The artist Prince died today at the age of 57. His music filled my teen years, and to this day, I often listen to his music.
Prince – The Hits
Prince’s first album, For You, was released in 1978. But it was his album, 1999 (1982), that shot him to the top of the charts with singles like: Little Red Corvette, & Delirious. His follow up album, the soundtrack to his movie Purple Rain, produced even more hits: Purple Rain, Let’s Go Crazy, When Doves Cry, and I Would Die 4 U.
As a high school kid from 1982-1986, Prince’s albums are the soundtrack of my high school memories. 1999 barely surpasses his other songs as my favorite. I was 14 years old, and my baby sister was only one, when 1999 became a hit. I figured out my sister would graduate from high school in 1999, a year that seemed impossibly far away.
Prince – A Man Ahead of His Time
I hope people appreciate how much of a unicorn Prince was. Before it was popular, he was bending genders and challenging people to accept everyone without labels. At one point, he changed his name to a symbol that combined the symbols for both man and women.
These are the opening lines of the title track Controversy, released in 1981.
I just can’t believe
All the things people say, controversy
Am I black or white?
Am I straight or gay? Controversy
When Controversy was released, gays & lesbians were just starting to peek their heads out of the closet. There wasn’t a single “out” student at my high school, and we only suspected that a few fellow students might be homosexual. It wasn’t until 1982 when the Center for Disease Control named AIDS an epidemic that people started to talk openly about the gay community.
When public talk about sex was taboo, Prince sang about it and topped the musical charts.
Prince – An Entertainment Rainbow
Prince wasn’t just a singer; he was an entertainer. He played multiple instruments including guitar, drums, bass, and keyboards. In fact, on his early albums, he played almost all the instruments. He excelled at dancing, and only Michael Jackson rivaled Prince’s moves.
Prince pulled off colorful, unique outfits not only on stage but in public appearances. He was known for his purple suits paired with shirts sporting large ruffled collars and cuffs.
His love for color is also evident in his songs: Little Red Corvette, Raspberry Beret, Purple Rain, Under the Cherry Moon, Pink Cashmere.
My Top 10 Prince Songs
These are my top 10 favorite Prince songs. If you make a purchase through the links, I will receive a small commission.
2. Let’s Go Crazy – Purple Rain (1984)
3. Delirious – 1999 (1982)
4. Raspberry Beret – Around the World in a Day, Prince and The Revolution (1985)
5. Little Red Corvette – 1999 (1982)
6. U Got the Look – Sign O the Times with Sheena Easton (1987)
7. I Wanna be Your Lover – Prince (1979)
8. Purple Rain – Purple Rain (1984)
9. Controversy – Controversy (1981)
10. I Would Die 4 U – Purple Rain (1984)
1. 1999 – 1999 (1982)
Prince – An Early Goodbye
May you rest in peace Prince, and may you forever light our skies, and fill our ears, with beautiful rainbows.