Friday, April 22, 2016

Good Night, Sweet Prince (His Nearly 40 Year Purple Reign Is Over)

While I can't say that I was ever much of a fan, there is no denying the HUGE impact Prince had on the music world ... he charted nearly 60 times between 1978 and 2006 ... and that total includes 34 Top 40 Hits, 19 of which made The Top Ten, and nine that went all the way to #1.  He was also a seven-time Grammy winner ... and performed at the 2007 Super Bowl Half-Time Show.

Despite the fact that I couldn't really connect with a lot of Prince's music, I will admit that, like most of our recording heroes (with perhaps the possible exception of Barry White!), I could still find songs by Prince that I genuinely liked ... and will continue to listen to until I myself leave this world ... GREAT tracks like "Little Red Corvette", "Purple Rain", "Raspberry Beret", "1999" and "Kiss".

Exact circumstances surrounding his death are still very vague at this time ... but a full autopsy will be performed later today to see if the exact cause of death can be determined.  (Prince had missed a couple of shows, blaming it on the flu ... and even had to make an emergency landing here in Illinois for health reasons ... but performed the very next night and told his cheering fans who said that they had been praying for him to "wait a few days before you waste any prayers."  (Sounds to me like Prince knew that this was clearly MUCH more than the flu ... a statement like that would imply that perhaps Prince was going in for some type of tests or treatments in the very near future.  We'll know a lot more as more details are released over the next several days.)

Born Prince Roger Nelson on June 7, 1958, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and adept at playing a large variety of instruments, Prince also branched out into movies, starring in films like "Purple Rain", "Under The Cherry Moon", "Sign 'O' The Times" and "Graffiti Bridge", all of which he also provided the musical soundtrack for.  He also wrote and performed the bulk of the score for the first (and best) "Batman" movie starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson (and even scored a #1 Hit with "Batdance" from the film.)

There was talk many times over the years of Prince portraying Jimi Hendrix in a biopic about the legendary star.  Not only does he look a little bit like Jimi but with his own incredible guitar prowess, he could have easily handled all his own stunts.  (Eric Clapton was reportedly once asked "How does it feel to be the world's greatest guitarist" to which he replied, "I don't know ... ask Prince.")

He always remained true to his Minnesota roots and helped advance the careers of several other artists like Sheena Easton, Sheila E, Apolionia, Vanity (who also just passed recently), Wendy and Lisa and more, nearly all of whom he was also romantically involved with.  In addition, he wrote the hits "Manic Monday" by The Bangles, "I Feel For You" by Chaka Khan and "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinead O'Connor.  (Remember the night when The Pope tore up her picture on national TV???)  Below is a link to a medley of hits written, cowritten, produced or inspired by Prince):

He was inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2004, where he performed (with Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Steve Winwood, Danni Harrison and several others) the George Harrison classic "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".  It was a show-stopping performance (and has probably racked up several million more views in the short time since news of Prince's death circulated around the world.) Nearly every published news report I've seen links to this track rather than any of Prince's solo work ... kind of surprising in the way since he was such a "visual" artist in his own right.

Tributes from all over the world have been pouring in ... and countless musicians have gone on record citing Prince as a tremendous influence in their own careers.  (You'll find several listed below)

Prince is the latest casualty in an incredible year of musical passings ... at this rate, they're going to have to extend The Grammy Ceremony by an extra hour this year just to fit in all the tributes.

We have just heard that Prince has died.  This year of 2016 continues to be a rough one for musicians.  I liked several of his songs through the late 80's.  His music will live on.  My 17 year old son and his buddies were jamming to Raspberry Beret last Summer.  When I asked them about it, I was told that was their favorite song.
Phil - WRCO

Hi Kent. 
I just wanted to send you a few notes on the death of certainly one of the finest singers, songwriters and musicians of our lifetime: the artist simply known as Prince. I was able to see him in concert four times over the course of 30 years and have to say his performances were simply electrifying. Sure he was a multi Grammy winner, an Oscar winner and Rock Hall Of Fame inductee. Sure he recorded lots of excellent music and had many chart hits over his career. Prince (as one of his role models Stevie Wonder had done prior) would record entire albums all by himself. He would write, produce and play every instrument, sing every note and then mix it all into two LP sides of funk, soul, rock, blues and pop. Truly a one man band. I, as many music fans are today, am simply shocked and stunned at his sudden death. Hard to select just one favorite song, but after recent events the song I wanted to hear first was the closing track of his Parade album ("Sometimes It Snows In April"). Today it may not be snowing, but on this April 21st there are many tears falling. Gone at just 57 years of age. Thanks for all the wonderful music. R.I.P. Mr. Nelson.
Santi in Miami

(It kinda HAS to be in purple, doesn't it???)
1980 - I Wanna Be Your Lover (#11)
1983 - 1999  (#12)  
1983 - Little Red Corvette (#6)
1983 - Delirious  (#8)
1984 - When Doves Cry  (#1)
1984 - Let's Go Crazy  (#1)
1984 - Purple Rain  (#1)
1985 - I Would Die 4 U  (#8)
1985 - Take Me With U  (#25)
1985 - Raspberry Beret  (#1)
1985 - Pop Life  (#7)
1986 - Kiss  (#1)
1986 - Mountains  (#19)
1987 - Sign 'O' The Times  (#3) 
1987 - U Got The Look  (#2)
1988 - I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man  (#10)
1988 - Alphabet Street  (#8)
1989 - Batdance  (#1)
1989 - Partyman  (#15)
1989 - The Arms of Orion   (#33) 
1990 - Thieves In The Temple  (#1)
1991 - Gett Off  (#21)
1991 - Cream  (#1)
1992 - Diamonds And Pearls  (#1)
1992 - Money Don't Matter 2 Night  (#20) 
1992 - My Name Is Prince  (#20)
1993 - 7  (#6)
1993 - The Morning Papers  (#35)
1994 - Pink Cashmere  (#33)
1994 - The Most Beautiful Girl In The World  (#3)
1994 - Letitgo  (#17)
1995 - I Hate U  (#12)
1996 - Betcha By Golly Wow!  (#31)
1999 - 1999  (#40)  re-released to celebrate 1999

FH Reader Tom Cuddy sent in this list of incredible accolades by some of the biggest names in music ...    

Elton John: “This is truly devastating news. The greatest performer I have ever seen. A true genius. Musically way ahead of any of us. Sang with him twice on stage. What an honor. Rest in peace you purple warrior.”   
Brian Wilson: "I'm shocked to hear that Prince passed at such a young age. Musically, he could do it all: sing, play, arrange and produce. Love & Mercy."   
Mick Jagger: "I am deeply shocked to hear of Prince’s passing. His talent was limitless. One of the most unique and talented artists of the last 30 years. A revolutionary artist, a great musician, composer, a wonderful lyricist, a startling guitar player, but most importantly, authentic in every way."   
Lenny Kravitz: "My musical brother... My friend... The one who showed me the possibilities within myself, changed everything, and kept his integrity until the end, is gone. I am heartbroken."   
Dennis DeYoung: "LONG LIVE THE PRINCE. Too soon. I think I just saw a Dove Cry."  
Joe Walsh: "Prince- Thank you. You showed us all how to do it."   
Mickey Hart: "This post goes out to all the great musicians we've recently lost in 2016. Thank you for your contributions, your fearless creativity and sharing your heart & soul with the world. There must be quite a jam session going on upstairs."   
Bob Seger: "It’s shocking, and so sad. Way, way too young. He was so immensely talented. It’s unusual to have somebody be that talented on so many instruments and yet still be a really good producer, songwriter, arranger ... everything... I loved his music. He still had greatness ahead of him, I believe. He was a gift to music.”   
Bono: "I never met Mozart, I never met Duke Ellington or Charlie Parker. I never met Elvis. But I met Prince."   
Dave Mason: "In 2004, Traffic was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with Bob Seger, ZZ Top, Jackson Browne, George Harrison, The Dells, and Prince. Up until that time I was never a big Prince fan other than the song 'When Doves Cry.' Prince was the first performance that night and I have to say I was absolutely blown away. Sad to hear of his passing so young."   
Paul McCartney: "Saddened by Prince's death. Proud to have seen in the New Year with him. He seemed fine and played brilliantly funky music. God bless this creative giant. Thanks Prince."   
Ringo Starr: "God bless Prince. We will all miss him. I still have my purple whistle. I will blow it tonight. Peace and love."   
Cyndi Lauper: "Heartbroken about Prince, one of the greatest artists has left us... I'll miss my friend, his advice and great humor. Thank you for your magical music."   
Ted Nugent: "My soul brother, funk brother, blood brother. Jam in peace forever."   
Stevie Nicks: "My friend is gone...This is what it sounds like, when doves cry. He was my dove..."   
Mick Jones of Foreigner: "The world lost another legend… Thank you for giving us so much…"   
Justin Hayward: "He gave me the ability so see life differently. Thank you dear Prince. 'Raspberry Beret' is one of the top five lyrics ever written. A joy... And I got to mix a great show of ours at Paisley Park studios - brilliant."   
Chris Cornell of Soundgarden: "I'm in shock and deeply saddened... RIP to one of the MOST talented and unique artists of our generation."   
Stevie Van Zandt : "Oh no. Not Prince. What a magnificent lifeforce. Our world is forever diminished."   
Duff McKagan of Guns n' Roses: "What do we do now? PRINCE. No. I hope you weren't in much pain... Your music saved me time and again."   
Slash of Guns n' Roses: "So sad to hear of Prince's passing; one of the greatest musical talents of my lifetime. Maybe of the 20th century. RIP."   
Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine: "One of the greatest, most gifted and unique musicians, performers and producers ever."   
Billy F. Gibbons of ZZ Top: "My guitar-playing pal has left us but his impact is forever. RIP Brother Prince."   
Zac Brown Band: "Already a bad year for losing musical legends. Gigantic kick to crotch to lose Prince so young. So sad."   
Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones: "I will miss a good friend who was so talented. He was such a great performer / guitar player. Sleep well, Prince."   
Joey Kramer of Aerosmith: "We've lost one of our best. My thoughts and prayers are with Prince and his family. He was one of a kind."   
Jon Anderson of Yes: "He will always be with us. His movie Purple Rain is still very special to me. His soul, art and music stand alone... He was a 'Prince.'"   
Pete Townshend of The Who: "Goodbye, sweet Prince. Pure, certified genius at the highest level. Too soon.'   
Billy Idol: "Oh my God, I can’t believe that Prince has died. He was a great great talent…RIP."   
Gene Simmons: "Prince, Glenn FreyDavid Bowie, these are people who changed lives. These are not just songs -- they are the soundtrack of people's lives. You remember things in your lives. In the days when I went out with Diana Ross and he was still singing in his underwear on stage, I took Diana to see him at a club and I said, 'You've got to check this guy out.' He was singing in a pure falsetto but his talent was undeniable. It was like, 'Look at this guy.' What he's done is undeniable -- he carved his own road and whether the record company liked him or not he was his own guy. His body of work is undeniable."   
John Fogerty: "Honored that Prince chose to perform 'Proud Mary' at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2007. You were truly one of a kind. Rest in Peace."   
Nikki Sixx: "RIP Prince. One of the saddest days to sat the least. He was the true definition of a real artist."   
Paul Stanley: "This is a profound, profound loss... RIP PRINCE."   
David Coverdale: "R.I.P Prince...Exceptional talent..."   
Kenney Jones: "And another one lost in 2016. What is it with this year? Prince RIP. Loads will be shedding purple tears. May God be with you and keep you at peace."   
Peter Frampton: "I can't believe we have lost Prince. My thoughts are with his family. Sad isn't the word. Rest in peace."   
Ann Wilson: "He brought light to the world... Now he is on a journey of his own. Travel well sweet soul!"   
Jon Bon Jovi: "I'm crushed by the news that one of the greatest inspirations in music EVER has passed. I was lucky enough to have met him many times, and to call him a friend... PRAYERS to his family and to all who loved his genius..."   
Don Felder: "One of the best concerts I have ever seen, here in Los Angeles several years ago. I've seen a lot of shows but his was a display or great songs, amazing vocals, killer grooves, rocking guitar parts and God-given talent. RIP Prince Rogers Nelson. You have given us years of wonderful music. Thank you."   
Travis Barker of Blink 182: “Rest in peace to one of my favorite artists of all time. Haven't loved an artist as long or as consistently as I have Prince. My dream was to one day collaborate with him or play drums for him. He use to come watch #DJAM and I play. Those nights went down as some of my favorite.”    
Paul Rodgers: "A great performer and an amazing talent who made a difference."      

Rolling Stone Magazine offers many more tributes (including a moving video from Stevie Wonder) ... as well as lots of Prince videos (and a clip of song that Prince wrote for Kenny Rogers!!!) 

Update:  We heard last night that Prince's "medical condition" that forced an emergency landing in Moline, IL, a week before his death was not flu-related but rather a drug overdose.  Naturally, we're expecting to hear MORE bad news over the next several days as details of Prince's final days come to light.


With the death of Prince today, I'm afraid the loss of another musical legend may get overlooked.
Ken Voss
LONNIE MACK, JULY 18, 1941 - APRIL 21, 2016
Lonnie's big pop hit, of course, was his excellent instrumental version of Chuck Berry's "Memphis", which reached #5 in 1963.  Lonnie hit The Top 40 one more time with the follow-up record, "Wham!".  We hope to have more on Mack this weekend in Forgotten Hits.  (kk)