This past week, the world was stunned by the loss of the international, iconic musical powerhouse that was Prince. Prince came quietly onto the music scene in the late 1970’s with two funk-pop albums that barely registered a blip on the music charts. His big breakthrough came in 1980, with his “masterpiece of sex, and music, with catchy melodies, funk, soul ballads, and hard rocking guitar pop,” “Dirty Mind”.
It was during the ’80s, that Prince stepped into the spotlight as one of the most unique talents of that particular rock and roll era. Prince could seamlessly blend together pop, funk, folk, and rock. Not only did he release a series of groundbreaking albums such as the brilliant “1999”, and its masterful dynamo :Purple Rain “; he toured frequently, produced albums for himself and other artists, wrote songs for many more artists, and recorded hundreds of songs that still lie unreleased in his vaults.
With each album he released, Prince showed remarkable stylistic growth and musical diversity, constantly experimenting with different sounds, textures, and genres. Occasionally, his music was inconsistent, in part because of his eclecticism, but his experiments frequently succeeded; no other contemporary artist blended so many diverse styles into a cohesive whole.
Contractual problems plagued Prince during the 1990’s and he adapted a symbol for his name, while calling himself “the artist formerly known as Prince.” In the summer of 1996, Prince was finally able to become an independent artist, with no contractual obligations to hold him back. In 1996 he released the 3 disc compilation “Emancipation,” and while it wasn’t quite the commercial success Prince hoped it would be, the album spun off singles for many years.
Prince continued to make records, his last being released in December 2015 in Europe and January 2016 here in the United States. The solo tour he was planning for this year was suddenly cut short due to illness, and Prince passed away on April 22, 2016. In honor of Prince Rogers Nelson and his enormous contribution to music of all types, Cover Wars will pay tribute to that most iconic of Prince songs, “Purple Rain.”
And the most fitting tribute of all, The Cast of Broadway’s “The Color Purple”:
Rest in Peace, Prince. You will be missed, but your music will live on.
Voting ends at 10 pm EST on Friday, May 6