Remember the Grammys? Music’s Biggest Night feels like it happened about six bajillion years ago, but no, it wasn’t even three months. If you can reach that far back into your memory, you might recall that there was a slight flap over Usher covering Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” with Sheila E. and with a non-singing, pole-dancing FKA twigs. (There were conflicting reports over whether twigs wanted to sing during the performance. This is the kind of thing we used to fret about.)
That performance was on the show to hype up the CBS special Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince. A couple of nights after the Grammys — back in the era when things like concerts were still happening — the Grammy producers put together a Prince tribute concert featuring a whole lot of Grammy-staple stars. Last night, on the fourth anniversary of Prince’s death, CBS finally aired the special. This was wild to see, mostly because any footage of people standing in close proximity to one another is now wild to see.
During the special that aired last night, a bunch of peers and admirers played the music that Price had written. The Revolution, Prince’s reunited classic-era backing band, played behind many of those performers, and Prince collaborators like Morris Day & The Time and Sheila E. also performed. As Consequence Of Sound points out, CBS hasn’t allowed the videos of those performances onto sites like YouTube. But there are plenty of Twitter video clips from the special, and you can watch a bunch of them below.
Here, for instance, is St. Vincent, wearing a whole lot of lilac ruffles and playing the classic new-wave strut-funk anthem “Controversy”:
St. Vincent – Controversy @ Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Tribute to Prince pic.twitter.com/0FAlo4GBjQ
— gaycowboycore (@annieclork) April 22, 2020
I can only find a brief shred of video online, but Beck — a man who once devoted an entire album to sounding as much as possible like Prince — took on “Raspberry Beret”:
— SuzeT (@suzetrup) April 22, 2020
Prince once blocked the Foo Fighters from releasing their cover of his Purple Rain song “Darling Nikki” in the US. (Famously, Prince also briefly covered the Foo Fighters when he played the Super Bowl Halftime Show in 2007, surprising the band.) On last night’s show, Foo Fighters ran back the “Darling Nikki” cover:
— Amanda T 🌸 (@antwardoski) April 22, 2020
Miguel, a clear Prince acolyte, did “I Would Die 4 U,” another Purple Rain jam:
— Dana Conroy (@danalou55) April 22, 2020
Speaking of Purple Rain, the soul and gospel legend Mavis Staples was brave enough to take on the difficult task of covering the masterpiece of a title track:
— Billy Krumb (@ClubhouseCancer) April 22, 2020
Finally, Coldplay’s Chris Martin got together with the Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs to sing “Manic Monday,” a Bangles hit that Prince wrote. They played a slow, tender piano-ballad rendition of it, even though “Manic Monday” is absolutely not the kind of song that calls out for a slow, tender piano-ballad rendition. Here it is:
— Miriam Sue (@Blogger_Miriam) April 22, 2020
If you look around hard enough, you’ll also find clips of performers like Usher, John Legend, H.E.R., Gary Clark Jr., and Earth, Wind & Fire taking on Prince’s songs.