May the rain always be purple

Prince Rogers Nelson a.k.a Prince was the embodiment of the modern-day Renaissance man. Succeeding at practically every musical discipline, Prince was a multi-instrumentalist and a singer with a 4-octave vocal capacity who could make his guitar vail in ecstasy. To honor the passing of another legend, we have collected 7 important photos of Prince (1958-2016). Doves are surely crying these days.

Minneapolis’s Child


image source: mulovesimages.tumblr.com

Here’s a fine young gentleman near the old Schmitt Music Headquarters in Minneapolis, in 1978. Did he already know what’s waiting ahead? Despite the somewhat obvious insecurity (just take a look at the whole photo session), the smile indicates a growing ambition. While the kid is walking the streets just like any other aspiring Minneapolis youngster during the 70’s, it’s only a matter of two years before a serious and pretty accurate first shot at fame happens. And, acknowledging the fact that the man mastered around 27 music instruments, by this point he should’ve already mastered at least a half of them. Also, at this point, the work on his first record had concluded and the year of 1978 saw the release of the debut studio album by Prince entitled For You. Take a look at the album sleeve notes and see how many musicians were involved in the recording process. Yep, precisely one, despite the 28 instruments used, which is an unbelievable and desirable capacity.

Prince: “Prince” and the “Dirty Mind” Era


image source:www.nydailynews.com

The period of 1979-1980 was, in a huge sense, a game changer for the artist. Another album was released with the eponymous title Prince. This time, it was both critically and commercially appreciated and contained a construction of a new sound that would reach its peak on his next album, Dirty Mind. This time, America and the rest of the world took notice. 80’s drum machine beat was sneaking in while the Minneapolis funk guitar was as intact as ever. Some may view the album cover as cringy, but Prince was a complete free bird, simple as that. He didn’t care about the surrounding opinion pollution. Looking and dressing as he wanted, Prince was so self-contained; it let others fear his explosive charisma. When Dirty Mind rolled into the charts in 1980, the sparse, demo recording quality was the edgiest there was. As Ken Tucker of Rolling Stone notably said, “Dirty Mind is positively filthy.”

Party like it’s 1999


image source: www.sbnation.com

This one was the big one. Although Controversy (1982) was another important entry in the catalogue, it was Prince’s fifth studio album, entitled 1999 (1982), that skyrocketed the man into the stratosphere and placed him right beside the contemporaries like Michael Jackson and Madonna. Often labelled as one of the best albums of the decade, 1999 was a pure energy on the vinyl. Loaded with electric beats and astounding guitar virtuosity, the album was also the first one to employ The Revolution, a mixed race and gender ensemble of enormously skilled musicians. The particular music video for “1999” the single was full of smoke, pink hues, allusions to sexuality and nuclear apocalypse, and some seriously suggestive staring. A tour was set off featuring an ever-increasing number of dance moves, unimaginable guitar soloing and a glaring stage presence. Forget about the somewhat awkward impromptu moment during the James Brown concert in 1983. Prince was, in fact, a master improviser without any problems to give the crowd its fair share!

Purple Rain is My Kind of Rain


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1984 was a big year for the artist. While the closest contemporary Michael Jackson definitely owned the whole of 1983, the next summer was all about purple rain and crying doves. Purple Rain, the soundtrack of Prince’s first feature film, is by many considered to be the artist’s magnum opus. As of now, it’s the sixth best-selling album of all time (22 million copies sold worldwide) and is regularly placed among the best albums of all time in the lists by various contemporary music magazines. Aside from that, the recording is also included in the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry as culturally, historically and aesthetically important. This is what you get when you dare to cross Minneapolis funk with the traditional rock and new wave soundscapes. Meanwhile, the film of the same name became an unexpected box office success and even received an Academy Award for… you guessed it, the best original score. The following Purple Rain tour created the iconic Prince image we’re so familiar with today while most of the photos of Prince are exploiting exactly this chrestomathic period of the musician’s career.

“Sign o’ Times” / “Lovesexy”


image source: musicvideotop.com

Another inexcusable leap over two undeniably important and significant albums (Around the World in a Day and Parade) leads us to one of the most critically acclaimed of Prince’s recordings. Sign o’ the Times came out in 1987 and was the first solo work of Prince after the departure from his backing band The Revolution. A socially conscious double album, this one saw a musical virtuosity rarely witnessed today. Combining a variety of musical directions, Sign o’ the Times approves that Prince might as well have been the most technically gifted popular musician of the decade. The most accomplished entry in his vast catalogue from the authorship point of view, the album was once referred to by Michaelangelo Matos as the final four-sided blockbuster of the vinyl era. After the successful Sign o’ the Times European tour, Prince rushed back into the studio and spawned yet another worldwide success, the mostly solo effort Lovesexy (1989). Another tour followed, this time encompassing both Asian and North American concert performances. Just another super successful recording of the Batman soundtrack (1989), and the 90’s were ready for Prince.

The 90’s. Still an Icon


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Prince entered the grungy decade with a stripped back production of the Nude tour playing his greatest hits and still making guitar pros around the world reconsider their views on pop music guitar playing. The decade also saw the artist struggling to sever his ties with the Warner Brothers record label. Albums came one after another and a new backing band, The New Power Generation, was formed. In a radical protest move against the Warner Bros label, Prince actually abandoned his stage name, and for a brief moment that lasted until the year 2000, his albums were marked with the peculiar “Love Symbol”. For the general public, the musician became “the artist formerly known as Prince”. Did we already mention that he didn’t care what everybody else was thinking? Anyhow, the artist was still very much intent on positively shattering the music industry. Albums, tours, image changes and the always-present sharpness were the keywords for Prince’s 90’s period. It seems that it’s here when the artist finally became fully aware of the global appreciation for his creative output and was finally at ease with the direction his career was taking.

The Story Ends, the Legend Begins


image source: www.octavia-bo.com

Sadly, on April 21st, 2016, the world lost another musical genius and the icon of the popular culture in general. Prince Rogers Nelson passed away at just 57 years old, leaving a huge hole in the world of popular music and our collective consciousness. However, he also left a legacy that will take years to fully explore and enjoy. His vast and constant creative output will be heard in millions of headphones around the world, inspiring thousands of music industry newcomers and inviting people to dance whenever there’s a chance to do so. Meanwhile, let these photos of Prince remind you of the terrific energy and the immense talent the guy was simply radiating wherever he went!

The little red Corvette will surely ride on!

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