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Joy for Adele, prayers for Whitney

Adele, who captured the world's heart with an album about a broken romance, has emerged as the top winner at the Grammy Awards, winning six trophies including the prestigious trifecta of record, song and album of the year.

The singer, who also made a triumphant comeback from vocal cord surgery on the Grammy stage, sobbed as she won the night's final award, album of the year, for 21.

It was last year's top-selling album with more than six million copies sold and remains lodged at the number one spot on this year's charts. Her victories tied her with Beyonce as having registered the most wins by a woman in one evening.

The celebration of Adele, a big-voiced, soulful singer, came on a night where the Grammys marked the loss of one of music's great female voices - and one of its most prized talents overall.

Whitney Houston died the night before the Grammys, casting a shadow over music's biggest night. But while her death lent a sombre overtone to the evening's show, it did not overwhelm it, perhaps best proved by the show's closing number, a rollicking jam session featuring Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and Dave Grohl among others.

The night's other big winners were Grohl's Foo Fighters, who won five Grammys. They noted that they made their album Wasting Light in a garage.

"To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of making music is what's most important. Singing into a microphone, learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that's the most important thing for people to do," Grohl said as the band accepted their best rock performance trophy for Walk.

Among the evening's performances was a dance-heavy number by Chris Brown, and performances by McCartney and Springsteen, who kicked off the show by performing his new song We Take Care of Our Own, a rousing song that references the troubles of the nation.

But the evening's most moving moment came as Jennifer Hudson - who has called Houston an inspiration and one of her biggest idols - emerged to sing one of Houston's signature songs, I Will Always Love You.

Dressed in black, with only the accompaniment of a piano, Hudson appeared to fight back tears as she sang the song, ending with the line, "Whitney, we will always love you."

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