As I write this brief memorial note I am ready to rename 2016 into “The Year That Hated Music” for as I map out thoughts, the news is circulating faster and more furious about the passing of Prince Rogers Nelson who the music fans of the world knew simply as Prince. He was 57 years of age.
The news was alarming for sure when I heard this thanks to a very dear friend as we chatted on Facebook and it instantly made me recall hearing that just the other day how Prince’s plane was landed immediately based on illness that the musician was dealing with. There were reports of flu and possible pneumonia but he was given the once over and released. Earlier today he was found in his Minnesota home and for many of his fans the world stopped moving as they coped with the news. The musician was surely one of the most flamboyant and influential to so very many. I was always among the more casual fans and loved his guitar player along with the incredibly iconic release of “Purple Rain”. When that album came out I didn’t know a single person that didn’t own a copy in some format whether it be LP, cassette tape and yes even on 8-track cassette tape since those were still a thing back then. Personally speaking I had already been a bit of a follower of his tunes from before that time but only for a brief time after the legendary album. I was moving into different sounds and focusing on the heavier side of music life but would always be able to return to those tunes I loved to find some musical piece of mind. Prince was also notably known for being a staunch supporter for the rights of the musician and even began referring to himself with an unpronounceable symbol for a number of years. At times he might have been thought of as arrogant but I always attributed it to his stratospheric level of talent. He composed and performed on numerous instruments as well as creating the style and image of all of his varied incarnations. In some sense Prince had a lot in common with the late great David Bowie who the world also lost early this year. 2016 has been a very rough one for fans of music for sure. On behalf of my humble outlet I’d like to wish his family, friends, band mates and worldwide fans the deepest of condolences. Thank you Prince for being such a talent, inspiration and person who was on top of his game over and over again. Losing your ideas is a tremendous blow to artists rights and musical creativity and one that is not easily bounced back from. Though you explored numerous styles over the course of your career (Jazz, Funk, Power Pop, Blues in addition to Rock) I always felt you were one who best showed what being a Rock star was all about. The opening to his milestone “Purple Rain” begins with the spoken words of “Dearly beloved, We are gathered here today, To get through this thing called life”. Let’s do that in his honor today and in the coming weeks as it all begins to hit us harder. Gather together, and be together. Love one another stronger if at all possible as we only have so much time together. Goodnight Prince.
There is so much to know about Prince the musician which I did not touch upon here since it can all be learned on his very documented Wikipedia entry. Click the link below to learn what is to be learned. Make sure you go to your music library and pull out any of the albums that you might have from this iconic performer because you will not find much on Spotify or even YouTube since he was quite protective of his music.
Official Artist Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_%28musician%29