Prince (1958-2016): Why Did He Die Alone?

What is there to say about Sir Prince that hasn’t already been said?

I have focused my listening ear to his music since his death. No doubt he was a genius. Music was in his DNA and creativity in his blood. He was an original. His music electrified with energy galore, his voice full of passion as he sang love songs like no other.

I visited his discography and listened to music that I had not heard before. His music covered it all – from the big brass band to solo acapella. I love his love songs best.

His music was aggressive and lovely. He paid tribute to the old school legends, where he was rooted. His rigor was sexy. His music makes you move, it is provocative and spell binding as you try to figure him out, with his primal screams, moans, groans, hollers and yells.

His sound was pure and beautiful. You heard his vulnerability, his love, his innocence, his tenderness and his pain. You even heard his loneliness. You heard his religion.

He was hip and cool and you never knew where he was coming from, the perfect lover, if you please. He was raw and powerful. His personality was unassuming, charming and quite witty.

You hear the big band influence to the jazz greats, mixed with blues, a lot of funk, some rock, and gospel base and then there was that sound that belonged exclusively to him.

He was a music master. He played every instrument. He was innovative and sassy as he emoted in his song, dance and music. He took the guitar to another place and made the piano talk.

At the end as he mixed genres, he really became his very own genre. Historically, Prince will become to his music what Louis Armstrong has become to jazz.

He was sexy. His style ranged from English Edwardian laced shirts to his zebra briefs accented with a scarf and a short jacket. I found some music from “The Vault” released in 1999, after his departure from Warner Brothers.

“It’s About That Walk” is my new favorite and in “When The Lights Go Down,” the piano and percussions are sensational. The music begs you to dance. And then I found the B-side of his hits. “Pink Cashmere,” has become a favorite and “God” is spiritual.

PRINCE

The Prince Show

A Prince concert was an experience. I saw him twice, two nights in a row at Chicago’s United Center. I sat awestruck from the first show. He was spectacular on stage as he danced and pranced. He was a tease. He was private.

You didn’t always know what he was, but as a friend said, you probably were wise not to take your woman around him. He explored his music as he made it. He was bold and uninhibited. He was free and he was playing velvet enchantment just for you.

He loved his all-encompassing sound and you listened to a master – “Little Red Corvette” and “Adore.” Go head, Mr. Prince.

He was an original. He got it right, for himself. I suppose that is the ultimate of the living experience. He had a Miles Davis attitude of “dig it, if you can,” “yeah I said it,” “now watch this.” “how you like me now?”

You wanted to take him home. I regret that I was never in his company. I so wanted to see him in a small club. In his show he had you with the first song. The whole show was the wow factor. He played and he played and then he played some more. He wore the audience out.

He would break and allowed a guest singer to sing so he could rest for a moment and then he came back with a vengeance. It was hard to believe he had hip surgery. He made hip surgery hip.

Changing The Game

Prince defied the music industry and those who follow him should be thankful for his path. He wanted to own his music, like others before him like Sam Cook and Curtis Mayfield. He wanted to produce his sound and he was his own boss from the very beginning.

When digital came into being, he was apart of the new wave, releasing his music independently. He sold over 100 million records, giving him icon status.

Warner Bros. stole his birthright – his name. They argued that contractually, they had the rights to his name. He wrote on his face “slave.” He changed his identity to a symbol.

He eventually got his name back. But he played his music. He went into the studio and created more music. He was Prince all by himself. He was private, with a guarded image. He was his own brand, no matter what you called him.

He said, call me “The Artist.” He was the ultimate artist and Warner Bros could not own that. He projected himself as he saw fit. He was intentional, with purpose and on point.

He was prolific and often known to be making music in his home of Paisley Park in Chanhassen, Minnesota constantly. We will be listening to “new” unreleased Prince music for years to come.

A Full And Positive Life

Prince led a full life. He visited jazz clubs to listen to others and find new artists. He often appeared unannounced in small clubs. He mentored upcoming talent. He had his favorite jazz spots. He often performed for his town and invited people to his studio to enjoy his musical hospitality at Paisley Park.

He has his rules, but he lived a normal, positive life. He rode his bike. He went shopping. I bet he didn’t have a bucket list. He didn’t need one; he was living his life all the way. He ran out. He may have just run his body into the ground.

Listening to the reports of his death, where the private plane had an emergency landing for medical treatment, in retrospect, he probably should have stayed in the hospital.

Allegedly he didn’t because they didn’t have a private room. The medical attention was more important than the room. He chose to resume the flight and go home, which was less than an hour away.

A staff member dropped him off. He was alone. His staff found him on the elevator after he didn’t answer the morning phone calls. He shouldn’t have died alone.

He will live in our arms forever. The little man who crossed over in every way made music magic and magic was his music.

His parents knew who he was. They named him Prince. Some people are born with a gift. He was one and he explored and exploited it to the fullest.

We will be listening to Prince for years to come. He gave us a new musicology. There is music in the vault. He was cremated in a private ceremony last Saturday. The public awaits the autopsy report.

We cry Purple Rain tears, The Doves Cry as we make love. As Quincy Jones, might say, “He was one of the baddest cats on the planet.”

Prince graced our stage. He wore it out. And now he sleeps.

Amen.

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