The music world lost one if its greatest entertainers earlier today, as news broke that Prince Rogers Nelson passed away at the age of 57. The cause of his passing has not been revealed at this time.
To attempt to sum up Prince is to infantilize space and time itself. Terms like “innovator” and “pioneer” are commonly used to define him, yet don’t seem to fully give justice. But words will have to suffice.
Prince’s incorporation of numerous styles of music into his career allowed him rocket into stardom that he was able to maintain for decades. Breaking through in 1978 with Prince, the sophomore album went platinum thanks to “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” and “I Wanna Be Your Lover”. His followup albums continued his meteoric rise in rapid succession, with Dirty Mind, Controversy, and 1999 each being released a year apart.
“I don’t really care so much what people say about me because it usually is a reflection of who they are. For example, if people wish I would sound like I used to sound, then it says more about them than it does me.” – Prince
One of Prince’s defining qualities is that he literally did not care about opinions outside his own head. In fact, he cared so little about consequences about he changed his brand from his singular name to a singular symbol. then proceeded to release five records over two years because he wanted to get out of his contract with Warner Bros. The trepidation of writing, recording, and releasing that many albums over that short of a time span would drive most musicians insane for fear of putting out an inferior product and fan backlash. But didn’t care. He would continue his impressive run of releases that included 15 albums from 2000-2015 after going back to Prince.
As if mixing sounds and yearly releases weren’t enough of a tough task, Prince became one of the most entertaining artists of this or any generation. His confidence exuded to the audience every time he took the stage, whether it was during a ridiculous guitar solo or showcasing his vast vocal range. His 2007 Super Bowl performance has gone down as one of the greatest ever. How many other SB performers would tie-in something like “All Along The Watchtower” at an event like that?
In 2004, he played alongside Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, and Steve Winwood at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction for George Harrison:
Make sure you watch the end. After burning up the guitar strings, he simply tosses the axe and all 5′ 2″ of him walks off stage like he’s ten feet tall. Confidence. That’s what the world lost today.
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