You Have To See Prince's First 'SNL' Performance

Another Prince tribute has been added to the now growing list. Instead of airing a repeat episode, Saturday Night Live will honor the late artist in "Goodnight Sweet Prince," a series of clips that will highlight Prince's memorable performances on NBC's late-night show. One of these performances, will most likely be Prince's first SNL appearance in 1981, when he sang "Partyup" off his album Dirty Mind. In the wake of Prince's death on Thursday, both fans and the industry have found ways to honor the artist's legacy. MTV, VH1, and BET hosted hours of Prince's iconic music videos. His film, Purple Rain, will be playing in 87 AMC theaters over this weekend. Even Fox's New Girl will replay its special Prince episode (titled "Prince") for audiences. But, the SNL tribute will be a particularly special one, considering how remarkable Prince's performances were on the show.

Prince was just 22 when he made his first appearance as a musical guest on Feb. 21, 1981. He was included in SNL's 15th anniversary special in September of 1989, but he didn't return to the show as a guest again until Feb. 4, 2006. In 2006, Prince sang "Fury" and "Beautiful, Loved and Blessed." Then came his unprecedented set in 2014: a performance that made history — one uninterrupted, eight-minute long mashup of songs. The artist sang "Clouds," "Marz," and "Anotherlove" all together.

Sure, Prince didn't appear on SNL as often as fans would have liked, but each of his three performances was remarkable in its own right. Although he might be best remembered for his latest, epic eight-minute performance, the appearance that holds just as much weight — if not more — was his first. It's a peek into the artist before his musical legacy catapulted, before "Purple Rain," before the artist became "The Artist Formerly Known As Prince" — and went back again, before the Super Bowl performance of '07. It's classic, unabashed Prince.

Don't miss the SNL tribute tonight, April 23 at 11:30 p.m. ET.