Over the last decade we have surely lost some of our legends. From James Brown to the untimely deaths of Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Prince, to the recent passing of Aretha Franklin, the music world no longer has it’s Godfather, King, Queen, Prince and greatest Voice of all time.
Thankfully their music will always live on and in celebration the music world has done a pretty good job at paying tribute to those we’ve lost with some out of this world In Memoriam performances. Here are 5 tribute performances that had folks, singing, shouting and (sometimes) shading.
Janelle Monae, Bilal, Stevie Wonder & More Tribute Prince
BET paid tribute to the Purple one not once, not twice, but eight times during their 2016 telecast. Stevie Wonder, Tori Kelly, and Janelle Monae kicked things off singing a medley of the late singers hits. Erykah Braxton and The Roots sang “Sign O The Times,” then Jennifer Hudson gave everybody chills when she sang “Purple Reign”, Bilal shut it down singing “Beautiful Ones” rolling around the stage and hitting Prince’s signature high notes before Sheila E gave a rousing tribute to her long time friend which got everyone out of their seats. BET Promised “We Got You” after Madonna’s epic failure of a performance during the 2016 Billboard Music Awards and they definitely kept their promise.
Jennifer Hudson Honors Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston passed away on the eve of the 54th annual Grammy Awards, leaving the folks behind the production with minimal time to put together an unforgettable tribute to the diva. Thankfully, Jennifer Hudson was ready and willing to churn out her best rendition of “I Will Always Love You.” It wasn’t a loud knock-off rendition, but instead a powerful and raw homage from someone who adored the icon just the rest of us.
Janet Jackson Pays Tribute To Her Brother Michael Jackson
Just two months after the King of Pop passed away, Janet Jackson took to the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards to perform an absolutely effortless tribute to MJ. After dancers paid homage to several of his iconic routines, Miss Jackson took the stage to meticulous match the 1995 video choreography while her brother looked down on her from the big screen—and from the heavens above, we’d like to think.
Christina Aguilera Honors James Brown
Christina Aguilera has some tremendous soul and that couldn’t be more evident after watching her tribute performance to the late James Brown with a cover of “It’s A Man’s World” during the 2007 Grammy Awards. She basically destroyed each and every single one of those basic girls. Go ahead and saaaang, Xtina.
Lady Gaga Pays Tribute To David Bowie
With the good … also comes the bad and Lady Gaga’s tribute to David Bowie definitely goes down as one of the most awkward and OMG tributes of all time. It’s safe to say that without the influence of the late Bowie–especially the early, glitter infused Glam Rock years–there would be no Lady Gaga. So it was no surprise that she was asked pay tribute to him at the 2016 Grammy Awards. Unfortunately she did not deliver. She was running across the stage, vamping all over the place, making the performance feel more like a Rocky Horror Picture Show than a tribute to Bowie. To her credit the outfits were impeccable but matched with her crazy antics it came off more like an episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race … and appropriately Twitter and Bowie’s son Duncan Jones dragged her for filth.