His Purple Highness, Prince Rogers Nelson, has been gone for a year now. And like many people, I still recall exactly where I was standing and what I was doing when I first received the news on that Thursday, April 21, 2016. And almost ever since his untimely passing, musicians and fans alike have lit the proverbial candle for the iconic singer/ songwriter/ musician in the form of tributes showcasing his music, be it on the internet, via awards shows or by simply covering his tunes.
It’s clear that the music world still misses this remarkable genius dearly. There will never be another like him or one that even comes close. Music and pop culture analysts eons from now will be examining his work – whether it be in the form of his art or his protests – for its influence on rock and roll, pop and soul…and for how it changed the industry itself – particularly that ever-fragile business relationship between artists and labels.
That’s what having a nearly 40-year career full of prolific, groundbreaking and highly coveted rock, pop and soul jams can do for a brother like Minneapolis’ favorite son.
And the industry is not alone in its appreciation of the Purple One. We’ve all likely paid tribute to the man in one way or another, whether it be through that incessantly looped playlist we created last April that we’ve no doubt modified since, or from the hours we spent scouring the internet and trying to find videos of his classic work before some copyright protection clause removed it from our viewership.
Oh, and by the way, Prince sold more combined albums last year than any other artist…no small feat by any measure, but certainly an indication of his true popularity.
This year’s first anniversary of Prince Rogers Nelson’s death will serve as an instant reminder of one of the music world’s biggest recent losses. People will recall the circumstances surrounding his death, regurgitate various conspiracy theories and even renew debates about where he ranks in the overall pantheon of rock, soul and funk musicians.
It will also conjure up some memories of the many inevitable (and some obligatory) tributes paid to the man since that dark day in pop music history.
It is with that in mind that djrobblog took the time to check several high-profile Prince tributes done since that fateful day and rank them from worst to best. Many of them occurred during awards shows, while some happened on high-profile concert tours or other venues.
So which ones moved you the most? Or maybe there were some simply not worthy of Prince’s namesake?
Whatever your views, please check out this countdown ranking the ten highest-profile tributes and let readers know what you think in the comments section (or on the blog’s Facebook page).
For all those who thought that Madonna's tribute at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards would anchor this list, I found one that deserves that dubious distinction even more. Sir Elton's performance at this sold-out show in Las Vegas show just two days after The Purple One's death represents all of those artists who performed similar tributes at their concerts in the past year...you know, those who lazily performed one of their own songs while conveniently showing a montage of Prince photos in the background. In this case, it was John's 33-year-old comeback hit "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" serving as his dedication and leaving many to wonder: couldn't EJ have even picked a more appropriate one of his own songs to pay his respects? The song's only connection to Prince - and this is a stretch - is that "Blues" charted in the same year as Prince's iconic breakthrough 'Purple Rain.' It might have been nicer if Sir Elton could have enlisted Stevie Wonder who played harmonica on Elton's original recording of "Blues," and whose connection to Prince seems more genuine. But Stevie must have already been busy planning for the two other tributes in which he appears in this countdown, including the one that's next.