9 must-watch musical tributes to Prince

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D'Angelo poured his heart out on The Tonight Show

The past week has been flush with stunning musical tributes from Prince's peers in the music industry. Everyone from Questlove to Billy Corgan to the Dixie Chicks have come out to thank the Purple One for touching their music in some way.

The reaction has done much to validate the scope of Prince's massive influence and shown just how indomitable his presence in the music industry was. It seems like everyone who picked up a guitar in the last 40 years was channeling some part of the late funk virtuoso when they did so.

With so much love spilling out of the A list, it's been hard to keep track of exactly who was tipping their caps toward Paisley Park. In all the tears and adulation, some truly touching moments have been lost in the media sprint, so we've collected some of the best musical tributes to Prince Rogers Nelson. 

Bruce Springsteen

The Boss and the Purple one are about as aesthetically opposed as two musicians can get. But real recognizes real, and Bruce Springsteen became one of the most visible artists to say goodbye to Prince when he and the E Street Band covered "Purple Rain" to open their set at the Barclay's Center.


D'Angelo

If you only saw one artist's tribute to Prince from the last week, chances are it was D'Angelo's heart-wrenching reworking of "Sometimes It Snows in April" on The Tonight Show. The resurgent soul artist performed the cover alongside Maya Rudolph and Gretchen Lieberum, who collectively make up the Prince tribute band Princess.

Pearl Jam

On the evening after Prince's death, Pearl Jam were playing in Columbia, S.C., and as such, they didn't have time to learn every lick in the six-minute axe opus "Purple Rain." But the Seattle grunge pioneers did manage to slip the song into a medley of their own originals, including "Yellow Ledbetter." Listen for the nod around the 50-second mark.

Sufjan Stevens

Always flamboyant and yet impossibly delicate, songwriter Sufjan Stevens wears his Prince influence in the most subtle ways sometimes. At Coachella, the ambitious Michigander was bathed in purple stage lights and flanked by Gallant, celebrating Prince in a glorious overture of "Purple Rain." It was one of several processionals out of Indio that weekend, but it's perhaps the most striking for Gallant's wild and impassioned vocals.

Billy Corgan

Erstwhile Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has been in the news a lot for his increasingly curmudgeonly disposition of late, but even the combative alt-rock poet had to take an aside for Prince during his ongoing tour with Liz Phair (see below). He stripped all the electric swagger out of "The Cross" from Sign o' the Times to do a somber rendition of the song alongside tourmate Sierra Swan.


Liz Phair

Not to be outdone by tour partner Corgan, Liz Phair did the Sinead O'Connor thing and gave all her love to "Nothing Compares 2 U," a tune that the New Orleans audience in the video below couldn't help but join in on. With just Phair's voice and her big, hollow guitar, the sense of loss in the room was eminent.


David Gilmour of Pink Floyd

During a show for the Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall on April 24, rock vet David Gilmour saw fit to splice a bit of "Purple Rain" into the Pink Floyd song "Comfortably Numb." The juxtaposition is one that's interesting, given that "Comfortably Numb" deals with the rise of apathy, something the storied guitarist and vocalist was surely not feeling that evening in London.

Chris Stapleton

Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton went the Liz Phair route with his rendition of "Nothing Compares 2 U" at the Greek Theater on April 23. With mournful grit in his voice and a howl that echoed across the venue, Stapleton's version of the song adds a dimension of sorrow to the catalog of covers.

LCD Soundsystem

The recently reunited LCD Soundsystem were a huge get for Coachella, and a gigantic crowd was treated to a cover to the scale that the Purple One truly deserved. LCD's take on the 1981 hit "Controversy" was a funky 10-minute interpretation that will go down as one of the best Prince covers to emerge in the vacuum after his passing.


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