At the Minneapolis, Minn., stop on their record-shattering “360 Tour,” U2 dedicated “Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” to the late Amy Winehouse, who passed away Saturday at the age of 27. “We wrote this next song for Michael Hutchence, but you will understand tonight if we play it for Amy Winehouse,” Bono said before playing the song.
“Stuck In A Moment” was written for Hutchence, the lead singer of INXS who committed suicide in 1997. The singer was a close friend of the members of U2.
The gesture is the latest of many that have flooded in since Winehouse’s passing. On Saturday night, just hours after the news broke, M.I.A. released the demo “27” on her Soundcloud in the “Back to Black” singer’s honor. “I recorded this song B4 vickileekx and never put it out,” M.I.A. said on Twitter. “It’s a unfinished demo. R.I.P A.M.Y.”
These tributes to Winehouse join a long tradition of musicians expressing their sadness over the death of friend or loved one through song. Read on for some of the best.
“Candle In The Wind,” Elton John
Probably the most famous tribute song of all time, John’s original take appeared on his 1973 album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road in honor of Marilyn Monroe. The legendary singer released an amended version of the song in 1997 following the death of his friend, Princess Diana. John performed the song at Diana’s funeral and later released it as a single. The remixed version went on to become the largest selling single in music history. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the song has “accumulated worldwide sales of 33 million copies.”
“Tha Crossroads,” Bone Thugs-n-Harmony
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony dedicated their 1996 smash to N.W.A. rapper Eazy-E, who signed the group to Ruthless Records in 1994. Eazy-E entered Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in February 1995 believing he had severe asthma but discovered he was suffering from AIDS. The rapper passed away just one month later.
“I’ll Be Missing You,” Diddy (then Puff Daddy) featuring Faith Evans and 112
Recorded as a tribute to Christopher “Notorious B.I.G” Wallace following his March 9, 1997 murder, “I’ll Be Missing You” went on to become one of the biggest hip-hop songs ever, spending 11 weeks at the top of the Billboard chart, the most for any hip-hop song until Eminem’s 2002 track “Lose Yourself.”
“American Pie,” Don McLean
This classic recounts “The Day the Music Died.” That date is February 3, 1959, when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper were tragically killed in a plane crash. Singer Don McLean, a child at the time of the crash and a big fan of Holly, wrote the song in response to his long-held grief. While he’s been mostly mum when discussing the song’s cryptic lyrics, he has said that he found out about Holly’s death while folding newspapers for his morning paper route (which is where the lyric “February made me shiver/with every paper I’d deliver” come from).
“Late,” Ben Folds
The 2003 death of Elliott Smith hit a lot of musicians hard. Songs about or paying tribute to Smith have been recorded by Bright Eyes (“Reinvent The Wheel”), Beck (“Broken Drum”), Third Eye Blind (“Elliott Smith (There’s No Hurry To Eternity)” and Pete Yorn (“Bandstand in the Sky”). Folds’ “Late,” however, actually addresses the confusion that surrounded Smith’s death from two stab wounds to the chest. While it is widely assumed Smith committed suicide – there were no “hesitation wounds,” which is typical when self-afflicted; he’d been fighting with his girlfriend and had a long history of depression; he reportedly left a brief note – the results of his autopsy were officially “inconclusive.” “Late” addresses the disconnect, leaving listeners to determine if Folds is upset with Smith for taking his own life or if he is angry at whomever did.
Do you have a favorite tribute song? Tell us in the comments.