Prince: Tears of Purple Rain

Music superstar Prince is dead at age 57, and the world is still reeling in shock

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Prince: Tears of Purple Rain

Michael Bakshandeh

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April 21st was a shocking and tragic day for the music industry as a phenomenal talent was lost. The multi-faceted superstar Prince was discovered unresponsive at 10:07 a.m., in an elevator at his Paisley Park compound in Chanhassen, Minnesota, where he lived and worked.

Prince (née Prince Rodgers Nelson) has long been considered a music legend and genius by many worldwide. Although he stood at only 5’2” physically, his talent in multiple areas was taller than a skyscraper. Prince was a well accomplished musician with smash hits that included, “When Doves Fly”, “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Raspberry Beret”, “Purple Rain”, “Little Red Corvette”, “Kiss”, and many, many more. While his music was widely popular, it was also controversial, as his performances were widely known to be extremely flamboyant and provocative; however, it only enhanced his mystique and appeal to his fans worldwide.

He first hit the music scene in the 1980s with his band, The Revolution. He achieved tremendous success with his band and together they created the famous album Purple Rain in 1984, which went platinum over 13 times. Later Prince starred in a movie titled Purple Rain, with the Purple Rain album serving as its soundtrack, and won an Academy Award for Best Original Sound Score of the Purple Rain movie. Prince went on to establish a solo career while performing with many artists such as the drummer Shiela E. and wrote some of his greatest hits for artists such as Chaka Khan and Sinead O’Connor. In addition to being a singer-songwriter, Prince was a producer, actor, and a multi-instrumentalist, having played over 27 instruments on his debut album. He has won seven Grammys in addition to many other awards and is credited for pioneering the groundbreaking “Minneapolis sound”: a blend of funk, rock, synth pop and R&B. Prince’s music career flourished for over four decades, and he was still performing in his final days. One of Prince’s most memorable performances was at Super Bowl 2010, in what was lauded an incredible performance.

Prince was much more than an incredibly talented musician. He served as musical and creative inspiration to other musicians and his fans, and is regarded an innovator as he paved the way for creative expression and freedom to be oneself. He was known as an extremely unique individual who expressed himself creatively in his clothing, personality, and even his name. In 1993, after a copyright struggle with his record producer Warner Brothers, Prince changed his name to an unpronounceable combination of male and female astrological symbols. Prince thereafter became “the artist formerly known as Prince”. He famously loved the color purple and infused it into his clothing, songs, guitars and stage background, and was regarded a sex symbol due to his performances and his intriguing androgynous personality. What many didn’t know was that Prince was a quiet humanitarian who was benevolent to so many without recognition. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

Since Prince’s death, there have been spontaneous dance parties and showings of the movie Purple Rain in AMC theaters and even on VH1. His fans are truly heartbroken as a genius has left us all. Rock stars, politicians, and fans have been paying tribute to the late superstar. Even President Obama expressed his sorrow and disbelief over this tragedy. In a typically Prince-groundbreaking fashion, the day after his death, over one million singles and 230,000 of his albums were sold. If you see it raining purple raindrops, you’ll know that they represent the tears of the millions of fans of the irreplaceable artist Prince.

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