Lil Wayne, who was the most nominated artist at this year's Grammys, took home three prizes and a share of the Best Rap Performance for a Duo or Group for Swagga Like Us with Jay-z, T.I. and Kanye West.
Coldplay were also triple winners, claiming Song of The Year, Best Rock Album and Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals.
Double winners included Metallica, Al Green, Daft Punk, gospel star Kirk Franklin, Brad Paisley and Peter Gabriel and composer Thomas Newman, who won honours for their work on the Wall-e soundtrack.
Neil Diamond, the Four Tops, Dean Martin and music mogul Clive Davis were among those honoured with special awards during the ceremony.
The night was a star-studded affair - with more performers than ever before hitting the stage at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the event.
Highlights included Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift's duet on the country star's 15, Jennifer Hudson's stirring rendition of Diane Warren's You Pulled Me Through - backed by a gospel choir, the Jonas Brothers' collaboration with Stevie Wonder, Coldplay's performance with rapper Jay-z and Lil Wayne and Robin Thicke's rousing tribute to New Orleans with Terence Blanchard and Allen Toussaint.
Rockers U2 kicked off the 51st Grammys with new song Get on Your Boots and heavily-pregnant M.I.A., who was due to give birth on Sunday, performed Paper Planes/Swagga Like Us with rappers Lil Wayne, Jay-z, T.I. and Kanye West.
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