Sometimes it snows in April…
It’s been two years since the death of musical genius Prince Rogers Nelson. He combined Little Richard, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, and Sly and the Family Stone into one bottle rocket of a man. I only got to see him live in convert once, but, I got to be in the front row, in the dead centre. That man was pure dynamic. So good that I wanted to drop everything and follow him around the world. So good that it was almost impossible to listen to his records afterwards because he was that good live.
He was a true pioneer in technology, while at the same time, advocating a return to real sounds, real instruments and real voices. Something we lack in this age of the multi-tracked autotuned vocal, like in the musical “The Greatest Showman”. Prince fought for the rights of musicians, and pioneered selling his music on the internet, and the monthly subscription service “the NPG Music Club”.
Prince was the first to use the merged male and female gender symbols, which are now used by the genderqueer community. He also pioneered the textspeak that became so popular with the introduction of cellphones.
Here he is in Nishinomiya (near Kobe, Japan) doing a soundcheck. He’s playing “Summertime” on the piano, and it’s 1990, so it’s probably the Nude tour.
It’s such an odd feeling to miss someone that you’ve never met. To mourn a person as if they were a family member. While Prince wasn’t officially a member of the queer umbrella, he was an ally. Especially in his band, “The Revolution”, which mixed race, gender, and sexuality. He showed the world (and a kid like me), that you didn’t need to be an “alpha male” to be successful. And to that, I’ll be forever grateful. He may not have been perfect, no-one is, but, what a great legacy he leaves us all.
Hopefully, as they continue to investigate his death, whether self-inflicted or otherwise, I hope that it highlights the dangers of prescription opioid addiction.
Until then, here is Meshell Ndegeocello (who you might remember from her collaborations with John Mellencamp and Madonna) doing a beautiful cover of one of my favourite Prince tracks from her new album “Ventriloquism”.
Rest in Peace Prince.
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