Sam Smith
Sam Smith with his four Grammys. Photo courtesy of Grammy Awards

English singer-songwriter Sam Smith dominated the 57th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, scoring prizes for record and song of the year for his hit “Stay With Me,” best pop vocal album for “In the Lonely Hour” and best new artist.

Smith was denied a sweep of the Grammys’ top four awards by Beck, who won album of the year for “Morning Phase,” which was also named best rock album.

When he picked up the first of his four awards on the night, for best new artist, he shouted, “Mom and dad, I won a Grammy!” By his third trip to the stage at Staples Center, he said, “I’m having a really, really good night.”

Smith made headlines in the weeks before the Grammys by giving Tom Petty a songwriting credit for “Stay With Me” to resolve a copyright dispute over its similarity with Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.” Petty called the similarity between the tunes a “musical accident.”

Smith said while accepting one of his awards that he was making “awful music” while struggling to get his work heard.

He said it was only when “I started to be myself that the music started to flow and people started to listen.”

Beck’s win for album of the year was a bit of a surprise. In addition to his producing team and bandmates, he gave thanks to his family.

“We made this record at my house for the most part, so I’d like to thank my kids for letting me keep them awake for a little longer,” he said.

Pharrell Williams managed to defeat Smith in another key category when he won the Grammy for best pop vocal performance for his signature hit, “Happy.”

“I was so prepared for everybody else that is so talented in that category to walk away with that award,” he said. “I’m honored be grouped with them. They are all great artists.”

On the day, Williams won a total of three Grammys. During the pre- telecast portion of the awards, he won best urban contemporary album for “Girl” and best music video for “Happy.”

Beyonce was also a triple winner on the day. She won best R&B performance during the televised portion of the show for “Drunk in Love.” The song earlier won best R&B song, and her self-titled album was named best surround sound album.

Accepting the prize for R&B performance, she thanked husband Jay Z, saying, “I love you deep.” She also sent love to their daughter, Blue Ivy.

Miranda Lambert, meanwhile, won the Grammy for best country album for “Platinum.”

The Grammy ceremony featured 23 musical performances stretched over the three-and-a-half-hour telecast, which opened with rockers AC/DC. Also among those performing were Madonna, Beck, Smith with Mary J. Blige, Eric Church, Common with John Legend, Ariana Grande, Annie Lennox and a teaming of Rihanna, Kanye West and Paul McCartney.

Also during the ceremony, President Barack Obama delivered a videotaped message to the crowd calling for an end to violence against women.

“Together we can change our culture for the better by ending violence against women and girls,” Obama said. “… It’s not OK, and it has to stop.”

Obama said musicians “have a unique power to change minds and attitudes.”

“All of us in our own lives have the power to set an example,” he said.

— City News Service

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