As a music blogger, this is a post I never wanted to write. In fact, it’s a post I never thought I would write. Prince has always seemed ageless; immortal. I never considered there ever be a day we would lose this man, because I assumed he would outlive us all. I have never seen him as a mere person, but a superstar. Whilst the man himself has always been private and shy, his stage persona is one considered to be the greatest live performers of all time. I for one would have loved to be able to move, and do the splits the way he did. I can’t even do that now, and I am twenty years junior of his final age. But it is with a heavy heart that I do have to write this. Of course it is a huge loss to the music industry. But I don’t really care about how he shaped the musical horizon, and influenced the careers of those who followed him (which he inevitably did). All I have thought about since I heard of this tragic loss, it what his music meant to me personally. I am not writing this as a music blogger, but as a fan. His music has soundtracked my entire life and it is hard to believe that that’s it. No more. There will no doubt be multiple articles you can read charting his career. This article is about one fan’s love of the singer, although I’m sure it will ring true with fans around the world.
I’m not going to pretend I was there supporting him from the start. I’d have had to be singing along in my mother’s stomach. His debut album was released the year I was born. By the time I was old enough to be in to music, he was well and truly the superstar he was at the height of his career. I remember hearing ‘Gett Off’ for the first time on the charts and I instantly fell in love with both the song, and Prince as an artist’s unique style. ‘Cream’ came out not long after, and by that time I’d saved up enough to buy the album ‘Diamonds and Pearls’. Whenever my parents took me into town and I bought new music, they would always play it for me in the car on the way home. As always they offered, but I declined a little too adamantly. They didn’t know much about Prince. It wasn’t music anyone’s parents listened to. They had no idea what filth there youngest son had just bought to listen to, and I planned to keep it that way. I didn’t want them to hear it anyway. It was mine, and I didn’t want to share it with anyone.
Buying that album was the start of an obsession. Every penny I got my hand on went towards buying up his back catalogue. I started with the more popular titles such as ‘Purple Rain’ and ‘Sign O The Times’. Although I had become familiar with the hits, what surprised me was that it was often the album tracks that stood out. I loved songs like ‘Starfish & Coffee,’ and ‘Darling Nikki’ as much as I did the big hits such as ‘Kiss’ and ‘1999’. His music stood the test of time, and I continued being a fan through the years to this day. What made it so enduring, was that his old songs didn’t sound like old songs. I never thought of them as classics as I listened to them. They constantly sounded as fresh ten or twenty years on as they did the first time I heard them. When he released new material, I still got as excited about listening to it as I did when I bought ‘Diamonds & Pearls’. Whilst most of his biggest commercial hits were in the eighties and nineties, so many people failed to realise what an innovative and original artist he remained through the naughties to the current day. His albums ‘Musicology’ and ‘3121’ where amongst his career best. Recent single ‘The Breakdown’ was as much a classic as any of his bigger hits. For every important moment of my life, there has been a Prince song to accompany it. I listened to his funkier tracks whilst getting ready to go out. Whenever I was down, I would put on one of his slower numbers like ‘Nothing Compares 2 u’ or ‘The Morning Papers’.
In 2007, he released his album ‘Planet Earth’. It was given away free on the front of The Daily Mail. I was away on holiday at the time, but my parents had the paper delivered every day. So I gave them their orders to keep the CD for me, and I would collect it when I got back. When I got back, they they told me of the panic they’d had. The delivery boy had mistakenly given them the wrong paper: a paper that didn’t have the free CD. They had to do a mad dash around the street, knocking on the doors of their neighbours, trying to find someone who took the same paper, and didn’t want the CD. Luckily they were successful, and I got my CD. Many music retailers were angry with his decision to give the album away for free. They felt they had supported his career for many years by selling his albums. The fact he had decided to bypass them and not charge for it was somewhat of a kick in the teeth. But Prince was only ever going to do things his own way, as he had right through his career. He was always about the music, and didn’t care about the industry or what it expected of him. Prince was fighting for artists’s rights long before Taylor Swift was born. She may be fighting the fight now, but Prince’s ruthless battle started long ago, even resulting in the changing of his name to make a stand against his label.
It’s hard to imagine how you would feel on losing an artist you truly love. Whilst I respected Bowie and recognised his important contribution to the music industry, it was Prince who really made the impact on my life. I never met him, and due to his private persona, knew little about him. But I felt I knew him through the way he expressed himself through his music. His presence in my has always been there. To know there will be no more music from this genius truly saddens me. But what a back catalogue, what a legacy he has left. He will be forever remembered through his music.