In the four years since the death of Prince, it feels like an entire new generation of musicians has discovered and showed reverence for The Purple One. That's how you get Haim drenching "I Would Die 4 U" in sparkling reverie, Coldplay diving gently into "1999," and more. But even when he was still alive, Prince's songs had become American standards.
That's why something like Let's Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince, which airs tonight (April 21) on CBS, feels like such a celebration. It features artists from across generations coming together to sing Prince's songs and honor him, four years to the day of his passing. H.E.R., Usher, Miguel, John Legend, Chris Martin, Common, Beck, Gary Clark Jr., Foo Fighters, and more are all slated to perform, with special appearances by FKA Twigs, Fred Armisen, and more.
The energy is palpable. You can see it in the exclusive clip below, which finds St. Vincent — no stranger to energetic covers – taking on "Controversy," The Purple One's wiggly seven-minute exploration of sexuality, race, the divine, and more.
Clad in white boots and a pale purple outfit (naturally), she kicks off the tune strumming her guitar and unleashing its iconic opening lyrics: "I just can't believe all the things people say (Controversy) / Am I black or white? Am I straight or gay? (Controversy)." As St. Vincent charges forward into Prince's realm, backed by about a dozen other musicians and singers, headlines flash on a screen behind her, underscoring the song's exploration of perception and curiosity.
In 2017, St. Vincent spoke about Prince during a tribute radio show on Beats 1, sharing a story about how he'd come to see her play a concert in New York City in 2014. "I spent the entire show so incredibly nervous that Prince was there, but he didn't leave," she said. "He stayed until the encore and just slipped out on the very last song so he could miss the crowd."
See the rest of the performance, along with so many more, during Let's Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince tonight at 9 p.m. ET on CBS and CBS All Access.