One of the surprise moments of the 2016 American Music Awards was the presentation of the Top Soundtrack award, which went to a record that first won AMA recognition a full three decades ago.
The honor went to the late Prince’s classic smash 1984 set Purple Rain, a soundtrack that took honors for Favorite Album in both Pop/Rock and Soul/R&B back in 1985. According to the AMA’s criterion — which is based on “album and digital single sales, radio airplay, streaming, social activity, and touring” — Purple Rain was a contender due to its resurgence following Prince’s death on April 21.
Prince’s younger sister, Tyka Nelson — who as the superstar’s only full biological sibling was his closest living relative at the time of his passing — gave an emotional speech accepting on behalf of her late brother.
“Prince defied the odds — a black teen from Minneapolis with a goal to electrify the world,” Nelson noted. “He had the courage to be different. With his vision, and God-given talent, he is still one of the world’s most respected and loved artists. What he told me was that he wanted to be known as the world’s most prolific songwriter. And with 984 titles to his credit and counting, he has done just that.
“In the words of Prince, with love, honor, and respect for every living thing in the universe, separation ceases. And we all become one being, singing one song,” she continued, before naming all of her other sibling’s names and breaking down in tears.
“We’ll keep this for you at Paisley Park. Until we see you again, this is for you,” she concluded.
Prince’s classic disc beat out the soundtracks Suicide Squad and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the latter of which was helmed by lauded composer John Williams.
The American Music Awards were aired live from in Los Angeles on Nov. 20, 2016.