Among Adele’s accolades were album of the year for 21, and best record with Rolling In the Deep.
The soul singer, 23, has taken the music world by storm, and had been resting her voice after undergoing surgery on her vocal cords late last year.
However, the London singer took the stage to belt out Rolling In the Deep, and finished to a standing ovation on what is the biggest night of the year for musicians.
Adele claimed three of the music industry’s top awards, album, record and song of the year, and added best pop solo performance, pop vocal and short video to her stack of trophies.
“Thank you so much. This is ridiculous,” she said upon accepting the record of the year Grammy.
“I want to say thank you to every radio programmer and broadcaster that has been playing ‘Rolling in the Deep’ … because I know it’s not really a pop record.” She smiled and gave and a thumbs up.
The evening kicked off on a sombre note, with tributes paid to singer Whitney Houston, who died on Saturday, aged 48. Her body was found in the bathtub of her Beverly Hills hotel room. The cause of her death is still unknown.
Grammy host LL Cool J offered a prayer for Houston’s family, friends and fans.
Dressed in a black tuxedo and with tears in his eyes, the rapper said: “There is no way around this. We’ve had a death in our family.
“So at least, for me, the only thing that feels right is to start with a prayer for the woman that we love, for our fallen sister Whitney Houston.”
LL Cool J – whose real name is James Todd Smith – said: “Heavenly Father, we thank you for sharing our sister Whitney with us.
“Though she is gone too soon, we remain truly blessed to have been touched by her beautiful spirit.”
The tribute continued as producers reminded the crowd of one of the multi-Grammy Award-winners with a video of her hit I Will Always Love You on video at a previous ceremony.
Although she had been dead just over 24 hours Houston’s peers gave her a standing ovation.
Whitney Houston was also remembered by fellow artists in acceptance speeches and songs, with Jennifer Hudson singing her signature hit I Will Always Love You.
Rockers Foo Fighters were the other big winners of the night, picking up five Grammys including best rock performance for the hit Walk.
“This is a great honor because this record was a special record for our band. Rather than go to the best studio … we made this one in my garage with some microphones and a tape machine,” said frontman Dave Grohl.
“It shows that the human element of making music is what’s most important.”
Rihanna’s ex Chris Brown also performed on the Grammy Awards stage for the first time since he attacked the singer, which lead to an assault charge.
Brown said: “Thank the Grammys for letting me get on this stage and do my thing.”
His ex-girlfriend Rhianna, renowned for her skimpy outfits, didn’t disappoint, giving a raunchy performance wearing little but a pair of leather hot pants and a bra top, with British rock band, Coldplay.
Amy Winehouse was honoured for her Body And Soul duet with Tony Bennett.
Her parents Mitch and Janis received a standing ovation as they accepted the award for their daughter, who died last year after a battle with drink and drugs aged 27.
Mitch said: “We shouldn’t be here. Our darling daughter should be here. These are the cards that we’re dealt.”
Other highlights included a Beach Boys reunion and a lifetime award for Glen Campbell, who sang Rhinestone Cowboy.
Rousing performances came from Taylor Swift singing her hit Mean, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Coldplay and Rihanna.
Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt sang A Sunday Kind of Love from Etta James, who also died in 2012.