Last night’s Billboard Awards reacted quickly to the passing of Bee Gees member Robin Gibb, with the show’s co-host, Modern Family co-star Julie Bowen saying that “His voice, and the music of The Bee Gees will live on forever.” It wasn’t the only tribute to a recently departed music legend during the night.
Pop singer Natasha Bedingfield paid tribute to Donna Summer, who passed away last week, singing Summer’s “Last Dance.” Whitney Houston got a somewhat more elaborate tribute, with R&B star John Legend performing her “The Greatest Love Of All” backed by an orchestra, followed by former American Idol winner Jordin Sparks (who co-starred with Houston in her final film, Sparkle) performing “I Will Always Love You.” Houston’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina, accepted Billboard’s Millennium Award for her mother. One other musical tribute was dedicated to the late Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch, with The Voice judge Cee Lo Green and his hip-hop group Goodie Mob performing an excerpt of The Beastie Boys “Fight For Your Right.”
Happily, one music legend who was being honored was there in the flesh: Stevie Wonder. The Motown legend received the Billboard Icon Award, and performed his classics “Overjoyed” and “Higher Ground” with multi-platinum superstar Alicia Keys.
— Brian Ives