The English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran on Monday won Song of the Year for “Thinking Out Loud,” a bare guitar ballad that made history as a viral hit.
Sheeran shared the award with his co-writer Amy Wadge, a British folk artist. Song of the Year recognizes songwriting, while Record of the Year, a category in which “Thinking Out Loud” was also nominated, looks at the overall song.
The award was presented by the blind music legend Stevie Wonder, who opened up the envelope and joked that only he could read it because it was in Braille.
“I just want to say before saying the winner that we need to make every single thing accessible to every single person with a disability,” Wonder said to applause.
“Thinking Out Loud” beat a field that included Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright,” which has been called the unofficial anthem of the Black Lives Matter movement, and “Blank Space” by Sheeran’s sometime mentor, pop superstar Taylor Swift.
“Thinking Out Loud” last year became the first song to be streamed 500 million times on leading streaming site Spotify, although it has since been surpassed by “Lean On,” the dark electronic track by Major Lazer with DJ Snake and Mo.
A classic love song with Sheeran’s guitar and voice, “Thinking Out Loud” has quickly become a favorite at weddings, proms and other romantic occasions. The popularity of the song grew through a video in which Sheeran dances with Brittany Cherry, best known from the US television contest “So You Think You Can Dance.”
The ginger-haired artist, who turns 25 on Wednesday, has quickly become experienced at the Grammys. He was nominated for Best New Artist in 2014 and his album “X” was nominated for Album of the Year last year, although through a quirk of the qualification calendar, “Thinking Out Loud” was eligible this year.
But Sheeran, who performed “Thinking Out Loud” at last year’s Grammys with a back-up band that included jazz legend Herbie Hancock on keyboards, came out empty-handed in previous ceremonies.