John Legend can do no wrong.
The singer brought it all to the stage during his performance of Prince‘s “Nothing Compares 2 U” during CBS’ “Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince” special on Tuesday. Hosted by Maya Rudolph and filmed in January, the televised concert paid tribute to the legendary singer on the four-year anniversary of his death.
“Prince was in every way incomparable. But in his artistry, his musicality and his ambition, he set the stage for all of us who follow,” Legend said before starting his performance. “Prince actually kept giving away this next song about being incomparable. He gave it away a few times to other artists, but somehow it kept coming back to him. Because as the record shows, nothing compares to Prince.”
Legend then gave it his all as he belted out Prince’s mega-hit. “This is a song that Prince wrote and originally gave away for other artists to sing,” Legend explained during a preview. “It’s ‘Nothing Compares 2 U,’ a powerful song about longing, about missing someone.”
Legend joined about 20 other artists — including Beck, Common, Juanes, Chris Martin, Miguel, Gary Clark Jr., H.E.R., Usher and many more — who all paid tribute to the iconic singer who died April 21, 2016 at the age of 57.
Prior to the special airing, ET’s Kevin Frazier chatted with Sheila E. about being a part of the celebration and working with Prince. Sheila, who was Prince’s friend and confidant for many years, helped the performers create special arrangements of the artist’s songs — and was blown away by Legend’s number.
“John Legend killed it, and he sang ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ and at rehearsal… He came to rehearse and he was ready to go,” she shared. “That was a song he wanted to do… When he sang it, it was the first time I cried. He made me cry at rehearsal.”
She also shared how she and her band helped other artists make their tributes special.
“When I got asked to do this, they were about a third in the way of hiring some of the people, or asking some of them to be a part of it. So I brought my band, which I thought was a good idea because we know all, almost all the songs,” she said, explaining that she tried to make “different arrangements that some people might not have heard” to make every performance special.
For more on Prince’s life and legacy, see below.
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