On April 21st, 2016, a little before 10:00 a.m., the world came to a screeching halt when news hit that rock star Prince had died at the age of 57. Although there had been reports on April 15th that Prince’s plane had to make an emergency landing and that he was hospitalized for “health complications”, his rep insisted it was only because Prince had a severe case of the flu. It didn’t seem like anything serious, especially since Prince performed a concert and threw a dance party a few days later, where he insisted he was fine and not to “waste any prayers” on him. So of course, it came as an absolute shock when everyone heard of his untimely passing less than a week after his hospitalization.
Within minutes of the news of his passing, the internet, and social media was inundated with people who expressed their sadness and disbelief that we were now living in a world without the musical genius of Prince. Prince Rogers Nelson was a musical prodigy who had learned how to play 22 instruments by the age of 12. He burst onto the scene in the early 80s and gave us hits like “Purple Rain”, “When Doves Cry”, “Little Red Corvette,” to name a few. His music really couldn’t be boxed into a specific genre – it sounded a little bit like pop, mixed with rock, mixed with R&B, with some funk and punk thrown in. It was a sound that can only be described as distinctly Prince. He was a bottomless well of musical creativity – writing and producing songs not only for himself but for several artists over the years. Rumor has it that his music vault at his Paisley Park home has enough unreleased material that he created that would give us “new” Prince music for years.
The sudden loss of Prince was devastating for many, especially for those who have been touched by his music, his talent, and his philanthropic efforts. Celebrities and people from all walks of life, from all over the world, expressed sadness for his passing by paying tribute to the musical genius who will forever live in our hearts and our songs. Here are the top 15 most touching tributes to Prince so far.
15. The Prince Street Station
One of the tributes that immediately went viral was simple and yet very touching. An unknown person or persons put a mosaic “RIP” sticker over the “ST” of the Prince Street subway platform shortly after it was announced that Prince had passed away. There was also a purple “P” and a Prince’s love symbol sticker put over MTA’s entrance at Prince Street and Broadway. While the “RIP” sticker has remained untouched, the stickers on the MTA entrance came off before the end of the evening and was replaced with Prince’s picture. So far no one has stepped forward to take credit for these tributes, something we’re sure Prince, who was a very private person, would appreciate.
14. Mother Nature AKA Prince Fan
A few hours after Prince passed away, a rainbow appeared over the sky just above his Paisley Park residence. Surely a coincidence, but a fitting one for a man whose talents could be easily described as otherworldly. Prince is well known as being a devout Jehovah’s Witness and an extremely spiritual man who probably wrote the most underrated Christian-themed rock songs of all time, “I Would Die 4 U,” which included brilliant lyrics that alluded to Jesus Christ.
I’m not a human
I am a dove
I’m your conscious
I am love
All I really need is to know that
Yeah, I would die for you, yeah
Darling if you want me to
You, I would die for you
It’s no wonder even the heavens above felt the need to put in a respectful nod to his passing.
13. Paisley Park
Minnesota was proud of their hometown hero and it showed when local Prince fans flocked to his Paisley Park Estate to pay their respects with personal notes, artwork, flowers, and of course, purple balloons, after news of his death spread. The security fence that surrounds the property is now completely covered with personal tributes from more fans all over the world who have followed suit and paid their respects at his home in Minnesota. Purple boxes filled with Prince memorabilia were handed out to mourners and Prince’s family was also seen at the makeshift memorial to greet visitors.
12. SNL says, “Goodnight Sweet Prince”
NBC announced that on April 23rd, 2016, they would run a special SNL show devoted completely to Prince hosted by SNL alumni, Jimmy Fallon. Prince debuted on the show at the age of 21 in 1981 and was, as Fallon states, a presence on the show for four decades. The SNL special aired Prince’s performances from 1981 to his most recent 2014 performance where he performed an amazing 8-minute medley that had never been done before in SNL history. SNL also shared a never before seen performance that Prince put on at SNL’s 40th Anniversary after party special in 2015.
11. MTV Dedicates An Entire Weekend To The Prince
The early 80s is when most people first heard of Prince and a lot of that had to do with MTV. Back in the day, MTV introduced a brand new medium for the music industry by way of music videos. Prince, with his flamboyant style and jaw-dropping performances, was a perfect fit for MTV and essentially, both Prince and MTV helped put each other on the map during the 80s.
So in a move that showed just how influential Prince’s music and videos were to them, MTV announced that it would do something that the it hadn’t done in quite a few years. Play actual music videos. Specifically, Prince’s music videos along with his movie, Purple Rain. It was a great reminder that Prince wasn’t only a brilliant musician but an amazing visual performer as well.
10. Noel Gallagher Dedicates “Live Forever” to Prince
Noel Gallagher of Oasis had a concert at Glasgow’s Hydro on the evening of Prince’s passing. As a tribute, the Hydro venue projected purple lighting outside the building. Inside, Noel Gallagher blasted “Let’s Go Crazy” over the venue speakers. Then, during the concert, “Live Forever” took on a whole new and somewhat somber meaning when Noel dedicated his performance of the song to the musical genius, projecting Prince’s picture on the big screens as he and the crowd belted out the song together. A touching tribute to a musical icon who was one of the musical ‘giants’ – something Noel was thinking of when he made his album called, Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.
9. James Corden’ Grateful Tribute
James Corden started The Late Late Show minus the usual jokes his audiences were accustomed to on the day Prince passed away. While he expressed what many of us felt at that moment; sadness and shock, James insisted that we should also remember what a unique and original artist Prince was and what an amazing life he led and how many people he touched with his talent. He recalled his personal experience of going to a Prince concert and how lucky he was to have been in the same orbit as the pop legend. It was a tribute that resonated with many fans because James eloquently put into words exactly what we were all feeling.
8. Fremont Street in Las Vegas
What better way to honor the funk and flash of Prince than over the skies of Las Vegas? It’s what Fremont Street in Las Vegas did the weekend following his death, blasting Prince music and illuminating the overhead screens above the street with pictures of the late musical icon. The entire street hooted and hollered their appreciation, and stopped to sing along to his songs. It was a great way to remember, that even though Prince has physically left us, he will live on forever in our hearts every time we watch, sing or listen to his music.
7. Harlem Gospel Choir
After the song and movie, “Purple Rain” came out in the 80s, Prince has since become synonymous with the color purple. It was his signature color and his signature song. And now that Prince has passed on, the classic tune has been the go-to song for musicians to sing as they pay tribute. The Harlem Gospel Choir did their own stirring rendition of “Purple Rain” on the streets of New York’s Time Square on Good Morning America that brought on the major feels. Accompanied only by a piano and their amazing voices, the tribute was a tear jerker as GMA showed Prince’s Paisley Park estate on the big screen, covered with purple balloons from friends and fans mourning his loss while the choir sang.
6. When the World Turned Purple
The impact of Prince’s death was felt everywhere and it showed when monuments and buildings across the United States and the world paid their homage to the late pop star icon by going purple. The Brooklyn Borough Hall, Zakim Bridge in Boston, the Terminal Tower in Cleveland, Morrison Bridge in Portland Oregon, San Francisco City Hall, L.A. City Hall, Seattle’s Great Wheel, are just a couple of landmarks that went purple for Prince. And of course, Minneapolis honored it’s local hero by lighting up both Interstate 35 and Target Field with Prince’s signature shade.
5. The Art of Prince
Aside from the music, another thing Prince is best known for is his cool style and his ever changing hair. One of the more unique tributes to Prince came from a London artist named Gary Card, who created a piece that showed Prince’s many hairstyles over the years, from the late 70s to his most current. Each hairstyle was outrageous and captures a period of Prince that we all remember. Who could forget the curly Purple Rain pomp, or his straightened Farrah Fawcett feathery look? It’s unbelievable how many hair styles Prince had and of course, how he managed to pull them all off effortlessly, proving yet once again that he was one of the coolest people to ever walk the planet.
4. Damien Escobar’s Violin Weeps
Modern violinist Damien Escobar’s personal tribute to his musical idol is probably something Prince himself would be blown away by. Damien said that Prince’s passion for music and the stage is something that will live in his heart forever and expressed his sentiments beautifully with his amazing and heartfelt cover of Purple Rain on his violin. Out of all the musical tributes for Prince, this is one that needs to be heard by every Prince fan. It’s a poignant expression of his sorrow as well as a celebration of a brilliant song that was created by a brilliant man.
3. The Cast of Color Purple Honors the Prince of Purple
“He said his music will live on and he will live through his music, so we want to keep him alive today with this song.” This is what Jennifer Hudson said right before the entire cast of The Color Purple said their own goodbye to the legend the best way possible; by singing their hearts out. Jennifer Hudson addressed the audience and spoke about how honored the cast was to have been invited to one of Prince’s events before he passed. Then she and the rest of the cast proceeded to blow the roof of the theater with a mind-blowing cover of “Purple Rain.”
2. Chris Stapleton Plays Nothing Compares 2 U
It was reported that Chris Stapleton was initially nervous about covering any of Prince’s songs stating that Prince was a tough one to cover because he had “a lot of musical range.” But Chris did it anyway and we’re so glad he did. Bringing his own soul to Prince’s hit “Nothing Compares 2 U,” a song Prince wrote and was then made famous by Sinead O’Connor. Despite his apprehension, Chris Stapleton said, “I’m going to try this. We’re going to do it for a great musician we lost recently” before belting out one of the bluesiest most amazing renditions of “Nothing Compares 2 U” you’ll ever hear.
1. The Boss Honors The Prince
Who else but another legend could honor Prince so beautifully? On April 23rd, Bruce Springsteen took the stage at Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center and opened up the show by singing “Purple Rain” instead of their usual tour opening song, “Meet Me in the City,” as a tribute. Bruce Springsteen’s powerful performance was matched by Nils Lofgren’s beautifully played take on “Purple Rain’s” very distinct guitar solo. Backstreet’s Magazine even posted a photo of Nils watching the movie Purple Rain for a quick lesson before going on stage. If you watch only one Prince tribute, the Boss singing Purple Rain is the one performance that’s a must-see.