Fun’s anthem We Are Young, featuring Janelle Monae, was named song of the year, with the New York band going on to win the best new artist prize.
Gotye’s international hit Somebody That I Used To Know received the record of the year, one of three prizes received by the Belgian-Australian artist.
Mumford & Sons took home the album of the year prize for Babel.
The English folk rockers received their honour from countrywoman Adele, who had earlier won best pop solo performance for her live version of Set Fire to the Rain.
Mumford & Sons had received six nominations ahead of the ceremony. In the event, though, their only other prize came for best long form music video.
Indie rock group The Black Keys enjoyed the most success overall, receiving four of the six awards for which they had been shortlisted.
The event, held at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, kicked off with Taylor Swift singing her hit We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.
The 23-year-old star was joined by performers on stilts, a White Rabbit and human puppets for the Alice in Wonderland-themed performance.
Ed Sheeran and Sir Elton John appeared shortly afterwards to perform Sheeran’s single The A Team, with further performances coming from Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys and country star Carrie Underwood.
Sting, Bruno Mars and Rihanna joined forces for a Bob Marley tribute that featured Rihanna and Marley’s son Ziggy duetting on his father’s 1980 classic Could You Be Loved.
Sir Elton returned later to perform in another all-star collaboration, paying tribute as he did so to the 26 people killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings last December.
The event was preceded by a pre-awards ceremony at a neighbouring venue at which the majority of this year’s prizes were handed out.
Winners announced ahead of the main event included the late Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar, whose award for best world music album was collected by his daughter Anoushka.
“I wish he was here to do it himself,” said Shankar. The 31-year-old had been nominated in the same category alongside her father, who died in December.
Sir Paul McCartney’s Kisses on the Bottom record was named best traditional pop vocal album, while The Beach Boys won best historical album, their first ever Grammy, for The Smile Sessions.
Yet it was The Black Keys and its singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach who dominated the pre-telecast awards show, receiving prizes for best rock song and best rock album.
Auerbach received an additional prize for non-classical producer of the year, with his band going on to win best rock performance during the main awards ceremony.
“Welcome to the greatest music show on earth,” said rapper LL Cool J at the beginning of the evening in his role as ceremony host.
The event saw a surprise appearance from Prince, who appeared sporting black sunglasses and a white cane to present the record of the year award.