This Sunday, June 26th, The BET Awards will pay tribute to Prince. That got us to thinking about the best musical tributes we’ve ever seen on TV. And maybe not so surprisingly, some of those tributes involve the man himself. While its bittersweet to think about a tribute that doesn’t involve Prince, for who could ever really do a tribute worthy of him, we painstakingly went through tons of video to come up with some of our favorites. Here’s what we thought were among some of the best musical tributes ever.
1. Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran and Gary Clark Jr. for Stevie Wonder (2015 – Songs In The Key Of Life: An All-Star Tribute )
Beyoncé brings her A game in one of her most energized performances ever.
2. Prince, Stevie Wonder, Yolanda Adams and India.Arie for Chaka Khan (2006 BET Awards)
It’s too bad they didn’t take this lineup on the road. Powerhouse musicians at the top of their games with some of the most amazing vocalists in the music firmament, can only add up to one thing – a classic tribute to a classic artist.
3. Jennifer Hudson for Whitney Houston (2012 Grammy Awards)
When Whitney Houston died the night before the Grammy Awards, someone had to be found at the last minute that could even attempt to sing her signature song. Fortunately, that person was Jennifer Hudson, who did the job perfectly.
4. Kandi Burrus, Silk, Angie Stone and Kelly Price for The O’Jays (2011 Trumpet Awards)
The O’Jays could not have had a better tribute team than this surprising lineup who slayed this O’Jays homage.
5. Christina Aguilera for James Brown (2007 Grammy Awards)
In what is a now considered among the best ever tribute performances, Christina Aguilera takes a classic James Brown song and owns it.
6. Bruno Mars for Amy Winehouse (2011 American Music Awards)
He’s a little pop for our tastes and actually, Amy didn’t write this song, although she did cover it. But somehow, it works.
7. Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Ziggy and Damian Marley for Bob Marley (2013 Grammy Awards)
Years after his death, Bob Marley is still the most recognized reggae musician in the world. His sons, with some accompaniment from Rihanna and Bruno Mars, do his legacy proud.
Usher, Mike Stoller and Valerie Simpson for Nick Ashford and Jerry Lieber (2011 Grammy Nominations Concert )
Sometimes, because of all that he can do, you forget that Usher can actually sing. During this tribute, you’ll remember.
St. Lunatics, Ja Rule, Queen Latifah, Busta Rhymes, Naughty By Nature and Aerosmith for Jam Master Jay (2002 All Star Tribute To Jam Master Jay)
All of hip-hop came out to pay their respects to one of hiphop’s pioneering deejays.
Puff Daddy and Faith f/112 and Sting for The Notorious B.I.G. (1997 MTV Awards)
Who can forget this moment when all of the mourning for The Notorious B.I.G. was laid on the stage with an assist from Sting himself?
Gerald Levert For Patti Labelle (BET)
There was a time when Gerald Levert was the go-to tribute king for BET and he always did them justice. Sadly, his turn would come too soon to get his own tribute.
Honorable Mention: Prince for Prince (2004 Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame)
In 2004, Prince showed why he was worthy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in this energized performance that runs through some of his greatest hits.
Honorable Mention: Beyoncè for Prince (2016, Formation Tour)
Beyoncé has taken up the mantle of one of music’s live greatest performers, but she hasn’t forgotten the best that ever did it.