Prince Has Passed Away At The Age Of 57
In an enormous loss for music and pop culture, Prince Rogers Nelson, known to the world simply as Prince, has passed away at the age of 57. TMZ reports that the artist was found dead at his Paisley Park home outside of Minneapolis early this morning. On April 15, Prince’s jet required a sudden landing due to a medical issue, but he was back in concert the next day. He had also cancelled two shows recently, due to health problems that were not disclosed as serious.
Born on June 7, 1958, Prince would grow to become one of the greatest artists of any generation. A musical virtuoso, he played more than 20 instruments, and infused virtually every genre into his music. His debut album, For You, was released in 1978 to modest reception but foreshadowed what was to come from the wunderkind. In a rare deal with his record company, he maintained full creative control over his art and typically wrote, produced, arranged and performed all of his material. His second album, the eponymously titled Prince, contained the song “I Feel For You,” that would later be covered by Chaka Khan and become one of her biggest hits. The album’s single “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” was also one of Prince’s first breakthrough hits.
Prince would achieve new levels of fame with the 1982 release of his album 1999. The album coincided with the ascent of music videos, and with his gender-defying appearance and raw charisma, he was tailor-made for the platform. Songs like “1999” and “Little Red Corvette” catapulted him into the mainstream. It was in 1984, however, with the release of the film Purple Rain, and its accompanying soundtrack, that Prince achieved international superstardom. The film, which was not autobiographical, but bore a number of parallels to his life, was an audiovisual showcase for all of his talents and those of his proteges such as Morris Day and the Time. While Prince’s legend and cult-like following would only continue to grow after Purple Rain, it would prove to be his greatest commercial success.
Prince released more than 45 albums as a solo artist, under pseudonyms and with groups. Beyond his own material, he was also a prolific writer and producer, creating songs like The Bangles “Manic Monday,” The Family’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” as later covered by Sinead O’Connor, albums by The Time and countless other hits. However, his influence cannot be measured by the records he made, songs he wrote or concerts he performed, as he inspired thousands of artists in every genre after him. Artists like D’Angelo, Pharrell, Maxwell, The Roots, OutKast, Justin Timberlake and too many to be named owe a great deal to the artist dubbed His Royal Badness. His impact cannot be overstated.
Rest in peace to one of the all-time greats.