Shocking news for music fans in Fresno and all over the world yesterday as music legend Prince Rogers Nelson, best known under the mononym Prince, passed away at his Minnesota home yesterday, April 21, 2016, at 57 years old from, as of the time of this writing, currently unknown causes.
While obviously an unexpected tragedy, what we do know, as outlined by various sources including his Wikipedia page, is that on April 7, 2016, Prince postponed two performances from his Piano & A Microphone Tour, at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. A statement released by the venue said he was “battling the flu”. He had rescheduled the show for April 14, even though he still was not feeling well. Then, while flying back to Minneapolis early the next morning, his private jet made an emergency landing at Quad City International Airport in Moline, Illinois, so that he could seek medical treatment. Representatives claimed that he suffered from “bad dehydration” and had been fighting influenza for several weeks. Prince was seen in public the following evening, when he shopped at the Electric Fetus in Minneapolis on Record Store Day, and made a brief appearance at a dance party at his Paisley Park recording studio complex in Chanhassen, Minnesota, stating that he was feeling fine.
On April 21, 2016, Prince was found unresponsive in an elevator at his Minnesota home, Paisley Park. A 9-1-1 call was placed at 9:43 a.m, but sadly he did not recover with CPR by emergency responders and was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m. that day.
Since the announcement of his death, many musicians and cultural figures have spoken to or released reactions about the death or of Prince himself. To honor his memory, cities across the U.S. held tributes and vigils, and lit buildings, bridges, and other venues in purple light, in clear tribute to his hit song and film Purple Rain. Furthermore, the social media app Snapchat added a special filter for people to bathe their photos in purple rain. In the first five hours after the media began reporting his death, “Prince” was the top trending term on Twitter, and Facebook reported there had been 61 million Prince-related interactions.
As reported by CNN, in his home state of Minnesota, where he was a favorite native son, they wanted to remember Prince, and they chose to do so in a way he probably would have approved of: They danced. Tears fell freely as they blasted such hits such as “Nothing Compares 2 u” and held impromptu dance parties decked out in Prince gear. A sea of people dressed up in purple outfits lined the streets with purple flowers and stuffed animals.
Allison Werthmann-Radnich, a fan found on the streets of Minneapolis, said of the tradegy: “When I heard [the news of his death], it was like the finality of a giant chapter of my life knowing that there would be no more music…Memories of Prince and his music are the background and cornerstone of pretty much every important event in my life. Prom, weddings, New Year’s Eve celebrations, concerts at First Avenue and 7th Street Avenue.” She said she looked up to him for not compromising his artistic integrity.
Fans also flocked to First Avenue, the downtown Minneapolis dance club that became a landmark after Prince used it in Purple Rain. Asher Wade, age 27, spent the day listening to Prince music with friends and came to First Avenue with a purple teardrop painted on his face. he said: “I grew up listening to his music My parents loved him. I grew to love him. … (it’s) heartbreaking.”
Prince Rogers Nelson was born in Minneapolis, the son of Mattie Della (Shaw) and John Lewis Nelson. His father was a pianist and songwriter and his mother was a jazz singer. He was named after his father, whose stage name was Prince Rogers, and who performed with a jazz group called the Prince Rogers Trio. In a 1991 interview with A Current Affair, Prince’s father said, “I named my son Prince because I wanted him to do everything I wanted to do”.
As described by Billboard, Prince was one of the most iconic musicians in music history, and his extensive career grew out of the music scene of his native Minneapolis, where he lived his entire life. It was his 1978 debut album For You and self-titled second LP, released in October 1979, that kicked off an incredibly prolific run of albums that included “1999,” “Purple Rain,” “Around The World In A Day,” “Sign O” “The Times” and “Batman,” among others, throughout the 1980s at a clip of nearly one per year, evolving with each release.
Prince was a rising star in the music world initially, but it was 1984’s Purple Rain, his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, released in conjunction with the film of the same name, that cemented him as one of the greatest artists of his generation. The album earned him two Grammys, and Oscar and even a victory over Michael Jackson’s Thriller for Favorite Pop/Rock Album at the 1985 American Music Awards. He would receive a total of seven Grammy Awards from 32 nominations between 1984 and 2010. Along the way, he worked with several bands under a series of pseudonyms, including The Time, the New Power Generation and The Revolution, working both as frontman and producer.
Prince was also known for occasionally changing his name throughout his career, despite “Prince” always being the name most of us knew him under. He famously once changed his name to his eponymous Love Symbol, created in protest against his longtime record label Warner Bros., under which he released an album in 1992. His 18th and final album for the label, 1996’s Chaos and Disorder, finally released him from his contract.
Prince was legendary for his prolific and perfectionist nature which allowed him to release a steady slew of material as he experimented in the studio. As a result, unreleased b-sides and bootlegs of his work have become highly sought-after collectibles for die-hard fans, and his infamous “vault” of recordings has become the stuff of legend. He was truly transcendent as a performer, regularly stretching his shows beyond the three-hour mark and showcasing his stunning guitar work, which went on to become an underrated part of his legacy because it was often overshadowed by his iconic singing voice and abilities as a songwriter and bandleader.
Over his 35-plus-year career, Prince had released 39 solo studio albums and never stopped releasing new material. In fact, since September 2014, he put out four new full-length records with his latest band, 3rd Eye Girl, continuously experimenting with psychedelic rock and intergalactic funk. He even contributed an entire soundtrack to Tim Burton’s Batman from 1989.
Prince’s legacy as a musician, a singer, a style icon and an endlessly creative mind is nearly unparalleled in the modern music industry, and his influence stretches from pop to R&B to funk to hip-hop and everywhere in between. Purple Rain was the first of four No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200; an additional 12 LPs peaked in the top 10 in four different decades. The first single from his self-titled LP, “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” topped the Billboard R&B chart and he would go on to land 19 top 10 hits on the Hot 100, including such hits and classics like “When Doves Cry,” “1999,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Kiss,” “Little Red Corvette,” “Batdance” and “Cream.”
A autopsy is scheduled for today to better determine the cause of death. in the meanwhile, family, friends and fans all over the world mourn the loss of his musical genius. This examiner would personally like to offer his condolences to all of them in this difficult time.
Rest is peace Prince, you will be missed…