The American Music Awards recognizes the best music from the past year, but the event’s 40th anniversary celebrated the life of one person whose impact sculpted the landscape of the business for more than 60 years.
Dick Clark, who passed away on April 18th at the age of 82, was the integral cog that put the American Music Awards wheels into motion back in 1973. His close friend Stevie Wonder performed a tribute to Clark last night with a medley of his greatest hits.
“I just remember his friendship, his kindness,” Wonder told the crowd at LA’s Nokia Theatre last night (November 18). “And I remember his love for music, his love for people.”
Wonder, who was the AMA Artist of the Decade for the 1970s, asked the crowd to “put their love first” before jumping into his 1980 hit “Master Blaster,” which was accompanied by a photo montage of Clark, various artists and celebrities he knew during his career.
“If y’all know it, sing it!” said Wonder as he transitioned to his 1969 love song “My Cherie Amour,” now accompanied by photos of Clark and his third wife Kari Wigton, whom he was married to from 1977 until his death. As the camera panned the audience, it appears the only attendee who knew the words was No Doubt drummer Adrian Young, who raised a red solo cup to the performance.
Wonder finished the medley with “Sir Duke,” again accompanied by a photo montage of Clark with celebrities and musicians displayed across the big screens at the Nokia Theatre, ending with the image of Dick Clark signing off just as he did so famously during his more than 60-year career.
– E.J. Judge, WCBS-FM
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