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All-star Grammy tribute concert planned for Prince

Prince performs in concert circa 1985 in Los Angeles, Calif.
Prince performs in concert circa 1985 in Los Angeles, Calif. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

April 21, 2020 marks the fourth anniversary of the death of Prince. To celebrate his life, legacy and music, the Recording Academy will soon host an all-star tribute concert in his memory.

Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince will take place on Jan. 28 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in California, just two days after the 2020 Grammy Awards. The news was confirmed on Thursday morning by Rolling Stone.

Sheila E. — one of Prince’s former percussionists — will serve as the gig’s musical director and play alongside two other longtime associates of the late musician, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

The instrumental trio will serve primarily as the house backing band throughout the event and be joined by R&B vocalists John Legend, Alicia Keys and Usher.

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Musicians such as Mavis Staples, Chris Martin, the Foo Fighters, Earth, Wind & Fire and Gary Clark, Jr. will also hit the stage to perform some of Prince’s most popular hits and deep-cut tracks.

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In the past, the Recording Academy has honoured artists such as Elton John, Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder with their own tribute gigs.

Like the other “Grammy Salute” concerts before it, Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince will be broadcast in its entirety on television sometime this April.

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Ken Ehrlich, longtime producer of the Grammys, said there was initial apprehension about putting on a show in honour of an American rock icon as prolific as Prince.

Prince performs during the halftime show at the Super Bowl XLI football game at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Fla., in 2007.
Prince performs during the halftime show at the Super Bowl XLI football game at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Fla., in 2007. AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File

“Sometimes you worry about these things, because when an artist is so iconic, so individualistic and so unique, you get a little bit nervous about having people interpret their work,” he told Rolling Stone.

“But I think, if anything, based on what we’ve done with these past shows, either we’ve gotten a little foolhardy to think that we could do Prince, or we’ve gotten confident that there are artists out there who fit; who will be faithful to what he did and reverent enough not to f–k around with him.”

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On his initial impressions of what he’s heard from the performing musicians so far, Ehrlich said he’s “really happy.”

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“Everyone I’ve heard, there’s a little bit of Prince — sometimes there’s a lot more Prince there.”

Also set to hit the stage in tribute of the Purple Rain singer are Beck and St. Vincent, who over the weekend, performed a handful of Nirvana songs with the legendary grunge band’s surviving members in a one-off show at the Hollywood Palladium in California.

Prince died in April 2016 at the age of 57 of a drug overdose.

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“Prince. The Purple One. His Royal Badness — regardless of how you identify him, is indisputably one of the greatest musical virtuosos of all time,” Deborah Dugan, CEO of the Recording Academy, said in a statement to Rolling Stone. “With his subversive attitude and commanding nature, he straddled musical genres and created electrifying music that was bursting with character.

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“He continues to serve as an inspirational icon for artists and fans worldwide, and we are so honored to pay tribute to his legacy.”

Prince performs live at the Fabulous Forum on February 19, 1985 in Inglewood, Calif.
Prince performs live at the Fabulous Forum on February 19, 1985 in Inglewood, Calif. Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Select tickets for the all-star event are now available through the official AXS website.

You can also catch the 62nd annual Grammy Awards live on Sunday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. ET.

adam.wallis@globalnews.ca