Thursday, April 21, 2016

His Name Is Prince & He Was Funky

Today we unexpectedly lost one of the greatest musical artists and entertainers in the history of popular music.  Unlike the majority of today's music stars, Prince could play over 30 different instruments, wrote his own music, wrote his own lyrics, arranged his own songs and produced his own songs.  He truly was the artist.

Being an 80's kid, I grew up on Prince's music.  Michael Jackson was my first love when I started to discover my own music, but Prince was up there for me.  However it wasn't until the 90's that I fell in love with his music.  What made Prince special was that he could write and play any type of music there was.  He was a master of rock, funk, R&B, jazz and hip-hop.  His output was also extraordinary as he released 39 studio albums during his career and rumors are that he has hundreds of songs completed that he never released.  The man not only was a master of music, but people forget that he was a movie star too.  His movie Purple Rain made 68 million dollars in 1984 which would equal 174 million adjusted for inflation today.  He also wrote and directed two movies.  The man could do it all.

As I said earlier, I grew up liking Prince, but it wasn't until the 90's that I fell in love with his music.  By 1995/1996 all I owned was The Hits/B-Sides album by Prince and nothing else.  A friend of mine told me that Prince's latest album, The Gold Experience, was one of the best things Prince had done.  He then made me a tape of the album and I was blown away.  Not too long after that, I bought every album Prince had released and have bought everything he has done since.  Was every album perfect?  Nope.  Some albums felt like albums of nothing but filler (Come, The Rainbow Children, etc), but the majority of them were very good.  While his 80's work will always be the music that he will be remembered for by the casual fan, the man released excellent albums in the 90, 00's and 10's.

I was lucky enough to see Prince perform two times.  Back in 2004 Prince did a tour to promote his great album, Musicology.  At that time, Prince had an online fan club for his website.  For $100 a year, you got private access to his website which included tons of unreleased music, videos and most importantly, access to buy tickets to shows before they went on sale to the public and at a lower price.  I joined the fan club for this reason alone.  When tickets went on sale, I got second row tickets for a show at the Honda Center in Anaheim and fourth row tickets for a show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the same week.  The shows were incredible.  In fact, they were even better than I had hoped they would be.  When it comes to a stadium show, I doubt I'll ever see anything as good as those two shows.

Now, here is a "funny" Prince related story.  In 1999/2000, Prince announced a show at the Palladium in Los Angeles.  The show sold out super fast.  My buddy and I decided to go down to the venue and try to get tickets somehow.  We found a guy selling tickets on the street.  We talked to him, went to the ATM to get money and bought the tickets for 100 bucks each.  We then got in line and waited for the doors to open for the show.  We were in line for at least two hours before the doors opened.  It then took another half an hour or so for us to finally get to the door.  We then handed over our tickets, the person at the door said, "You realize these are fake tickets, right?"  My buddy and I looked at the guy and each other and were just stunned.  We were then told to get lost and that was that.  All added up, we wasted roughly four hours of our time and were 100 bucks poorer too.  Obviously I made up for this day at the 2004 Musicology shows, but that day at the Palladium is one I won't forget either.

Looking back at Prince's career I think what I'm most grateful for is the vast amount of music he put out.  Prince was an artist that would put out a new album one year right after another at times in his career.  In fact, he has released three albums within the last 12 months.  What an amazing gift for the fans.  Right now all I can envision is Prince and Michael Jackson getting together so they can finally write and record some songs together like they should have done in the 80's.

"Only now do we know what it sounds like When Doves Cry - the absence of music from loss of The Artist." - Neil deGrasse Tyson


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