What is there to say about Prince Rogers Nelson that hasn’t been said in all the news reports on every channel in the past 24 hours? I know exactly what there is to say. As opposed to his contemporary, rival and fellow musical icon, who also recently passed away decades too early, Michael Jackson, Prince’s tragic death has been more than simply mourned. It has been celebrated. He was celebrated.
In Brooklyn, Spike Lee had the NYPD shut down an entire block in Brooklyn to hold an impromptu party to commemorate the day. 1000 people were dancing and singing to his dozens of hits. In Prince’s hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, thousands of fans flocked to the club where the movie “Purple Rain” was filmed to watch videos, and dance to Prince’s music for most of the night. Celebrations! Not tears.
Prince spoke softly, but was an incredibly serious person, outspoken about many religious, political, racial, sexual and gender issues. He will forever be remembered for the joy he brought to so many of the millions of people who heard his music.
My personal favorite Prince song is “Kiss.” As you listen to it, notice that there is no bass guitar (unheard for a dance tune.) Also notice that every 16 bars, he adds another musical element. Starting with his solo guitar groove, then keyboards, then vocal backgrounds. “Kiss” is the most classic example of minimalist brilliance.