By Jon Wiederhorn
One of the highlights of Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl halftime performance last night (Feb 4) was his homage to his greatest music hero, Prince. The segment included Justin singing Prince’s “I Will Die 4 U” and a projection of the late artist bathed in purple light.
“It’s a moment for me, and if I’m being quite honest, it’s because he’s always been the pinnacle of musicianship,” Timberlake told Jimmy Fallon during an interview on an after-game episode of The Tonight Show. “And when we decided that the serendipity and synergy [of being] in Minnesota — he’s such a special thing here aside from what he is all over the world. I just felt like 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.”
Timberlake explained to Fallon how his team technically assembled the Prince tribute. “We got the actual vocal stems from ‘I Would Die 4 U’ and the actual recording, and then we got uncut footage from his performance of it in Purple Rain and somehow, someway, by the grace of — probably Prince looking down on us — it synced up and it was this crazy, serendipitous moment.”
During his halftime performance, Timberlake avoided using guest stars or controversial stunts in favor of a singing a cavalcade of greatest hits, including “Rock Your Body,” “SexyBack,” “Suit & Tie” and “Filthy” from his new album Man of the Woods.
Watch Fallon’s interview with Timberlake’s below: