An hour-long tribute, titled “Goodnight Prince” by Saturday Night Live, reminisced on the times Prince performed on the late night show as well as the skits inspired by the “Diamonds and Pearls” singer.
The April 23 airing was hosted by an emotional Jimmy Fallon.
“Prince has been a special presence here at ‘Saturday Night Live’ for the last four decades,” he said. “From his debut on the show as a 22-year-old in 1981, to his surprise performance at the after party for the ‘SNL’ 40th anniversary. Tonight we wanted to pay tribute to him by looking back at his performances over the years and by remembering what he meant to us. It was a lot.”
He added: “Other people may have been on the show more times, or performed more frequently, but there was something different about a Prince performance It was special. It was an event. It was Prince.”
The tribute walked down memory lane with Prince’s first ever appearance in 1981 and captured his return a few years later in 1989, when he’d celebrate the show’s 15th anniversary. During that year he performed, “Electric Chair.” Prince would appear again 2006, performing “Fury” and “Beautiful, Loved & Blessed.”
The show also aired a never-before-seen impromptu performance by Prince during an after-party that took place following the show’s 40th anniversary special last year. Fallon considered that particular night one of the best nights of his life.
Fallon, donning a purple tie, reiterated the impact Prince had on pop culture, noting that even the color purple in pop culture is synonymous with Prince.
“Times have changed, styles have come and gone. But no matter what Prince has never not been cool,” said Fallon. “For my generation, our generation, he was an icon—you couldn’t take your eyes off of him.”
Prince passed away in Minneapolis on April 21 at age 57.