I wrote this in the aftermath of the news breaking about Prince and then lost confidence in posting it amidst the multitude of so many awesome odes, tributes, anecdotes. My old boss from my publicity days pulled Prince into a pitch black closet in an effort to escape some throngs and I remember him saying how funny he was. I thought about how he would be sharing that story that week. And there were so many, deservedly so. Besides those who lost of a friend and colleague, there were millions, perhaps billions, who were touched by his music.
So so many of us who have a song, or two, maybe even three or four or ten that bring us to a moment of joy, revelry. I imagine there are few in this world who don’t love at least one. They are infectiously good…
Kiss, Raspberry Beret, Do Me Baby, Pop Life, Nothing Compares 2 U, I Could Never Take The Place of Your Man, I Would Die 4 U, U Got the Look, I Feel For You (Chaka Khan), Jungle Love (The Time), I Wanna Be Your Lover, Take Me With You. The other top hits. A lesser known song of the Batman soundtrack—The Arms of Orion—a duet with Sheena Easton. One of my besties and I would listen to this on a cassette, tediously rewinding over and over on our way into the city when we snuck out after bedtime to go clubbing.
Often, even earlier that week, I listen to Purple Rain and the Beautiful Ones on repeat. Over and over.
Alone in my living room as a kid, his music was part of the key to hope and freedom I was seeking. Singing at the top of my lungs and dancing like crazy. And then, with friends, dancing like crazy, singing at the top of our lungs. And now, still.
I felt very similarly about Bowie but this one is hitting a little harder – perhaps because we learned that Bowie at least knew the end was coming.
When I started writing songs and was working up the courage to put together a band, I studied liner notes (back when we had them readily available!) to look at the instrumentation of my favorite artists. I remember being absolutely dumbfounded when I read Prince played most, if not all, of the instruments on his records. Yes, he had an incredible group of musicians with him along the way and for his live shows, but the recordings were often done ALL by him.
I did a double take and then thought, wow, I need to do more and wondered if I should try to learn drums.
I decided no on the drums but was utterly utterly awestruck at that point by a whole other level of what Prince was: pure, astronomically fantastical genius.