LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Singer Adele, winner of the GRAMMYs for Record of the Year for 'Rolling In The Deep', Album of the Year for '21', Song of the Year for 'Rolling In The Deep', Best Pop Solo Performance for 'Someone Like You', Best Pop Vocal Album for '21' and Best Short Form Music Video for 'Rolling In The Deep', poses in the press room at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(USA TODAY) -- On an evening clouded by the unexpected death of one mega-voiced superstar, another was anointed at Sunday's 54th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
PHOTOS | 2012 Grammy Awards
British neo-soul songstress Adele, the best-selling artist of 2011 and a nominee in six categories, pulled off a clean sweep, including song and record of the year for "Rolling in the Deep" (inspired, she said, "by a rubbish relationship") and album of the year for 21. She also won for short-form video, pop vocal album and pop solo performance ("Someone Like You").
Adele became the sixth artist to win six awards in a night (the last was the Dixie Chicks in 2007) and the youngest act (23) to nail the top three categories. The haul tied her with Beyonce for most wins by a woman and with Eric Clapton for most wins by a British artist.
The singer thanked producer Rick Rubin for teaching her "quality control" and said she was grateful for a "most life-changing year." Showing her down-to-earth demeanor, she cracked up the audience by making a reference to her runny nose.
Early on, she thanked the doctor who "brought my voice back" after a vocal cord hemorrhage and displayed her restored vocal prowess with a dynamic reading of "Rolling in the Deep" that earned an ovation.
The 3-and-a-half-hour ceremony kicked off with uplift: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band premiered "We Take Care of Our Own," and host LL Cool J followed with a brief prayer in memory of Whitney Houston.
And it was a night for redemption. R&B star Chris Brown had never won a Grammy, and his chances seemed quashed forever after the Rihanna scandal three years ago. But he was invited to perform and won R&B album for F.A.M.E.
The Foo Fighters earned five trophies, including rock performance for "Walk." Other notable winners included Kanye West, who took home four awards, and electronic artist Skrillex, who won three.
Indie folk collective Bon Iver won best new artist in a mild upset of favored Nicki Minaj, and trio Lady Antebellum took country album for Own the Night.
Although young acts dominated the awards, the evening featured a '60s flair -- the Beach Boys reunited to sing "Good Vibrations," Paul McCartney sang new single "My Valentine," a musical tribute was given to late R&B great Etta James and Glen Campbell, who is retiring because he has Alzheimer's disease, sang "Rhinestone Cowboy."