Sigh. Between David Bowie and now Prince, it’s turning into a rotten year for lovers of incredible pop music. So sorry to hear of the sudden passing of pop legend Prince today. I had heard he was sick recently and was treated and released from a hospital, so hearing that he had passed was a sad shock.
I remember being mildly intrigued by Prince when he first appeared on the scene in the 80’s. He was a bit odd, and had a defiant but flirtatious sensuality in his music. I wasn’t much into the casual and sometimes dirty sex references in his songs, but his psychedelic/blues/rock style of playing and his metallic Beau Brummel style and James Brown moves were so alluring. In time he drew me in more and more. And the guitar shredding!! Jimi Hendrix was surely smiling down from heaven when Prince first tore the opening chords of When Doves Cry? And who could resist a fine young, slightly androgynous man seductively crawling out of a bathtub to invite you in?
Prince was a prolific writer; not only songs for himself, but for many others. Remember “Love, Thy Will Be Done” by Martika, or Stand Back by Stevie Nicks? Just a small sample. A brilliant musician, Prince could play 27 instruments, and in his genius he knew precisely which ones to use and combine to make a perfect melody. But in the cloud of his techno-funk, one forgets that all he needed was a guitar. You’ll love this simple unplugged acoustic set he did for MTV; I love how he plays off the audience.
Prince was a private person, not out of arrogance or pride, but just because he felt (and rightly so) it was his music that mattered. When asked if it was okay for him to sing in the pouring rain at Super Bowl LXI, he said “Can you make it rain more?” This is an astonishing performance, and couldn’t have been better if the rain has been specially ordered.
You might have noticed there that Prince riffed some Jimi Hendrix there, for he was an apostle of all types of music; funk, r& b, soul, rock, reggae, pop, jazz, everything. When he played, he was the instrument. And here, he made a surprising and blistering solo for While My Guitar Gently Weeps at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame ( It starts at 3:33) Look at Dhani grin!
He is gone way too soon. His catalog of music is unfinished; there are purported over 100 unfinished songs). In the next few days you’ll hear many of his songs from nearly 4 decades of musical genius. It may make you sad now to know that there will be no more. But there’s no better way to honor his memory than to crank up the following and dance, dance, dance!
Good Night Sweet Prince. <3 I hope you’re jamming with Jimi.