D’Angelo Performs Prince’s “Sometimes It Snows In April” In An Emotional Tribute (Video)
Earlier today, D’Angelo released a stirring and subdued version of Prince’s “Venus De Milo,” as a tribute to his fallen hero. The song is featured on Prince’s Parade (Music from the Motion Picture Under the Cherry Moon). The film ends in tragedy, with the death of a major character, and the soundtrack follows suit with “Sometimes It Snows In April,” tender ode to a friend who is gone too soon.
For fans of Prince who are familiar with the song, it has been top of mind since Prince’s sudden and shocking death on April 21. The song has always been a bit of a mystery. While the film was presumably set in the 80s, when it was released, the song is sung from the perspective of a character who was alive during the Civil War, with its opening lines of “Tracy died soon after a long fought civil war. Just after I’d wiped away his last tear. I guess he’s better off than he was before, a whole lot better off than the fools he left here. I used to cry for Tracy because he was my only friend. Those kind of cars don’t pass you every day. I used to cry for Tracy because I wanted to see him again. But sometimes sometimes life ain’t always the way.”
The song being sung in the first person about a person named Tracy is also interesting, as Prince’s character in Under The Cherry Moon is named Christopher Tracy. While the names are certainly more than coincidental, the divergence in timing and use of the last name left room for interpretation that, while the song had parallels with the film, it’s subject matter was bigger than that.
Most haunting about the song, is its chorus of “Sometimes it snows in April. Sometimes I feel so bad, so bad. Sometimes I wish that life was never ending, but all good things, they say, never last.” Prince’s death this month, of all months, has transformed the song from poetic to prophetic.
D’Angelo’s rendition of the song is largely faithful to the original. While Prince’s version featured both piano and acoustic guitar, D’Angelo chose only the piano and the accompaniment of two female vocalists. By the end of the performance, he is moved to tears, as he sends his biggest musical inspiration off, fittingly.