In the wake of the death of Prince on Thursday at age 57, the world mourned the beloved star with a vast array of tributes. Landmarks were lit purple and dance parties were held at cities everywhere, including a block party thrown by Spike Lee on Thursday night in Brooklyn.
President Barack Obama, having eulogized Prince on the day of the musician’s death, further commented at a later press conference, saying that “we played ‘Purple Rain’ and ‘Delirious’ just to get warmed up before we left the house for important bilateral meetings.”
Thousands of musicians from across genres paid homage to the late genius from Minneapolis. Paul Westerberg said he was “more in awe” of Prince than fellow Minnesotan Bob Dylan. Stevie Wonder, fighting tears, said he’d “break down” if he tried to cover a Prince song.
Morrissey praised Prince’s music — and, of course, his veganism. Dave Chappelle, whose impersonation Prince loved, called the musician’s death “black 9/11.” Frank Ocean called Prince “a vanguard and a genius by every metric I know.” Chaka Khan said “I LOVED him,” and Justin Vernon tweeted, “This is the worst.” Courtney Love tweeted that she was “numb, full of pain.” Sharing a photo of himself shaking Prince’s hand, the Weeknd called it “the greatest moment of my life.” Chuck D wrote that he was “speechless.”
On Saturday night in Brooklyn, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band opened their show with “Purple Rain.” Springsteen closed by saying, “Prince forever. God bless!”
Saturday Night Live dedicated a special episode to Prince, replaying several of his musical performances on the show over the years and airing episodes of the “Prince Show” starring Fred Armisen as Prince and Maya Rudolph as Beyoncé. The producers even shared previously unseen video of Prince and 3RDEYEGIRL playing “Let’s Go Crazy” at the SNL 40th anniversary after-party last year.
In a touching and good-natured tribute, Questlove dedicated his weekly DJ gig to Prince’s music — and played Finding Nemo while he spun, in affectionate memory of the time Prince cut a Questlove DJ set short so everyone could watch the Pixar film.
Purple Rain is returning to movie theaters across the country, and artist Rock “Cyfi” Martinez created a new fan mecca when he painted a large Prince mural on an Uptown building as “a nice present to the city of Minneapolis.” Local restaurants created special Prince-themed treats and the Minneapolis City Hall bell tower played several Prince songs. Before Sunday night’s game against the Dallas Stars, the Minnesota Wild played a video tribute to Prince followed by a moment of silence. On Friday afternoon in Los Angeles, Classical MPR’s Tesfa Wondemagegnehu led a choir of hundreds of high-school students in a performance of “Purple Rain” at Disney Hall.
See a photo gallery of the scene in the Twin Cities in the 24 hours immediately following Prince’s death, and read Cecilia Johnson’s recap of the Thursday night musical tribute concert and all-night dance party at First Avenue.
This short roundup just scratches the surface of the millions of tributes paid to Prince — over the course of the week, we’ll be continuing to collect and share tributes from near and far. You can subscribe to our special Prince Remembered podcast, and read Andrea Swensson’s reflection on what it means to lose this music icon.
We’ll also be following the story of authorities’ ongoing investigation of the circumstances of Prince’s death, and plans for a public memorial after Prince’s family and close friends laid his cremated remains to rest in a private ceremony on Saturday.
Beyoncé releases new album
In a semi-surprise development that would have dominated music news on any other weekend, Beyoncé released a new visual album — that is, an album with accompanying videos for every song. Lemonade premiered Saturday night on HBO, and immediately became available on Tidal. Due to overwhelming demand, the album is expected to be available on iTunes as well. (New York Times) Read Jay Gabler’s essay on the album’s special resonance given the timing of the release.
Remembering two more musicians
As the music world mourns Prince, we also say goodbye to Congolese rumba great Papa Wemba, who died at age 66 after collapsing onstage during a concert. Papa Wemba was an ambassador of Congolese music, touring the world and collaborating with artists including Peter Gabriel. (Billboard)
Jazz and soul singer Billy Paul, best known for the 1972 chart-topper “Me and Mrs. Jones,” has also died — of cancer, at age 80. (New York Times)