So much has been said and written about the famous faces we have lost in 2016. And often many personal responses have been posted, and I’ve not blogged about any of them. Until now.
Bowie was tough. That was a shock, the passing of an era. It inspired me to buy several CDs from his back catalogue. I spent hours watching YouTube videos and clips online, had his music on rotation in my car. Such an individual, influential star. No one had come close. No one except maybe…
Yesterday I was on my way to catch up with friends when the rumours started. When I arrived I was casually told “Prince has died”. Given the slew of celebrities and showbiz stars that have died this year, for some this was just another name to the list. I however just put it out of mind. I avoided social media, refused to watch the TV in the room and wouldn’t speak about it at all.
When I eventually got home I started to cave in. I went to Twitter. I started to think about all of his music I had. I went round the house to find the vinyl and discs I had in various rooms. I realised one case was empty, as the CD was still in the stereo. I had been listening to his music only a few days ago.
I managed to sleep, but the following day I put on the radio and it was all Prince. BBC 6 Music were playing his songs and sharing people’s memories, and I listened wistfully, still not really believing it was true. Then they played Purple Rain, and I started to sob uncontrollably.
Why? With everything that is going on in the world, why does this one person matter so much? Why did I find it so hard to accept what had happened?
Perhaps it’s because of when I discovered Prince. I knew of him, had heard his songs, but in 1987, when I had just turned 13, I heard the double album “Sign O The Times”.
As I tweeted, it’s difficult to put into words the impact it had on my teenage self. Still struggling with hormones, emotions, uncertain, insecure and not sure who I was or what I wanted to be. Those two CDS were funky, dark, spirited, religious, sexy, contemplative, exhilarating, complex and joyous. Blew my mind, as they say. I listened to it over and over. Fascinated and intrigued, entertained and inspired. This was genius.
From there it was a one way ticket to Paisley Park, everything he produced I consumed for years. I loved his attitude, his controversy, he reinventions but most of all the amazing musical talent.
Just a few years ago I purchased Lovesexy for the second time, this time on CD. An album I can happily listen to from start to finish, includes possibly my favourite Prince track (though To misappropriate a quote: choose a favourite Prince track? I could no sooner choose a favourite star in the heavens) the joyous Alphabet Street.
And I listened to that album just a few days ago, and was dancing and singing along, just as I had decades ago. He was only 57. I had never even contemplated it would soon be his time to go. Discovering Prince was when I started to become an adult, he influenced me in ways I can’t express. It’s ridiculous to type, but it’s almost like he’s part of me.
I never saw him live, oh how much do I regret that now, but he had been part of my life for decades. I never stopped listening and loving his music. The songs he wrote, the guitar he played, those vocals, those moves – there was nothing like, or will ever be Prince Nelson Rogers. I still can’t quite believe it.
Hold on to your soul, we’ve got a long way to go….
My Prince collection, located in several rooms around my house.