Top 10 greatest Prince performances

July 27 03:29 2014

Sunday marks the 30th anniversary of the Oscar-winning rock musical drama Purple Rain.


It has been three decades since Prince made his big screen debut and played the memorable role of the Kid. The singer’s semi-autobiographical film was directed by Albert Magnoli and grossed more than $80 million at the box office.

In the 1984 flick, Prince played a talented but troubled frontman of a Minneapolis-based band. In an effort to escape his physically abusive father and emotionally abusive mother, the Kid spends his days rehearsing and nights performing. Later, he meets an aspiring singer named Apollonia, who he becomes romantically involved with before repeating his father’s destructive behavior. By the end of the movie, the Kid tries to come to grips with his life and gives a crowd-pleasing performance that showcases his musical and emotional maturity.

The film spawned the chart-topping hits “When Doves Cry,” “Let’s Go Crazy” and of course “Purple Rain.” The album of the same name sold over 20 million copies worldwide.

In honor of Prince’s iconic performance in the film, we decided to countdown some of the singer’s other great performances.

Here is a Top 10 list of the best performances from the musical genius that is Prince.

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10. VH1 Honors performance

By 1997, the musician had changed his name and used a symbol as his representation. He was referred to as The Artist Formally Known as Prince or simply The Artist. VH1 honored the singer who gave a noteworthy, almost 10-minute performance of his hits “Holy River,” “Take Me With You” and “Raspberry Beret.” In 2000, he changed his name back to Prince.

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9. Baby I’m a Star Grammys performance

Prince and The Revolution gave an energetic performance at the 1985 Grammys with the “Baby I’m a Star” hit from the movie. Life imitated art because just like in the film, it was certainly a crowd pleaser.

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8. Arsenio Hall Show takeover performances

Back in 1991, Prince literally took over the entire program of an episode of the Arsenio Hall Show. Filmed during the Diamonds and Pearls era, the singer and his band, the New Power Generation, performed hits that included “Kiss,” “Cream” and “Daddy Pop.”

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7. Grammy performance with Beyoncé

For “Purple Rain”’s 20th anniversary, Prince opened up the 2004 Grammys telecast with a memorable melody of the song. He was joined on stage by Beyoncé and the two belted out a beautiful rendition and became the talk of the night.

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6. Rave Un2 the Year 2000 performance

The “Party Like it’s 1999” singer put together the Rave Un2 the Year 2000 concert for a New Year’s Eve bash, which featured other musical superstars including Lenny Kravitz. The multi-talented musicians played guitars while singing The Guess Who cover “American Woman.”

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5. American Music Awards “Purple Rain” performance

Just after the success of the movie, Prince cleaned up at the 1985 American Music Awards. He won several awards that night, beating out Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. During the ceremony, he also took the stage with The Revolution to perform his famous number and received a standing ovation from the crowd.

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4. Paris performance with Stevie Wonder

At a 2010 concert in Paris, Prince joined another icon, Stevie Wonder, for a performance of the song “Superstition.” Concert-goers were treated to the surprise appearance and witnessed two of the best in the business on stage together. Prince played the guitar and Wonder took care of vocals and piano. Sheila E. also hit the stage and did one heck of a job on the tambourine.

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3. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame performance

Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and kicked off the show with some of his biggest hits. The performance that really stood out that night though was when he played the guitar strings alongside Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne and Dhani Harrison. The group played “While my Guitar Gently Weeps,” a tribute to George Harrison.

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MTV Video Music Awards “Get Off” performance

Prince’s performance that ranks No. 2 on our countdown was during the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards. The award show is no stranger to shocking moments and this one was packed with all kinds of debauchery from backup dancers and a bare-bottomed Prince. It is easily one of the star’s most memorable and infamous TV performances.

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1. Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show performance

The No. 1 Prince performance on our countdown is also hailed as the best Super Bowl Halftime Show ever. Prince rocked the stadium during halftime of the 2007 game between the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts. Albeit Madonna, Gloria Estefan, U2 and the late Michael Jackson had some really good ones but Prince’s Super Bowl XLI performance is hard to beat.

Watch (Purple Rain)Superbowl Halftime Performance – Prince in Music | View More Free Videos Online at


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Michelle Kapusta
Michelle Kapusta

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