Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prince dead at 57

Prince Rogers Nelson
June 7, 1957 - April 21, 2016

Music icon Prince died Thursday morning at the age of 57. The cause of death is unknown. Last week on April 15 after performing a show in Illinois, his private plane made an emergency landing- rushing the singer to a hospital. After three hours, he was flown back home to Minneapolis- reportedly recovering from the flu. According to reports, sheriff's deputies were the ones who responded to a call placed by Paisley Park Studios in Chanhassen. There was an attempt at CPR but at 10:07 am- Prince was pronounced dead. An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow while a police investigation in currently in progress.

For almost four decades, Prince was one of the most successful artists of all time. Born in Minneapolis to John L. Nelson (1916-2001) and Mattie Della Shaw (1933-2002), Prince became interested in music at a young age. Growing up, he developed an interest in R&B and funk music, along with rock music. Taking these genres of music, Prince was able to make a sound for himself. By 1976, his demo tape caught the attention of Owen Husney- who would go on to become Prince's manager. After signing to Warner Brothers Records, he released his debut For You in 1978.

It wasn't until the 1980s when Prince hit his peak. During the 1980s, Prince kept releasing hit after hit: "Little Red Corvette," "1999," "Delirious," "Kiss," "Uptown," "Sign O The Times" and many others. His most successful period would be in 1984 when he released the chart topping album Purple Rain. As the soundtrack to the movie of the same name staring Prince, the album featured hits such as "Let's Go Crazy," "When Doves Cry" and the title track. Prince was also a controversial figure, as his music was deemed very sexual. In fact, "Darling Nikki" from the Purple Rain album almost single-handedly inspired Tipper Gore to found the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC)- a group of wives in Washington who were able to get the Parental Advisory warning labels on records that were deemed offensive.

During the 1990s, Prince fought a public battle with Warner Brothers Records over artistic input and album sales. In 1993, he started using a symbol to substitute for his name. The symbol, which was a cross between the signs for male and female, was an unpronounceable name that fans would later refer to as the Love Symbol. The media ended up referring to him as "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince" until early 2000- when Prince announced he would start using his own name again (it was also around that time when he had parted with Warner Brothers).

In his career, Prince would release a total of 39 studio albums. As an artist, Prince believed in releasing as many albums as he could for total artistic freedom- which might explain why he released so many albums. His last release was earlier this year- HITnRUN Phase 2.

In his personal life, Prince was married twice. From 1996 to 1999, he was married to his back up singer Mayte Garcia. The couple would have one child, Boy Gregory, who died one week after being born with Pfeiffer syndrome. From 2001 to 2006, Prince was married to Manuela Testonlini. Prince is survived by a sister, Tika "Tyka" Evene Nelson.

Only a year or two ago, I started getting into Prince's music. Some people who know me might be surprised that I'm even writing this. Being into classic rock and heavy metal, I tried to stay away from pop music in any other forms. However as my tastes expanded, I was able to get into Michael Jackson and even Rick James. I remember watching VH1 Classic sometimes and after hearing a Prince song, I would think "I liked that." He was an incredibly talented musician and songwriter. When I read about him going to the hospital, I thought "Well at least he didn't die. Doesn't sound like anything serious." This is very sad to hear.

Rest in peace, Prince. 

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