August 29, 2011 06:50:15 GMT
The special tribute to remember the life and music legacy of the 'Rehab' hitmaker was led by Brand and then Bennett before being closed by Mars' performance.
Amy Winehouse tribute at the 28th annual MTV Video Music Awards was led by Tony Bennett, Russell Brand and Bruno Mars. First, it was Brand who took the mic to remember the late singer. "She was a mate of mine and tragically this year we lost her," he said.
"First time I met her, she was kind of like a daft, dopey person, just wandering around a little bit crazy, like a lot of people who are drawn to big cities with a peculiar, unknowable talent," he went on. "That incredible, extraordinary voice coming from that crazy person, a person I knew would wander stinking of the booze, a loopy, loose-cannon person - I thought, 'How can that be coming out of her?' "
"After that I gave her a lot more attention, because it became evident upon hearing that divine voice that she was a genius," the British funnyman added. He later introduced Amy's "Body and Soul" duet partner Bennett to take over the stage to honor the "Back to Black" hitmaker. The music vet praised her as a singer with unbelievable talent.
"Of all young artists I've ever met in the last 20 years, she was a true jazz artist in the tradition of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. She had the gifts," he said before adding, "She sang beautiful and we made a recording of it and I love to have you take a look at it." Footage of his recording session with the "Rehab" singer at the famed at Abbey Road Studios in London was screened.
After Bennett retreated from the stage, Brand came back to present Bruno Mars' live performance. The "Grenade" crooner covered one of Amy's most popular songs "Valerie" and showed off fancy footwork. The groovy, jazzy tune led the crowd including Adele to a sing-along. "Say Amy, oh Amy/ I love you darling, I love you darling/ Say Amy, whoa Amy, we'll miss you baby," he sings at the end of it.