Sam Smith, Beck Dominate Grammy Awards 2015
Sam Smith and Beck were the big winners at the 57th annual Grammy Awards, dominating the biggest categories on Music’s Biggest Night. At his first-ever Grammys, Smith converted four of his six nominations into wins, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year for “Stay With Me (Darkchild Remix),” while Beck’s Morning Phase scored a surprise victory in the Album of the Year category.
Smith set the winning tone early by claiming the first award of the night, Best New Artist, becoming the first British act since Adele in 2009 to win the honor. The Rolling Stone cover star was then handed the Best Pop Vocal Album Grammy for In the Lonely Hour. Smith’s perfect night was dashed when Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” won Best Pop Solo Performance, but the English singer returned to the stage to perform his breakthrough hit “Stay With Me” alongside Mary J. Blige on the Staples Center stage.
“This is the best night of my life,” Smith said after receiving Record of the Year. “I want to thank the man who this record is about, who I fell in love with last year. Thank you so much for breaking my heart because you won me four Grammys.”
Earlier in the day, Beck was shut out in both the Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance categories, but he later took home one of the Grammys’ most desired awards when his Sea Change quasi-sequel Morning Phase earned Album of the Year, upsetting heavy favorites like Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour and Beyoncé’s Beyoncé. In fact, Kanye West was so stunned that Beyoncé didn’t win that he briefly (and jokingly) crashed the stage, a nod to when he infamously interrupted Taylor Swift’s VMAs speech after she beat out “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” in 2009.
Morning Phase was Beck’s third LP to earn an Album of the Year nomination (alongside Odelay and Midnite Vultures) and also scored trophies for Best Rock Album and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. The ageless rocker, who received his Album of the Year Grammy from the similarly ageless Prince, also shared the stage with Coldplay’s Chris Martin for a duet of Morning Phase‘s “Heart Is a Drum.”
Even before Beyoncé entered the Staples Center, she had already won two Grammys in the pre-ceremony festivities: “Drunk in Love” locked up Best R&B Song (and later Best R&B Performance during the big show), plus Beyoncé was handed Best Surround Sound Album, with Beyoncé credited as “surround producer” on her self-titled LP.
Also in the pre-Grammy ceremony, Roseanne Cash won three Grammys while staging a clean sweep in the Americana categories: 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. As Cash joked during the first of her three consecutive acceptance speeches, this was her first Grammy win since Ronald Reagan’s presidency.
While only nine Grammy Awards were presented over the live ceremony’s three-and-a-half hours, the pre-ceremony featured plenty of surprises, including Aphex Twin’s Syro winning in the Best Dance/Electronic Album category and Jack White pocketing a pair of awards, one for Best Rock Performance thanks to “Lazaretto” as well as an unlikely victory in the Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package for his role as art director on The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records, Volume One (1917-27).
The late Joan Rivers won a posthumous Grammy as her Diary of a Mad Diva took the Best Spoken Word Album category. “Weird Al” Yankovic won his fourth career Grammy as Mandatory Fun succeeded in the Best Comedy Album, the satirist’s first win in the category since 2004. Elsewhere, Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament (and Eddie Vedder, using his pseudonym “Jerome Turner”) won Best Recording Package for their Lightning Bolt.
Max Martin was named Producer of the Year on the strength of his work on Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” and Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj’s “Bang Bang,” just to name some of his Grammy-eligible singles. Remarkably, despite a two-decade run as one of pop music’s greatest producers that dates back to the Backstreet Boys’ “Quit Playing Games With My Heart,” the win marked Martin’s first ever Grammy.