Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift, 'Uptown Funk' win big at Grammys

RELATED STORY: Benson native conducted Grammy-winning song Rap luminary Kendrick Lamar was the big winner at the 58th Grammy Awards on Monday night, but he was denied an album of the year trophy by Taylor Swift, who prevailed for her smash hit "1989.

Little Big Town
Little Big Town performs “Girl Crush” Monday at the 58th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. (MARIO ANZUONI | REUTERS)


Benson native conducted Grammy-winning song

Rap luminary Kendrick Lamar was the big winner at the 58th Grammy Awards on Monday night, but he was denied an album of the year trophy by Taylor Swift, who prevailed for her smash hit "1989."

Swift and Kendrick were competitors in this year's Grammy race but also collaborators who shared the best music video award for "Bad Blood."

Accepting the top award for her late-2014 album, Swift noted that she is the lone woman to receive the honor twice; she collected the trophy for "Fearless" in 2010. Echoing the focus across the entertainment industry on diversity and inclusion, Swift struck a feminist note, urging young female artists to focus on hard work and pursuing goals without allowing others to "take credit" or discourage them.


"Someday when you get to where you been going you will look around and know that you got yourself there," Swift said.

Earlier in the day, during the Grammys' pre-telecast Premiere Ceremony, "1989" also received kudos as best pop vocal album.

Lamar drew a total of five statuettes. He swept up four awards (including the collaboration with Swift) at the afternoon ceremony, and continued his roll with the first award of the night, reaping best rap album for his widely lauded collection "To Pimp a Butterfly."

The rapper - whose statuette was presented by Compton homeboy Ice Cube and son O'Shea Jackson Jr. (who played his father in the N.W.A biopic "Straight Outta Compton") -- thanked his family and fellow rappers, declaring, "This for hip-hop."

However, the loss of Lamar's widely acclaimed album "To Pimp a Butterfly" to Swift's bestselling pop opus will likely re-awaken criticism of the Recording Academy's voting membership, which has consistently declined to hand top honors uncompromising rap in the general-field categories.

Producer-musician Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk," the radio ubiquity featuring singer Bruno Mars, was named record of the year. The award was shared by a platoon of producers and engineers that included Jeff Bhasker, who also drew non-classical producer of the year honors.

Meghan Trainor tearfully accepted the best new artist award. Her album "Title" reached No. 1 in 2015, and contained four hit singles, including her breakthrough "All About That Bass," nominated for Grammys as record and song of the year in 2015. She attained success as a performer after working as a songwriter in her teens.

English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran was the dark-horse winner for song of the year with "Thinking Out Loud," co-written with Amy Wadge. At the afternoon ceremony, former best new artist nominee Sheeran - who noted he had come up empty at the Grammys the previous three years - won best pop solo performance for the same number.


Chris Stapleton, 2015's breakthrough country artist, followed up his afternoon win for best country performance by receiving the best country album trophy for his album "Traveller." Stapleton came into his own last year after paying dues as a hit-crafting songwriter and working with the bluegrass band the Steeldrivers, who also collected a Grammy on Monday.

Alabama Shakes succeeded two afternoon wins by receiving the award for best rock performance, for "Don't Wanna Fight," which they also performed during the ceremony. The number earlier was recognized as best rock song, while the group's sophomore set "Sound & Color" scored the best alternative music album trophy.

Even by past standards, this year's Grammys ceremony, hosted by LL Cool J at Staples Center, was performance-heavy and awards-light: Only eight of the 83 awards were handed out during the nighttime show, an all-time low. The rest were dispensed at the early afternoon ceremony held at the Nokia Theatre.

Tribute programming abounded in the wake of a spate of recent music-biz mortalities. Saluting the late Glenn Frey, who died in January, surviving Eagles members Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, Joe Walsh, Steuart Smith and Timothy B. Schmitt were joined by the band's longtime friend and collaborator Jackson Browne. The ensemble performed the group's first single and hit "Take It Easy," co-authored by Browne and Frey.

Taking the stage with a crimson coiffure inspired by David Bowie's early look, Lady Gaga - an Oscar nominee for best original song this year -- paid splashy homage to the many incarnations of Bowie, another January passing, with a medley of 10 of his best-known songs. She was joined by guitarist-producer Nile Rodgers, producer of Bowie's 1983 album "Let's Dance."

Stevie Wonder and a cappella unit Pentatonix saluted Earth, Wind & Fire leader Maurice White with a rendition of the group's signature song "That's the Way of the World." EWF - whose surviving members presented the album of the year trophy -- was honored with a 2016 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, announced before White's death on Feb. 4.

The debut TV appearance by Hollywood Vampires (the collective featuring Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Guns 'N Roses' Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum and Aerosmith's Joe Perry) was capped by a noisy slice of Motorhead's "Ace of Spades"; the English band's front man Lemmy Kilmister died on Dec. 28. Introducing the performance, the ubiquitous Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters paid tribute to Lemmy and his recently deceased band mate Phil Taylor, saying, "Lemmy was rock 'n' roll."

Pop/R&B luminary Lionel Richie, this year's MusiCares Person of the Year honoree, received a cross-genre tribute in a medley featuring Trainor, John Legend, Demi Lovato, Luke Bryan, Tyrese Gibson. Richie himself stepped from the audience and joined the ensemble for his "All Night Long."


The top nominees all garnered tube time. Swift opened the show with her "1989" track "Out of the Woods," stepping into the middle of the audience for an in-the-round climax on a small circular stage. Pop/R&B star the Weeknd sang a medley of his hits "Can't Feel My Face" and "In the Night." On a jailhouse set, and later in front of an enormous onstage bonfire, Lamar did a highly theatrical, show-stopping reading of the "To Pimp a Butterfly" tracks "The Blacker the Berry" and "Alright."

Stapleton, who was also up for album of the year, joined Bonnie Raitt and Texas blues guitarist Gary Clark Jr. for "The Thrill is Gone," in tribute to blues legend B.B. King, who died last May.

Brit pop vocalist Adele, a likely big winner at next year's ceremony, returned to the Grammysstage to perform "All I Ask," a track from her mega-hit album "25," which has sold more than 8 million units since its November release. The singer, who performed a fans-only show at the Wiltern Theatre on Feb. 12, visibly struggled to hit some of her notes as she also grappled with a microphone glitch at the outset of her performance. She has sold out six August shows at Staples Center.

During the telecast, CBS late-night host (and two-time Grammy winner) Stephen Colbert introduced a number from the hit musical "Hamilton," performed live on the stage of New York's Richard Rodgers Theatre and remote-aired. Later in the show, Lin-Manuel Miranda's historical tuner collected the trophy for best musical theater album; the network cut to a live presentation at the Gotham theater.

Rihanna, scheduled for an on-stage performance, cancelled at the last minute. A statement from the singer's physician said she had been prescribed 48 hours of vocal rest after her rehearsal on Monday afternoon and was at risk of hemorrhaging her vocal cords.

In an only-in-LA mishap, hip-hop star Lauryn Hill had been expected to perform with the Weeknd on the telecast but battled freeway traffic and couldn't get back to the downtown L.A. venue in time for the show, Recording Academy chief Neil Portnow confirmed in his backstage remarks to reporters.

"She came to dress rehearsal this morning, left the building, and then did not make it back in time to make the show," Portnow said. "It was unfortunate for us, unfortunate for her. We were ready up until the moment of the downbeat of that performance to have her on the show."

Winners list: 

Record Of The Year: “Uptown Funk” - Mark Ronson Featuring Bruno Mars (WINNER)
Best New Artist: Meghan Trainor (WINNER) Courtney Barnett James Bay Sam Hunt Tori Kelly
Best Rock Performance: “Don’t Wanna Fight” - Alabama Shakes (WINNER)
Best Musical Theater Album: Hamilton - Daveed Diggs, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Jonathan Groff, Christopher Jackson, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom, Jr., Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos & Phillipa Soo, principal soloists; Alex Lacamoire, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bill Sherman, Ahmir Thompson & Tarik Trotter, producers; Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer & lyricist (Original Broadway Cast) (WINNER)

Song Of The Year: “Thinking Out Loud” - Ed Sheeran & Amy Wadge, songwriters (Ed Sheeran) (WINNER) “Alright”
Best Country Album: Traveller - Chris Stapleton (WINNER)
Best Rap Album: To Pimp A Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar (WINNER)
Best Pop Vocal Album: 1989 - Taylor Swift (WINNER)
Best Urban Contemporary Album: Beauty Behind The Madness - The Weeknd (WINNER)
Best Dance/Electronic Album: Skrillex And Diplo Present Jack U - Skrillex And Diplo (WINNER)
Best R&B Album: Black Messiah - D’Angelo And The Vanguard (WINNER)
Best Rock Album: Drones - Muse (WINNER)
Best Alternative Music Album: Sound & Color - Alabama Shakes (WINNER)
Best Jazz Vocal Album: For One To Love - Cecile McLorin Salvant (WINNER)
Best Latin Pop Album: A Quien Quiera Escuchar (Deluxe Edition) - Ricky Martin (WINNER)
Best Music Film: Amy - Amy Winehouse (WINNER)
Best Country Solo Performance: “Traveller” - Chris Stapleton (WINNER)
Best Dance Recording: “Where Are U Now” - Skrillex And Diplo With Justin Bieber (WINNER)
Best Song Written For Visual Media: “Glory” (Selma) - Lonnie Lynn, Che Smith & John Stephens, songwriters (Common & John Legend) (WINNER)
Best R&B Performance: “Earned It (Fifty Shades Of Grey)” - The Weeknd (WINNER)
Best Americana Album: Something More Than Free - Jason Isbell (WINNER)
Best Blues Album: Born To Play Guitar - Buddy Guy (WINNER)
Best Reggae Album: Strictly Roots - Morgan Heritage (WINNER)
Best Contemporary Instrumental Album: Sylva - Snarky Puppy & Metropole Orkest (WINNER)
Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media: “Birdman” - Antonio Sanchez, composer (WINNER)
Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media: “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me” - (Various Artists) (WINNER)
Best Comedy Album: Live At Madison Square Garden - Louis C.K. (WINNER)
Best Gospel Album: Covered: Alive Is Asia [Live] (Deluxe) - Israel & Newbreed (WINNER)
Best Pop Solo Performance: “Thinking Out Loud” - Ed Sheeran (WINNER) “Heartbeat
Best R&B Song: “Really Love” - D’Angelo & Kendra Foster, songwriters (D’Angelo And The Vanguard) (WINNER)
Best Rock Song: “Don’t Wanna Fight” - Alabama Shakes, songwriters (Alabama Shakes) (WINNER)
Best Rap Song: “Alright” - Kendrick Duckworth, Mark Anthony Spears & Pharrell Williams, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar) Track from: To Pimp A Butterfly (WINNER)
Best Rap Performance: “Alright” - Kendrick Lamar (WINNER)
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: “These Walls” - Kendrick Lamar Featuring Bilal, Anna Wise & Thundercat (WINNER)
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: “Uptown Funk” - Mark Ronson Featuring Bruno Mars (WINNER) “
Best Metal Performance: “Cirice” - Ghost (WINNER)
Best Country Duo/Group Performance: “Girl Crush” - Little Big Town (WINNER)
Best Country Song: “Girl Crush” - Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna & Liz Rose, songwriters (Little Big Town) (WINNER)
Best Surround Sound Album: Amused To Death - James Guthrie, surround mix engineer; James Guthrie & Joel Plante, surround mastering engineers; James Guthrie, surround producer (Roger Waters) (WINNER)

Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga performs a medley of songs as a tribute to the late David Bowie with Bowie collaborator guitarist Nile Rogers Monday at the 58th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. (MARIO ANZUONI | REUTERS)

What To Read Next
Community and high school art events will be printed each Wednesday in this calendar up to two weeks in advance. The deadline is noon Friday. Items may be emailed to with “arts calendar item” in the subject line.
Exhibits on display in the next month
Original programs scheduled for broadcast on Pioneer Public TV
Fine arts and student performances at area colleges