Bruno Mars paid a heartfelt tribute to late singer Amy Winehouse during Sunday night’s 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, belting out a version of “Valerie” – a song Winehouse covered for friend and producer Mark Ronson’s 2007 album “Version.”
Mars – who didn’t take home a “moon man” despite being nominated for multiple awards – was accompanied by a big band and doo-wop backing vocals as he shuffled around the stage in sequin blue suit and black tie singing “Say Amy, oh Amy/ I love you darling, I love you darling… Say Amy, whoa Amy, we’ll miss you baby.”
In the crowd Adele sang along as actor Russel Brand – who also shared his memories of Winehouse during the event – and his wife Kate Perry watched Bruno’s performance with tearful eyes.
“First time I met her, she was kind of like a daft, dopey person, just wandering around a little bit crazy,” Brand said in his touching tribute to Amy, adding that once he heard her sing, he saw her talent, her “timeless sound, like a roar from the guts of humanity. The kind of voice that Billie Holiday sung with, the kind of voice that Ella Fitzgerald sung with.”
In addition to the tributes by Mars and Brand, legendary singer Tony Bennett remembered Winehouse, calling her a “true jazz artist” and sharing video footage of himself and Amy recording “Body and Soul” earlier this year at London’s Abbey Road Studios.
Watch Bruno Mars’ performance of “Valerie” below: