The Grammys Is Hosting a Live Tribute Concert for Prince—The Question Is, Would He Have Shaded Some of the Artists?

Beck (L) accepts the Album of the Year award for “Morning Phase” from musician Prince onstage during The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 8, 2015, in Los Angeles.
Photo: Kevork Djansezian (Getty Images)

This April will mark four years since we lost the unmatched legend known as Prince, and the Recording Academy is holding a live tribute concert to honor The Purple One.

A couple of days following the Grammy Awards telecast (Jan. 26), Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince will take place in LA to show love to the 38-time Grammy nominee and seven-time Grammy winner.

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Per the press release:

The special will feature a lineup of all-star artists paying tribute to Prince’s unprecedented influence on music, including GRAMMY Award-winning artists Beck, Common, Gary Clark Jr., Earth, Wind & Fire, Foo Fighters, H.E.R., Juanes, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Mavis Staples, St. Vincent, and Usher; and singer/songwriter Susanna Hoffs. Plus, a historic joint performance by several of Prince’s most celebrated musical friends and collaborators, including GRAMMY Award-winning band the Revolution, past GRAMMY Award nominee Sheila E., and legendary funk band Morris Day And The Time. Additional performers will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Prince. The Purple One. His Royal Badness — regardless of how you identify him, he is indisputably one of the greatest musical virtuosos of all time,” Deborah Dugan, President/CEO of the Recording Academy said in a statement. “With his subversive attitude and commanding nature, he straddled musical genres and created electrifying music that was bursting with character. He continues to serve as an inspirational icon for artists and fans worldwide, and we are so honored to pay tribute to his legacy at this year’s post-GRAMMYs® special.”

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“One of the true joys of producing the GRAMMY Awards is both working with and being able to tribute your heroes, and Prince gave me the opportunity of doing both,” Grammy executive producer Ken Ehrlich added. “His GRAMMY appearances, though few, were historic, and it’s with mixed feelings that we approach this opportunity to celebrate the amazing legacy he left us. We’ve gathered a remarkable collection of artists across genres and across generations to salute one of music’s truly singular iconic writer/performers, and believe me, it’s a tall order to do him justice.”

Hmm. As we all know, Prince has never been shy about vocally—or even better, visually—expressing his shade during tributes dedicated to him. The epic time he wore a shirt with his own face on it during the 2010 BET Awards is one of his best. Not giving a fuck about the concept of a Poker Face, Prince made it clear how he felt about tributes performed by Alicia Keys and Trey Songz.

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Thankfully, his protegé Sheila E. is involved. Plus, Morris Day and the Time! Sure there are undeniable legends in the lineup like Mavis Staples and Earth, Wind & Fire, but who’s to say he wouldn’t be side-eyeing from heaven at some of these acts? There are only a handful of people he has gone out of his way to endorse—and by “go out of his way,” I mean merely acknowledge—so it’s quite difficult to get Prince’s coveted seal of approval. There is one artist he loved that comes to mind, like Janelle Monáe—who isn’t listed in this array of performers.

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Now, I have no way of knowing whether or not they wanted to participate in this particular tribute, but fans certainly noticed the glaring omission, either way.

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Or perhaps they’re included in the “additional performances” section, which could be a big surprise. Who knows.

The live concert taping of Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince will take place Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. PT at the Los Angeles Convention Center and the show’s broadcast will air later in the year on CBS. Tickets are now available to purchase here.

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Tonja Renée Stidhum

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.