Amy Winehouse, who scooped five awards at the Grammys but was absent from the ceremony, was beamed via satellite in London into Los Angeles.
Soul legend Aretha Franklin provided one of the memorable performances at the star-studded event.
Singer Alicia Keys was congratulated by Prince after scooping best R&B vocal performance.
Dave Grohl, along with the Foo Fighters, rocked the ceremony - and won the award for best rock album.
Herbie Hancock provided the upset of the night, pipping Amy Winehouse to the prestigious album of the year trophy.
Rapper Kanye West won four awards and gave an emotional performance of Hey Mama in memory of his late mother.
Mark Ronson, who has collaborated with Amy Winehouse, won a Grammy in his own right for producer of the year.
Chart-topping Barbadian star Rihanna gave a sparkling live performance in Los Angeles' Staples Center.
Benin singer Angelique Kidjo displayed her Grammy for contemporary world music album with pride.
Yoko Ono, the widow of former Beatle John Lennon, bumped into Beyonce ahead of the ceremony.