In August, what was possibly the first postmortem biography on Prince was published by Hachette Australia. The book delves behind the purple curtain and goes to Narnia-type lengths to tell of Prince’s journey from colourful but traumatic childhood to his meteoric rise to superstardom, cultural impact, and the unexpected death we all grieved over on April 21.
The months may have plodded by (“It’s been 7 hours and 153 days since He took our love away…”) but we’ve passed some of the time reminiscing what great music the man made online (and, yes, we dug up some old vinyl, too).
Cream pays tribute to the wholly inspired and holy-like inspirational Artist Formerly Known As…
We all know he should never have changed his name to a symbol. It put us all in a tizz, and put a halt on the buzz that was Prince, music whiz-kid of the Eighties, and inspiration to everyone from Outkast to Missy Elliott, M.I.A. to Beyoncé and beyond. Twenty years on from that silly lovesign and Hello Internet where even the most official of birthnames get lost in an an abyss of digital dissonance.
For the record, the name change had less to do with pretension and more to do with the artist wanting to make music outside of his contract with record company giant Warner Music, who stipulated he was not entitled to use his own name until he completed a certain number of recordings with them. But pop politics aside, Prince’s lyrical knack, musical mastery and tectonic influence on popular culture deserve to be rushed into biographic form; surely just a taster of grander retrospectives to come.
The man’s music was always inspirational; forever challenging; always motivating; and, heck yeah, addictive stuff. The man’s celebrity was scandalous, even for the fact that you never knew if you were dealing with one of God’s chosen ones here or a dude who sold his soul to the devil.
Gospel. Rock. Club music. Soul. Rhythm and blues. Electronica. Even the occasional heavy metal (have you really listened to that guitar grind at the start of When Doves Cry?). Aside from country, there was hardly any musical genre Prince couldn’t turn his hand and mind to, creating countless recordings – many of which sold like raspberry hotcakes, some of which have yet to see the light of day.
One of the most inspirational and acclaimed musicians of the 20th century, Prince Rogers Nelson may have appeared to have waned in the mindset of today’s MP3-infatuated generation, but realise this: his latter-day albums actually did pretty well. 2004’s Musicology, for example, debuted at number three on the Billboard Chart and garnered him two Grammys and a top-grossing tour.
In fact, Prince was one of the most prolific solo artists there ever was, having recorded and released 39 albums over a career that spanned 35 years. Who knows what else might be in the vault for us to enjoy in days to come? Antonino Tati
For an in-depth read of what in his life inspired Prince to create such magical music, read ‘Prince: Purple Reign’ by Mick Wall, available through Hachette Australia (RRP $32.99).