The top US music prizes have been spread widely, with stroke-afflicted soul singer Luther Vandross winning for song of the year, hip-hop duo OutKast for album of the year and rock band Evanescence for best new artist.
Vandross, who did not attend Sunday's ceremony but sent a recorded message, won four Grammy. His song of the year prize, which he shared with co-writer Richard Marx, was for Dance with My Father, the title track from his hit album.
Knowles, the 22-year-old front woman with R&B trio Destiny's Child, was lauded largely for her debut solo release, Dangerously in Love. She told reporters backstage she was not disappointed about losing to Coldplay.
"I love that song, and they definitely deserved it. That song was just genius," Knowles said.
OutKast ended up with three awards, as did bluegrass singer Alison Krauss, taking her career total to 17 - eighth on the all-time list of Grammy winners.
Coldplay backs Kerry
Amid the fallout from Janet Jackson's breast-baring stunt at the Super Bowl last weekend, CBS broadcast the event with a five-minute time delay.
Chris Martin of Coldplay strikes a
political note in his speech
The network also insisted that Jackson and her Super Bowl partner-in-crime, Justin Timberlake, apologise on air as a condition for appearing as planned. Timberlake obliged. But Jackson opted out of the event altogether.
Coldplay front man Chris Martin dedicated the record of the year award to late country singer Johnny Cash and to leading Democratic presidential hopeful "John Kerry, who hopefully will be your president one day".
In an unexpected development, rock band Evanescence was named best new artist - to the chagrin of favoured fellow nominee 50 Cent, who briefly took to the stage while the band was accepting its award.
The 2004 US Grammy awards:
Record Of The Year Clocks (Coldplay); Album Of The Year
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (Outkast); Song Of The Year (awarded to the songwriter) Dance With My Father (Richard Marx and Luther Vandross); Best New Artist Evanescence.
Big Boi (L) and Andre 3000 of
Outkast win three prizes
Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Beautiful (Christina Aguilera); Best Male Pop Vocal Performance Cry Me A River (Justin Timberlake); Best Pop Vocal Album Justified (Justin Timberlake).
Best Female Rock Vocal Performance Trouble (Pink); Best Male Rock Vocal Performance Gravedigger (Dave Matthews); Best Rock Album One By One (Foo Fighters).
Best Female Rhythm and Blues Performance Dangerously In Love (Beyonce); Best Male Rhythm and Blues Performance Dance With My Father (Luther Vandross); Best Rhythm and Blues Album Dance With My Father (Luther Vandross).
Best Rap Album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (Outkast).
Best Female Country Vocal Performance Keep On The Sunny Side (June Carter Cash); Best Male Country Vocal Performance Next Big Thing (Vince Gill).
Best Latin Pop Album No Es Lo Mismo (Alejandro Sanz).