Monday, April 25, 2016

Prince

Last Thursday, Prince died.  I remember seeing his videos on MTV (when there was M on MTV), and I've heard the music growing up on the radio.  I thought it was alright.  I even remember when a teacher voiced his disapproval of MC Hammer's song "Pray", since it sampled "When Doves Cry".  Of course I was just a middle school kid then, what did I know about anything...

Fast forward a few years, and I was working with some good folks.  One of those guys was Larry.  Larry really liked Prince's music.  I still didn't have an appreciation for his music (again, I've heard it, but thought it was just another song on the radio).  Larry questioned me on that... of course I had no good answer.  He challenged me to listen to it, not just hear it, but listen.  I did.  My appreciation grew.  I was no fanatic, but I appreciated the music.  I think I'm still at that point.  When I first heard of Prince's passing, my first thought was "has Larry found out yet".  So, off to facebook I went.  Apparently I was not the only one who sought to reach out to Larry.

Copied with permission from Larry:
Today is an unexpectedly sad day. I've been traveling home today after spending an awesome week with extended family and friends in Washington state. Letting the shock sink in a bit and realizing that I have had new Prince music to look forward to every year for over 30 years now and believe me I really looked forward to it.
Over the years I've had many people ask me why I (a no dancin', no instrument playin', out of tune singing white boy) likes Prince. Here's what I typically say...
I've always found his music full of things that matter to me. Faith, positivity, love, sex, looking forward not backward, working hard, staying focused, experiencing/sharing joy and treating others as you want to be treated.
The actual music is a draw because he always tried new things/styles. Oddly, I actually wasn't a fan when Purple Rain came out but had heard all about him. It wasn't until I heard the album after that - Around the World in a Day - that I realized that he was the real deal. This dude owned the world after Purple Rain and he released an album so totally different it was crazy. I immediately went out and bought all of his previous albums and for many years after that each new album was completely different than the last. It was always super fun to pick up the next album - and with Prince I got (at least) one every single year. Unheard of then or even today. His work ethic was legendary. Live performances truly unbelievable. Bouncing from guitar to piano to drums to whatever he could make music with. His vocals were unreal. He could sing a ballad that would melt your heart, scream out a rock anthem you could bang your head too or just play a light hearted funky beat that you would be humming for days.
Through Prince's music I've been exposed to rock, funk, gospel, soul, country, jazz, house and most importantly live music performed by real musicians. Not just his own but many other artists I discovered he was associated with. It always amazed me that one person could be so diverse that he could write songs for anyone from Morris Day and the Time to Kenny Rogers to Celine Dion and Stevie Nicks and the list goes on and on.
The media always says that Prince constantly reinvented himself over the years but I disagree. To me he was just a man learning and growing in his craft and his life. I didn't know him as a person and never really had any unrealistic expectations in that regard. I've always known he was human - flaws and all. Now with his death the world knows it too and I hope they spend some time listening to the music that never made it to the radio because it was too clean, too spiritual, too thoughtful or just too dang funky for the masses.
Rest in Peace and Thank U


photo credit:  "In the sky above Jazz Fest this evening..." (posted April 23, 2016)
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