David Bowie, Adele Dominate the Grammy Awards

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David Bowie and his wife, Iman, with Adele in 2008. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
David Bowie and his wife, Iman, with Adele in 2008. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

England made its presence felt at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards, which were held Sunday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Two English artists, Adele and the late David Bowie, were the night’s biggest winners, taking five and four Grammys, respectively. And English comedian James Corden hosted the show for the first time.

Acclaimed hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper won three awards. Beyoncé won two, fewer than expected.

Adele became the first artist in Grammy history to sweep the “Big Three” awards — Album, Record, and Song of the Year — twice. She won for her album 25 and its smash single “Hello.” She won five years ago for her album 21 and its giant hit “Rolling in the Deep.”

Adele beat Beyoncé in all three of these categories, and also in a fourth category, Best Pop Vocal Performance. Adele was heavily favored to win in three of these categories, but many expected Beyoncé to take Album of the Year.

Adele became the first artist to win Album of the Year with back-to-back studio albums since Stevie Wonder took the award with three consecutive albums in the 1970s. Adele also won Best Pop Vocal Album. This boosts her career Grammy tally to 15. Adele also became the first woman in Grammy history to win Song of the Year twice.

Beyoncé won Best Urban Contemporary Album for Lemonade and Best Music Video for “Formation.” This pushes her career Grammy total to 22 — ever closer to Alison Krauss’s record of 27 for a female artist. But just one of those 22 awards came in one of the marquee categories.

Bowie won four Grammys for his final studio album, Blackstar, which was released two days before his death in January 2016. He won Best Alternative Music Album and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, for co-engineering the album. He also won Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance for the title track. This nearly equaled Ray Charles’s record for the most Grammys won posthumously in one night (five). Believe it or not, Bowie won just one competitive Grammy in his lifetime — a 1984 award for a video collection.

Greg Kurstin, who produced and co-wrote “Hello,” also won four Grammys — Album, Record, and Song of the Year for his work with Adele and Producer of the Year, Non-Classical. The latter category recognizes his work with not only Adele, but also Sia, featuring Sean Paul, Ellie Goulding, and Tegan and Sara.

Chance the Rapper won three awards. He took Best New Artist, Best Rap Album for Coloring Book and Best Rap Performance for “No Problem” (featuring Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz). The 23-year-old is the first male solo rapper to win as Best New Artist. Tone Loc, Puff Daddy, 50 Cent, Kanye West, Drake, J. Cole, and Kendrick Lamar were all nominated, but lost. And Coloring Book is the first album available only through streaming to win a Grammy.

Two of Chance’s wins were upsets. The Chainsmokers and Maren Morris were thought to have better odds in the Best New Artist category. And Drake’s Views, which was the year’s most popular album in terms of sales plus streaming, was thought to be the frontrunner for Best Rap Album.

Kanye West and Rihanna were shut out, despite eight nominations each. That set a new Grammy record for the noms in one night without a win. Both artists have won big in the past. West has won 21 Grammys. Rihanna has won eight.

Justin Bieber was also shut out, despite four nominations. The pop star won a Grammy a year ago for “Where Are Ü Now,” his collabo with Diplo and Skrillex.

Other artists who had multiple nominations but went home empty-handed include Sia and Lukas Graham. Sia, who landed her first No. 1 hit (“Cheap Thrills”) last year, has yet to win a Grammy.

Beyoncé wasn’t the only musician to climb higher on the list of all-time winners. Composer John Williams won his 23rd Grammy for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Vince Gill won his 21st Grammy for Best American Roots Song for “Kid Sister.”

Drake won two awards, Best Rap Song and Best Rap/Sung Performance for “Hotline Bling.” The smash was released in the previous eligibility year, but wasn’t entered, due to a slip-up.

Other two-time winners were R&B star Lalah Hathaway (daughter of the late Donny Hathaway), Hillary Scott & the Scott Family (she’s the female member of the country trio Lady Antebellum) writer/producers Max Martin and Shellback, gospel star Kirk Franklin, jazz soloist John Scofield, folk artist Sarah Jarosz, arranger Jacob Collier, and composer Ted Nash, the leader of the jazz ensemble the Ted Nash Big Band.

Solange, Beyoncé’s younger sister, won her first Grammy for Best R&B Performance for “Cranes in the Sky.”

Megadeth, who released their first album in 1985, finally won their first Grammy for the title track to their album Dystopia. This was the 12th nomination for the Los Angeles band.

Sturgill Simpson won Best Country Album for A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. This is the second year in a row that a male artist has won in this category. Chris Stapleton won last year for Traveller.

Joey + Rory’s Hymns won for Best Roots Gospel Album. Joey Feek, the female half of the husband-and-wife duo, died in March 2016.

Willie Nelson won Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin. Nelson is the first artist who is best known for country music to win in this category. (Previous winners Patti Page and k.d. lang had some country success, but are best known for pop.)

Ziggy Marley, the eldest son of the late reggae legend Bob Marley, won Best Reggae Album for Ziggy Marley. It’s his eighth Grammy. This allows him to tie his younger brother Stephen Marley. A third brother, Damian Marley, has won three Grammys.

This is the third time that Beyoncé has lost Album of the Year. I Am…Sasha Fierce lost to Taylor Swift’s Fearless. Beyoncé lost to Beck’s Morning Phase. Beyoncé shouldn’t feel too bad. Eight other artists have received three or more Album of the Year noms without ever winning in the category. They are Sting (a four-time loser), Lady Gaga, Eminem, Radiohead, Kanye West, Mariah Carey, Don Henley, and Elton John. That’s an impressive roster. And Beyoncé just made it even more impressive.