Thursday, April 21, 2016
PRINCE (1958 - 2016)
It's with a sad and heavy heart, I have to report that Prince, the boldly innovative and incredibly prolific funk & roll artist, has passed away. There has not been a specific cause of his death disclosed to date, although he was involved in an emergency airplane landing last week and rushed to the hospital.
Prince Nelson Rodgers was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Even after becoming famous and traveling across the entire globe, the city remained his home with him later building Paisley Park recording studio there. Both of his parents were jazz musicians and a young Prince took to music eagerly. At seventeen, he recorded several demos that caught the attention of Warner Bros. Records. He signed to the label with the very rare offer of creative control for three albums and ownership of the publishing rights.
Two years later, Prince released his debut, "For You" for which he wrote, produced and played all of the instruments. The album wasn't a major hit but the single, "Soft and Wet", which made the top-twenty on the soul chart, definitely made people take notice of his dazzling talent and sexually provocative nature. His self-titled follow-up in 1979 would be his first major breakthrough with the song, "I Wanna be Your Lover" reaching the soul and pop charts and selling over a million copies.
Purple Rain" in 1984 which was loosely based on his life. The movie became a box-office hit but the soundtrack was a massive smash selling over thirteen million copies in the U.S alone with four top-ten singles including the title track and "When Doves Cry".
Prince was one of the highest selling artists of all time with sales of over 100 million records. He had recorded thirty-nine studio album with his latest, "HITnRUN: Phase One" and "HITnRUN: Phase Two" both released last year. Prince won seven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, an Academy Award and was inducted in to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
Much like David Bowie, (another icon we sadly lost earlier this year), Prince was a musical chameleon that confidently mixed and twisted many genres to create his own unique sound. Also like Bowie, he pushed the boundaries of gender norms, performing in make-up, high-heels and colorfully flamboyant costumes that some might consider feminine. Yet Prince was unconcerned with questions or comments regarding his sexuality as he was quite secure and seemed to enjoy the controversy his appearance stirred.
Prince rarely gave interviews with the most infamous was during his very first national television appearance on "American Bandstand" when he pissed off host Dick Clark when he barely spoke to answer any questions. I'm sure the singer was just shy but it also seems clear that he preferred to let his music speak for him. The Artist who will forever be known as Prince has left behind a vast amount of great music for us to cherish and enjoy. He will truly be missed.
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