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Mesmerizing and memorable live performances by Prince

Prince has been heralded for many traits, but his electric stage presence, splashy showmanship and sexually charged theatrics put him at the forefront of the music world's live performers.

These talents were well documented over Prince's career through his performances on award shows and on stage — during his own concerts and in surprise appearances at others.

As fans mourn his death, here's a look at some of Prince's most memorable live performances.

Super Bowl halftime show, 2007

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Despite torrential rains falling on Miami's Dolphin Stadium, a blue-suited, bandana-clad Prince took to the stage — shaped like his signature love symbol — looking cool and collected.

He launched into an epic 12-minute performance that is widely considered to be the best halftime show performance of all time. The set list included his own songs like Let's Go Crazy and Baby, I'm a Star as well as covers of Bob Dylan's All Along the Watchtower and Creedence Clearwater Revival's Proud Mary.

The moment: Backed by hundreds of marching band members, Prince rips through a guitar solo during his hit Purple Rain. At one point, he appears as a silhouette behind a white sheet billowing in the wind and rain. He crouches, gropes his guitar and wails on it in a suggestive manner.

In concert with James Brown and Michael Jackson, 1983

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It's hard to upstage musical icons like James Brown and Michael Jackson. But Prince managed to do just that during one of Brown's concerts in Los Angeles. Jackson and Prince were in the audience at the concert and Brown called them up on stage.

Prince borrowed a guitar and played for a moment before taking off his shirt, wailing into the microphone and contorting his body around the stage. At one point, he leaned against a massive prop lamp post and almost brought it down onto the audience.

Tributes have started pouring in on the video, with people mourning the loss of all three musicians and dubbing them the Kings of Soul, Rock and Pop.

The moment: Prince flails his arms around on stage, conducting Brown's backing band and the cheering audience members. 

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, 2004

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Prince, ZZ Top, Bob Seger and George Harrison were among the musicians inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. Harrison's posthumous induction brought out an all-star assortment of musicians — including his Travelling Wilbury's bandmates Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne — to perform While My Guitar Gently Weeps

But it was the appearance of Prince — donning a red hat and a wide open matching red shirt — that stole the tribute. He brought his Telecaster to a performance full of acoustic guitars. At the song's end, he tossed it up in the air and effortlessly walked off the stage.

The moment: Prince solos while leaning back off of the stage and out into the audience. A man holds him up while Harrison's son, Dhani (who was also playing on stage) looks on in amazement and amusement.

Capitol Theatre, 1982

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Prince's performance at the now closed Capitol Theatre in Passaic, N.J., was one of his most legendary. Though early in his career, the set defined the genre-bending sound Prince became known for, combining elements of gospel, rock, funk, soul and R&B.

The concert included songs like Dirty Mind, Do Me, Baby and the encore Jack U Off, which showcased the sexual motifs and explicit lyrics that Prince helped make mainstream. Many of the tunes are difficult to hear over all the shrieks and squeals from the audience.

The moment: During an extended version of I Wanna Be Your Lover, Prince gets down on his knees and repurposes his electric guitar into a slide guitar. Prince massages the head of his guitar over and over and finishes the tune lying on his back.

MTV Video Awards, 1991


Prince performs in a see-through yellow suit at the MTV Video Music Awards in September 1991. (Kevork Djansezian/Associated Press)

This is regarded as being one of the most risqué music awards show performances of all time. While performing his tune Gett Off, Prince gyrated around the stage while wearing a see-through yellow suit, which left little to be imagined.

He was joined on stage by half-naked dancers wearing masks and Roman pillars on fire.

The moment: Prince spins around to reveal his bottomless attire, showcasing his assets.

Performing with Beyoncé at the Grammys, 2004

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Prince opened the 2004 Grammys in style — kicking off a six-minute medley of songs with a soulful rendition of Purple Rain, where he was joined by Beyoncé. The pair performed together on Baby I'm a Star, Beyoncé's Crazy in Love and Let's Go Crazy.

Beyoncé, who had recently launched her solo career, recalled how star-struck she was during the performance and the rehearsal process in a 2012 magazine interview.

"I still can't believe it," she said. "He just kept on saying, 'Don't be scared. Come on. Belt it out.'" 

The moment: The duo lean back on each other at the end of Let's Go Crazy, as Prince solos on his guitar and Beyoncé wails.

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