In Remembrance: Prince, A Look Back
Words by Sarah Bourque
Published April 21, 2016
In 2009, the world lost one of the greatest musical artists to ever grace the earth, Michael Jackson, also known as the King of Pop. Today, the world lost it’s Prince. Born Prince Rogers Nelson in Minneapolis, MN on June 7, 1958, little did he know he would go on to become an icon, beloved by millions of fans around the world. At the age of seven, he wrote his first song. At the age of 19, he unsuccessfully recorded several demos, but that all changed with the release of For You in 1978. His album Prince, in 1979, reached platinum status and was the lift off he needed to keep the momentum of his success going.
1984 was the year he released his movie, and the album of the same name, Purple Rain. This also marked the pivotal point where he started referring to his back up band as The Revolution. To this day, it’s hard to think of Prince without the thought of Purple Rain popping into the brain immediately. During the ’80’s, his success continued, with the release of such albums as Around The World in a Day, Parade, and Sign O’ The Times, an album that was produced after the disbandment of The Revolution. The ’80’s became an era that involved quietly writing and producing songs for numerous artists under various pseudonyms.
1991 saw the birth of his new band, The New Power Generation. However, in 1993, allegedly due to contractual disputes with Warner Bros., he dropped the name Prince and, instead, began using a symbol referred to as Love Symbol #2. The symbol was impossible to recreate with a written font and he became known around the industry as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince. After releasing five more albums, he was finally able to release himself of the contract with Warner Bros.
In 2000, he switched back to using his name Prince once again, and went on to release 15 more records. His final album, Hit n Run Phase Two, was originally released exclusively through the streaming service, Tidal, before being available to the public for purchase.
His list of awards include seven Grammy’s, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award. He has sold over 100 million records worldwide and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. On a lighter note, Dave Chappelle did a hilarious skit recreating the true story of Charlie Murphy that involved playing basketball with Prince.
Being ever the good sport, Prince released album cover art for his single “Breakfast Can Wait” that included a picture of Dave Chappelle as Prince on the cover. Great moments of his career include having a residency for 21 shows at the O2 Arena in London during the summer of 2007, as well as performing at the half-time show at the Super Bowl during that same year. He performed at Coachella in 2008, The Montreaux Jazz Festival in 2009, and a concert at his own complex, known as Paisley Park, in Minneapolis, MN where he lived, in October of 2009.
Prince was a musical genius. He had the ability to play multiple instruments, and play them well. He played nearly all of the instruments on his first five albums. He even had a recording studio at his home, allowing him creative freedom whenever an idea struck. Live performances were high energy, jammed with excitement, and included spontaneous moments on stage with random musicians that may have been pulled out of the crowd. His death in Minneapolis today sent shockwaves around the world. His passing at the age of 57 was much too soon. Fans at all corners of the earth are in mourning, and the music industry lost a musician that only comes around once in a lifetime.
Prince, may you Rest In Peace. Your musical heart and soul is a true loss. You will be missed.