It is not been a good year for music and the arts. Nearly 4 months in and we’ve lost such national treasures as Terry Wogan, Alan Rickman, Paul Daniels, Ronnie Corbett and just this week Victoria Wood. In January, of course, we lost the Thin White Duke and yesterday, to much surprise and shock, The Purple One, Prince.
In a career that started in America’s mid-west (Minneapolis) and spanned nearly 40 years his impact on popular music has been huge. A multi-instrumentalist, often playing all the parts on his album, he was someone who could draw together both white and black music and make something enthused with rock, funk, dance, synthpop and new wave - sometimes all at the same time. This blending is reflected in a famous quote by jazz legend Miles Davis, who compared Prince to a combination of James Brown, Jimi Hendrix and Charlie Chaplin.
Prince will be remembered for his music but also as someone who did things his own way. Most famously of course – in dispute with his record company – he dropped his moniker opting for a symbol. He was one of the first people to consider other distribution models for his albums releasing his 2007 Planet Earth album free via The Mail on Sunday. He then followed the album with an unprecedented 21 dates at London’s O2.
The really good thing about the creative is that they leave their art behind and at nearly 50 albums (including live) that’s some musical archive for anyone to study, digest, dance or fall in love to.
Prince Rogers Nelson
1958 - 2016
Copyright Speakers Corner 2016