ”Like books and black lives, albums still matter.”
In a moving closing segment, Beyonce sang the spiritual ”Precious Lord, Take My Hand.” Common collaborated with John Legend on ”Glory,” Common’s song in the movie Selma, which referenced last summer’s racial unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.
Veteran Australian rockers AC/DC made for a somewhat odd choice to open the Grammys, performing a new song and the classic ”Highway to Hell.” Katy Perry and other audience members wore red horns in the audience to show support.
The night had several memorable performances. Usher did a spot-on Stevie Wonder imitation for ”If It’s Magic,” briefly joined by the master with his signature harmonica. A well-toned Madonna cavorted with men wearing bull masks and antlers on her new ”Living for Love.” Smith was joined by Mary J. Blige on ”Stay With Me” and Annie Lennox dueted with Hozier on ”Take Me to Church.”
None could top Australia’s Sia for comic effect, some of it probably planned. She avoids being photographed, so she sang ”Chandelier” in a bushy wig with a back to the audience with dancers replicating her music video, including surprise guest Kristen Wiig.
Veteran comic Joan Rivers won her first Grammy, in the spoken word category for ”Diary of a Mad Diva.” Sadly, it was a posthumous award. Daughter Melissa Rivers collected the trophy.
”If my mother was here tonight, she would not only be honored and thrilled to be holding her first Grammy,” Rivers said. ”She would most likely have it copied and on the air on QVC by 11.”