Much like David Bowie’s death, Prince’s sudden death threw me for a loop. He meant so much to me. While I don’t have a first hand story about Prince, I do have second hand stories about him (which I can’t really share). The one common thread in those stories is that despite his eccentricities, he was someone who really cared about other people. He was so beautifully contrary – the man who wrote beautifully filthy lyrics, yet apparently informed a DJ he didn’t get dressed up to hear swearing.
I first became acquainted with Prince as a little kid. My parents owned the Purple Rain soundtrack (who didn’t), and naturally, he popped up on the radio. Much like David Bowie, he was a major part of the soundtrack of my life. He was larger than life to me. (Especially once I realized he wasn’t actually all that tall)
Let’s Go Crazy has always been on my computer – same with Kiss and Raspberry Beret. 1999 was a constant, even after Y2K came and went with that song playing nearly non-stop. (I wondered how many people with their bunkers played it, rocking out in what they thought were the end times)
I sometimes forgot what an amazing guitarist he was, so caught up in his showmanship – the jumps, the clothes, the impeccable eye-makeup. The video below is proof of his skills. There’s an alleged quote from Eric Clapton (I couldn’t find a source) that when asked what it was like to be the greatest guitarist, Clapton said. “I don’t know. Ask Prince.” While it might not be an actual quote – he certainly was one of the greats.
I was awed by him changing his name to a symbol in order to get one over on his old record label. It was odd, but subversive, and powerful. Then again, that’s a pretty good summary for his entire career.
His ability to reinvent himself and unabashedly be himself gave me the courage to do the same.
But mostly, he taught me that when things were dark and dire – the one thing that you could always do was dance it out to Let’s Go Crazy. And that somehow, after throwing your all into rocking out… you’d feel better.
Here’s the Hamilton Cast honoring Prince by doing just that. (Also, this is the only way to dance to this song. Just going all out and feeling that joy)
My favorite thing tonight that I saw was the hashtag #bemorepurple from this post:
Love you all. Let’s all be more purple. (The link explains what I mean by that) Don’t worry so much about what men and women are supposed to do. Preen a little. Sing a little. Let it all out – good, bad.
I think he’d like that.