Today marks the fourth anniversary of Prince’s untimely and still “controversial” death from an accidental Fentanyl overdose from pain medication after years of battling chronic hip pain in an elevator in his Paisley Park home and recording studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota.
The murky and mysterious circumstances surrounding his untimely demise remains as questionable as the elusive, enigmatic artist himself when he was alive who was a mass of contradictions (maybe hypocrisies?) like most human beings but was far more magnified because Prince was so famous. This cavernous loss still reverberates around the globe as his impact continues to be so profound and inedible.
The public loved his string of hits such as “1999”, “Kiss,” “When Doves Cry,” “Little Red Corvette,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” “I Would Die 4U,” “Baby I’m A Star,” “Lady Cab Driver,” “Controversy,” “Delirious,” “Pop Life,” “Raspberry Beret,” “Automatic,” “Darling Nikki” just to name a few. His peers respected him for his inventiveness, sheer musical prowess and dazzling showmanship.
Other mega-hits that he penned for others include “Sugar Walls” by Sheena Easton, “Nothing Compares 2U” by Sinead O’Connor, “Nasty Girl” by Vanity 6, “Jungle Love” by The Time, “The Glamourous Life” by Sheila E, “I Feel For You” by Chaka Kahn and “Manic Monday” by The Bangles among many others. These acts made these songs their own but his artistic stamp remained on all these songs and retained that signature Prince sound and style. His sound through these songs continues to endure and stay strong in the collective hearts and minds of his fans worldwide and will continue for years to come.
Prince released a whopping 39 studio albums, four soundtracks, four live albums and nine compilation albums. Prince was a very prolific and driven artist. The Royal Badness’ influence in the short time he walked the earth ( both as unabashed sinner at one time and to later becoming “saint” Jehovah Witness ) as a prodigious genius, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter/producer, dancer, actor and filmmaker was highly influential and inspiring in and transcended generations of artists and musicians. For his fans the bigger legacy he left us was that he made it OK to be original and different.
Prince’s identity was positioned around his unique sound, musical abilities to his fluid androgynous and genre-pushing persona. Prince was sly, sexy and provocative. But he was also a truth seeker, magical, playful, comical and had an enormous and generous heart shown by his quiet and charitable work as a humanitarian. His music wasn’t defined by one genre, but often a mix of many, including new wave, soul, psychedelia, funk, pop, R&P and rap styles by powered by his mind-blowing falsetto vocals.
Through his career, he still experimented with his sound and music though he had huge mainstream success. Prince defied categorization and was never content to rest creatively on his laurels through his remarkable career. Since the birth of his influential career in Minneapolis in the late 70’s creating what later became known as the “Minneapolis” sound. He went on to become a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and winner of seven Grammys, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award for “Purple Rain,” Prince has sold over 100 million records.
As part of his amazing legacy, Prince will be forever remembered as a champion and outspoken advocate for artists rights specifically and absolutely believing they should own their master recordings. He un-apologetically and forthrightly stood up for artists everywhere who were facing restrictive issues with their record labels. He also fearlessly stood up for the control of his own art and left his original record label Warner Brothers In 1994. At one point, he denounced his affiliation with Warner Brothers by infamously put the word slave on his face, and from 1993 to 2000 Prince changed his name to a glyph.
Since it was a symbol and impossible to pronounce, the public began calling him “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.” He would eventually go on to release music through his own labels: Paisley Park Records and NPG Records and sold the music online as well. Regardless of the name change, he did return using Prince and remained true to himself as always and steadfast in creating music on his own terms.
There’s an obvious musical void left by the loss of Prince. But “Let’s Go Crazy: The GRAMMY Salute to Prince” filmed last year on January 28 at the Los Angeles Convention Center will air tonight from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. EST/PST on CBS. This program will commemorate the legendary artist’s death and will go a long way to help to fill that void. The program will deliver an upbeat and explosive celebration of Prince’s greatness and perhaps channel his spirit with acts that performed and collaborated with him throughout his career.
The two-hour show features an all-star lineup that will re-visit Prince’s cherished hits. Maya Rudolph will host and bring her all-female cover band, Princess. This exciting tribute event features performances by Beck, Gary Clark Jr., Common, Earth, Wind, & Fire, Foo Fighters, H.E.R., Juanes, John Legend, Chris Martin, Miguel, Morris Day and The Time, Sheila E., St. Vincent, Mavis Staples, Prince’s band The Revolution (whom have actively toured in the recent past) and Usher. Fred Armisen, Naomi Campbell, Misty Copeland, FKA Twigs and Jimmy Jam will also make special appearances.
We have gathered here today to get through this thing called life