The legend known as Prince has left us. The world mourns today as news of the death of one of music’s long standing icons spreads. Social media is overflowing with memorials, tributes, photos and videos from the singer, actor and humanitarian. A vigil is going on outside his Minneapolis estate as I type. There is no concrete cause of death yet but the media reports that he had been battling the flu. The singer had been rushed to the hospital late last week, detouring his plane to land in Illinois to seek treatment. Prince was found unresponsive in an elevator in his studio on the grounds of his massive estate in Minneapolis today Thursday, April 21, 2016.
If you’re in your early 30’s or younger the news of Prince’s death may not touch you as deeply as it touches some. In fact it may be a punchline to you if you’re only familiar with the legendary singer through skits from the Dave Chapelle Show. The reality is the music industry and the world just lost something and someone rare.
Prince was revolutionary, in his style of music, his style of dress and even his level of talent. Prince was no ordinary singer, he could play guitars, piano, drums, the harmonica, the saxophone as well as a slew of other instruments. He wrote and arranged music as well as played his own instruments and sung lead vocals. As an artist there were few who could match his abilities. He is said to have played over 25 instruments.
His talent couldn’t have come as a surprise to his family. His father was a pianist and songwriter, his mother, a jazz singer. Prince wrote his first song, “Funk Machine” at the tender age of 7. He performed in a band in high school with Morris Day who would later go on to become a star in his own right.
In October 1979 he released his self-titled album “Prince.” The album went platinum and produced two hit and Prince and his band were invited to perform on American Bandstand just three months later. Prince followed up quick with another album, “Dirty Mind” in 1980. “Dirty Mind” went gold. It seems that is all it took and Prince was on a roll; in 1980 he went on tour as the opening act for Rick James and years of tours, albums and movies that solidified him as a music genius.
In 1984 he released “Purple Rain” The album sold over 13 million copies and spent 24 weeks as #1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The movie “Purple Rain”, also released in 1984 won an Academy Award for best song score and grossed more than $80 million in the United States.
Prince was twice married, twice divorced and has no living children. His only son died 1 weeks after his 1996 birth from Pfieffer Syndrome. He converted his religion to Jehovah Witness in 2001 and lived his life as a vegetarian. Many people are wondering who will gain control of his extensive music catalog now.
April 7, 2016 Prince canceled two concerts in Georgia saying he was battling the flu. April 15th his plane was forced to land suddenly for medical treatment and less than a week later he has been found dead.
Prince’s passing comes as a surprise and disappointment to his many fans worldwide. He had just recently in the past to years regained control of most of his music from Warner Brothers and was planning to release a new album. Prince also has hinted at writing a memoir.
President Obama took to Facebook to speak on the loss of the music legend
Prince’s death even caused MTV to do something it almost never does these days, play videos. The station skipped it’s normal programming to play “a dedicated block of his most influential music videos.”
“To honor the life and career of musical icon Prince, MTV will change its logo to purple for the entire day and MTV and MTV2 will air a dedicated block of his most influential music videos today beginning at 1:55 p.m. ET. MTV Live will air videos at 3:00 p.m.,” a MTV spokesperson told reporters.
Taking the tribute even further “MTV News will air a dedicated podcast highlighting Prince’s impact on music. MTV News correspondents will be on-the-ground in NYC and Paisley park to get feedback from fans. MTV Snapchat will be a full Prince takeover tomorrow,” MTV has said. “Additionally, interstitials will run on-air throughout the day which will include archival interviews from the legend himself, behind-the-scenes MTV moments and more.” How beautiful a tribute.
Just last year Prince honored us Baltimoreans with a concert, a Rally For Peace, after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody.
Prince leaves behind a catalog of over 50 records, he has won multiple Grammy’s and Mtv Video Music Awards for songs such as “Purple Rain” “I feel For You” and “Kiss.”
The news of his passing caused so many people to flock to his website it is temporarily down. The staff has released a statement.