Monday, May 16, 2016

Prince - For Love of a Rock Star

The death of Prince hit me hard. Harder than David Bowie. As hard, I'd say, as John Lennon back in 1980 though the circumstances of their deaths were so different. You see, like many others, I adored Prince, and, like many others, thought I adored him more than anyone else. In 1984, when the album Purple Rain was released, I was 24 (please don't do the math!). Before that, I didn't know that much about Prince. I'd heard the song 1999, maybe even Little Red Corvette, but it was when I heard a bartender at work talking about him and this new album, Purple Rain, that I became intrigued and checked it out. That album, and the movie, changed my life. When I say changed my life, I mean I saw the film twenty times or more, and started dressing like him: leather pants, frilly shirt, lace gloves, hair curly and flung to one side, lots of purple...remember those rubber bracelets we wore during the 80s? I wore a black one and a purple one for years - my own little tribute to the Great One. I bought all his previous albums, listened to them non-stop, and saw him in concert twice in those early years,

Then life went on, I got married in the late 80s and had a kid in '92. I bought every album up until Diamonds and Pearls, and then not another one until Musicology, missing, I now realize, a lot of great music in between. Maybe it was because he was so prolific that it became hard to keep up, and that's why I fell behind. Or maybe it was because he wasn't so much in the spotlight any more. My tastes changed and evolved, and I explored lots of new music, but I never stopped loving him. Now that he's gone, I feel like a bad fan for not having followed his music more faithfully all along.

"Now that he's gone"...I still can't get my mind around that fact. Not only did he die so young - after all, he's just a year older than me - but he left the world bereft of a mighty presence. I may not have thought about him so much anymore, but when I did, it was with a great deal of love and affection. He influenced me at a very influential time in my life. He seemed to speak my language back then, to express the things I was trying to express myself. The 80s, pre-AIDS awareness, were a whole other sexual revolution, and Prince was leading the charge. As a young woman in the heart of the NYC club and dating scene, Prince was my standard bearer.

I've now downloaded most of his music, and again, I see that I've missed so much phenomenal stuff during the last 15 years or so: rock, funk, blues, dance music, name it, he did it all...incredibly well, with a few odd bits thrown in that were just Prince exploring the range of his artistry. As I listen to it, I'm both delighted and incredibly saddened. There's a hole in the world now that no one else can fill. I miss him, though I never knew him in person. I can only imagine the hole for those who did know him, and worked with him over the years. I keep wishing it were all a dream - a publicity stunt - but I know it's not. He's gone, and a part of me went with him. He was a very spiritual person in life, and I hope the afterworld is all he thought it would be. I send my purple tribute up there into the ether to him, and though he surely doesn't need it now any more than he ever did, it makes me feel connected to him in a way that brings me, at least, some comfort. 

1 comment:

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