Friday, April 22, 2016

Prince has left the building...

Everybody is going to be writing about Prince today.  The famous performer, whose music once made up a sizable portion of my personal playlist, died suddenly and unexpectedly yesterday.  When I got the news last night, I was shocked.  And I did what a lot of people have done and posted about it on Facebook.  Since we were going out to dinner last night, I didn't have a chance to wax poetic about Prince the way some of my friends did.  In fact, it's been a long time since I was a devoted fan of his music, although I loved Purple Rain and 1999.  Though I kind of lost interest in him in the 90s, I always respected him as a brilliant musician and profoundly talented creator.

I do have sort of a funny Prince related story, too.  In 1984, Prince's career was huge.  He had done Purple Rain, which marked his acting debut.  I wasn't a huge fan of Prince's acting, but as a kid, I did enjoy Purple Rain.  It was rated R, but I watched it many times and I got hooked on the soundtrack.

For Christmas 1985, I requested the soundtrack as a gift.  My dad, being a sport who knew nothing at all about Prince and his rather suggestive songs, stood in line at a music store at Newmarket North Mall in Newport News, Virginia and bought me the LP.  He had no idea there was a song called "Darling Nikki" on the album and, to be honest, I had no idea what the song was about.  I mean, I knew it was kind of a "dirty" song just based on the way it sounded, but I didn't know what "grinding" was.  I could only speculate.

Actually... when I think about my dad, then in his early 50s and a very straightlaced white guy, standing in line to buy me an album by an artist he never would have appreciated, I kind of get a warm and fuzzy feeling.  I loved that album and played it all the time, though I did wear headphones.  For one thing, my parents weren't fans of a lot of the music I liked at that time.  For another thing, if my dad ever heard "Darling Nikki", he probably would have kicked my ass.

At some point, I ruined the LP my dad bought me when I spilled 7Up all over it.  It was several years later when I finally bought a replacement in the form of a CD.  I listened to it a lot when I first bought it, which was probably when I was about 17 or 18 years old.  Nowadays, I don't listen to it much anymore.  I might have to turn it on later today because some of the songs on it are pretty epic.

I really hope we stop losing so many amazing performers.  2016 has been quite a banner year for deaths of great artists.  And it always seems like we lose legends when I'm living in Europe.  I was on the way from Vienna to Venice on a train when Princess Diana was killed.  I was living in Germany the first time when Michael Jackson died.  And now we've lost Prince, as well as Glenn Frey, David Bowie, Pat Conroy, Patty Duke, and Maurice White, among many others...  It's just really sad.

Given that Prince was still performing as recently as last week, it's a tremendous shock that we lost him so suddenly.  I guess you never can tell when death will come for you...


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