'This might be the mash-up to end all mash-ups, at least for us,' Leto says of 30 Seconds to Mars' performance

By Nick Romano
September 08, 2017 at 08:38 AM EDT

With David Bowie, Prince, Chester Bennington, George Michael, and Chris Cornell on their minds, 30 Seconds to Mars performed a powerful medley of songs for stars who passed away in the past couple years.

Backed by his bandmates and a gospel choir, lead singer Jared Leto began with the opening lyrics to Prince’s “Purple Rain” before blending in Bowie’s “Heroes.” The tribute performance, recorded for BBC Radio 1, built towards the booming chants of Michael’s “Freedom” and ended with the meditative tones of Linkin Park’s “Crawling” and Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun.”

“This might be the mash-up to end all mash-ups, at least for us,” Leto said of the medley. “It’s a tribute to the beautiful and incredibly talented musicians that have inspired us and we’re really excited to do this song.”

When Bennington died at the age of 41 in July, Leto penned a touching note, which he posted to his followers on social media. “When I think of Chester I remember his smile,” it began. “His laughter, intelligence, kindness, and talent. That absolutely unforgettable voice that was at once delicate, ferocious and always full of emotion. Witnessing his life taught me a lot. Especially about commitment, about kindness, about hard work, about the pursuit and achievement of dreams and mostly, about love.”

Bowie, who died in January of 2016, served as inspiration for Leto’s performance as The Joker in Suicide Squad, he revealed last year. “We discussed David Bowie a bit — not necessarily the music of David, but his class, his elegance, his timelessness,” he said. The Oscar winner added, “I think David Bowie’s probably an inspiration for, like, almost anything you could do creatively.”

Watch the tribute medley above.

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