‘Dearly beloved. We are gathered here today to get through this thing called life’
Prince Rogers Nelson – June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016
The world was in shock upon hearing the news about the death of Prince Rogers Nelson on April 21. The iconic singer, most known for his stage name Prince, was found dead at his Paisley Park residence in Chanhassen, Minn. at the age of 57.
Only six days prior to his death, his plane made an emergency landing due to a medical emergency. According to his publicist Yvette Noel-Schure, he was battling the flu.
Prince appeared on stage for his show the next day and assured his fans that he was OK. He was scheduled to have a European tour this year, but cancelled it since vendors couldn’t meet his demand on fighting ticket sales on the black market.
The singer was known for these rebellious actions. “It’s a great loss to the entire music industry, he was fighting for what he believed in,” Peter Johnson said.
He pioneered “the Minneapolis sound” and fought for creative freedom by setting himself apart from other artists who followed trends on the charts. His first album “For You” was released in 1978 and followed up with the albums “Dirty Mind” and “Controversy” before he became an international superstar in 1982 with his breakthrough album “1999.”
By now Prince was the trademark of prominent lyrics, which he incorporated with a combination of rock, soul, funk, hip hop, disco, jazz and pop music that fit his wide vocal range.
His fame reached a fever pitch in 1984 with the movie “Purple Rain.” The film is essentially a fictionalized version of his own life as an aspiring musician. The album also titled “Purple Rain” won him an Academy Award for Best Original Song and the album sold more than 13 million copies in the United States.
Between 1985 and 1992 Prince released eight albums, one per year, including the soundtrack to “Batman” a movie by Tim Burton. In protest against his record label Warner Bros. he created his eponymous “Love Symbol” which he changed his stage name to and also released an album under. After the release of “Chaos and Disorder” in 1996 the label finally released Prince from his contract making the album the 18th and the last one under Warner Bros.
In the years following he signed with Arista Records and in 2000 he began to refer himself as Prince again and has released 15 albums since. The latest one, HitNRun Phase One, was first released exclusively on the streaming service Tidal on September 7, 2015, before the CD was released on September 15 by NPG Records.
“I grew up listening to his music so it’s sad knowing we will never hear anything new from him,” Mary Anderson said. It is rumored, however, that Prince has a vault with unreleased tracks that may or may not be released in the near future.
Prince has sold over 100 million records worldwide which makes him one of the bestselling artists of all time. In his more than 35-year career he has released a total of 39 solo studio albums, won seven Grammy awards, a Golden Globe and an Academy award. In 2004 Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where he performed a version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” to close the ceremony. Prince is ranked as number 27 on Rolling Stones list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
In 2007 he performed during the Super Bowl halftime show with three tracks from the “Purple Rain” album along with covers from Queen, Bob Dylan, the Foo Fighters and Creedence Clearwater Revival. In 2015 his performance was ranked by Billboard as the greatest Super Bowl performance of all time.
Artemis Dulbandzhyan said her dad was blasting some of Prince’s hits after hearing the news, adding that the only time she listens to Prince is when her dad does. Prince left a lasting legacy for his fans, who now keep his memory alive by playing his music for the younger generation to enjoy.