Prince ist tot und mein alter Freund Markus Schmidt (aka DJ Pari) erinnert an ihn. Markus und ich teilen viele purplefarbene Jugenderinnerungen. „An appreciation: Prince defies musical categories to shape a generation“ erschien zuerst bei Richmond Times-Dispatch.
„If you grew up in the 1980s like me or just appreciate great music, you probably feel like you lost a family member. We all have our own stories of coming of age with Prince „” he wrote the soundtrack of our adolescence.
Maybe you are among those old enough to remember a 19-year-old Prince subtly rocking the music world with his 1978 debut album, „For You,“ which he wrote, produced and performed by himself. Or you may have loved „” maybe hated „” him for wearing bikini briefs and a trench coat on the cover of „Dirty Mind,“ staring into the camera in a way that would make your momma blush. You may have been a casual fan making out to „Purple Rain“ „” or a die-hard follower who wrote Tipper Gore angry letters for trying to censor the lyrics of „Darling Nikki“ that you knew by heart.
Whether you were a fan or not, if you are my age, you grew up with Prince. There was just no escaping him.
I bought my first Prince album, „Sign O“™ The Times,“ in the summer of 1987. It was my introduction to funk and I was hooked immediately.
One year later, at 13, I snuck out of my parents“™ house in Germany to see Prince perform for the first time on his „Lovesexy“ tour. A Prince concert wasn“™t just watching a guy with his guitar sing and do a little dancing. In the 1980s, Prince set new standards for live entertainment. A Prince concert could be a near-religious experience that even turned my 71-year-old, Dixieland jazz-loving uncle into a fan after I dragged him to a „Diamonds and Pearls“ tour show.
Between 1988 and 1994, I went to at least two dozen Prince concerts and a handful of his legendary after-show parties where he treated small groups of his most loyal fans to impromptu mini-concerts that lasted until the wee hours.
Needless to say, I owned every record „His Royal Badness,“ as the media liked to call him, has ever put out. And then some.
Prince has released 37 albums, but it is not known how much music remains locked away deep in the vaults of his Paisley Park studios in Chanhassen, Minn., where he was found dead Thursday.
Some speculate he had recorded hundreds of songs; others believe it could have been thousands.
Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, Prince often overwhelmed his label, Warner Brothers, with the amount of music that he wanted released. He reliably cranked out a new album once, sometimes twice a year, and kept at this pace for more than three decades. For an artist with an insatiable appetite for making music, this wasn“™t enough.
Prince found other means to share his latest material. He leaked tapes with unreleased songs to friends. This music soon circulated among his most dedicated fans, including me.
Take „Dream Factory,“ a double album hailed as his masterpiece by most fans lucky enough to own it. Prince“™s final collaboration with Wendy and Lisa of the Revolution, his Purple Rain-era band, features some of his most inspired and consistently brilliant music.
When the Revolution disbanded in October 1986, many of these tracks were shelved. Others made it on the planned follow-up, a three-LP set called „Crystal Ball,“ a project deemed by Warner Brothers as too ambitious and challenging for an already over-saturated music market. A condensed version was eventually released as the double-album „Sign O“™ The Times,“ generally considered Prince“™s best work.
If you like this album, imagine the creative prowess of the original conception. And it“™s just the tip of the iceberg.
To this day, I probably have more than 200 audio tapes that I keep in boxes in my garage. The audio quality of most would be unbearable to the casual listener because they had been copied repeatedly. But die-hard fans didn“™t care.
A couple of years before Prince changed his name to a ridiculous, unpronounceable glyph, I had moved on to other music, mostly soul, funk and jazz from the 1960s and 1970s. I began DJing soul music and worked several years full-time in the music business. I was fortunate to have met and worked with soul legends, including James Brown, the Impressions and many others.
But I continued to follow Prince“™s career from a distance as my musical taste evolved, and eventually, I got to meet the man himself at one of his after-show parties in Germany where I had been booked to DJ. I hardly noticed when he joined me in the DJ booth, pulled up a chair and asked if it I was cool with him looking through my box of vinyl records.
I didn“™t get to talk to him much, but watching the boyish grin on his face as he listened to the music blasting through my monitor speakers felt like being in the presence of royalty. For the first and only time in my life, I made him groove.
We have lost many music legends in recent years. James Brown died in 2006; Michael Jackson in 2009; and just four months ago, David Bowie. I never imagined that Prince would join them so soon. I could see him aging gracefully like his father, John L. Nelson, a jazz musician who died in 2001 at 85.
But unlike his dad, Prince leaves behind a prolific, groundbreaking catalog of music.
He was a master architect of pop, funk, soul, disco, rock „” you name it. Prince hated musical categories, which explains how the definitions of his own work blurred. To Prince, there was either good music or bad. And he was brilliant in making both, unafraid where his inspiration and talent would take him. But even if the result was just a mediocre throwaway song „” and there are more than enough of those „” it was still better than most of the music on the charts today.
A true musical genius doesn“™t come along very often. To his fans, Prince is the genius of our generation. In a world in which the expiration date of new music is often just days away, we long for real music made by true artists. And as long as Prince was around, we knew that we could always count on him.
He leaves a void that is hard to fill. But what comforts me is that he died where he loved being most, at the very studio compound where he recorded his music that will shape generations of future musicians.