Justin Timberlake says he honored Prince in the best way he knew how.
During the Super Bowl halftime show in the late music legend’s hometown of Minneapolis on Sunday, the Man Of The Woods inserted a cover of I Would Die 4 U — along with a pre-recorded video of the late singer displayed on a projection screen — into the medley of his own hits.
While the tribute didn’t include a hologram (which have been totally against Prince’s wishes), people’s feathers are still ruffled about whether Timberlake should have used his likeness at all.
As a reminder, back in 1998, Prince had this to say about the use of virtual reality in performances:
“Certainly not. That’s the most demonic thing imaginable. Everything is as it is, and it should be. If I was meant to jam with Duke Ellington, we would have lived in the same age. That whole virtual reality thing… it really is demonic. And I am not a demon. Also, what they did with that Beatles song [“Free As a Bird”], manipulating John Lennon’s voice to have him singing from across the grave… that’ll never happen to me. To prevent that kind of thing from happening is another reason why I want artistic control.”
Which is why fans had comments like this after watching Justin turn the city purple:
“I wish #Prince had written a will. All of this could’ve been avoided. Honoring Prince is a good thing. Disrespecting his wishes and using his image anyway is damned disrespectful.”
While appearing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon right after his performance, the 37-year-old explained the decision:
“It’s a moment for me, if I’m being quite honest, because he’s always been the pinnacle of musicianship for me. And when we decided that, like, the serendipity and synergy that we would be in Minneapolis, and that, you know, he’s such a special thing here, aside from what he is all over the world, I just felt I wanted to do something for this city and something for him that, would just be the ultimate homage to what I consider the GOAT [Greatest of All Time] of musicians. And also, I’m not gonna lie to you guys because Questlove is the encyclopedia on music, but also, like, I feel like a gatekeeper on Prince, so if I got the thumbs up from Quest, I’m good.”
He went on:
“I mean, you have to understand: We got the actual real vocal stems from ‘I Would Die 4 U.’ The actual recording! And then we got uncut footage from his performance of it in Purple Rain. Somehow, some way, by the grace of├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥probably Prince looking down on us├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥it synced up. It was like this crazy serendipitous moment… I just wanted to use the opportunity to do something special for this city, but most of all, for my favorite musician of all time.”
Clearly, his intentions were good and he just wanted to show love to his idol.
Watch his full interview (below)!!
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[Image via NBC.]