MTV Video Music Awards' Amy Winehouse Tribute: Russell Brand, Tony Bennett, Bruno Mars Pay Their Respects (Video)
The “Grenade” singer performed a version of “Valerie” in honor of the late musician, while THR spoke with her goddaughter on the black carpet.
In a rare serious moment, Russell Brand took the stage to honor his late friend, Amy Winehouse.
Brand, who knew the singer before her Grammy Award winning Back to Black made her a household name, recalled the first time he heard her voice, describing a “timeless sound.”
“She was kind of like a daft, dopey person, just kinda wandering around. Kinda crazy,” he recalled of the late singer. “The first time I heard her sing, I didn’t even know it was her.”
Brand then introduced Tony Bennett, who unveiled a never-before-seen video from his March 2011 recording session with Winehouse at the Abbey Road Studios in London.
“I recorded with Amy Winehouse and she was so unbelievable, because of all the artists I met in the last 20 years, she was a true jazz artist,” Bennett said, likening the “Rehab” singer’s vocals to the legendary Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.
The duo performed “Body and Soul” in what ended up being Winehouse’s last studio recording before her sudden death in July. The track will be released on his upcoming Duets II album, out Sept. 20.
The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Winehouse’s goddaughter, Dionne Bromfield, who revealed that she’d love to see Adele cover “Love is a Losing Game.”
“I’m sure Amy Winehouse is looking down and is really happy,” she added.
Bruno Mars was ultimately chosen to pay musical homage to Winehouse, as he put a new spin on her wildly successful cover of The Zutons’ “Valerie.”
Mars was nominated for four moonmen at the Aug. 28 awards ceremony, but ultimately went home empty handed. Watch his performance of “Valerie” below.