On Thursday, April 21st, I was saddened to learn of the passing of the epic and iconic musician PRINCE. I began to reflect on my Prince moments like the rest of the world as his songs began being played incessantly on radio stations and newscasts around the globe.
Oddly enough, when Prince first came on the scene in 1979 with I Wanna Be Your Lover I was not impressed, in fact I didn't even like the song. That all changed with the release of his movie Purple Rain and the accompanying sound track. I remember watching Purple Rain and it seeming to me to be more like being at a concert than a movie. I fell in love with both Prince's band and Morris Day and the Time in that movie. I purchased both the Purple Rain and Morris Day's Ice Cream Castles albums and listened to them time and time again. Purple Rain is the only movie that I actually paid to see in the theater three times with the only other movie that I paid to see more than once, The Blues Brothers (twice). I did not even pay more than once to watch my favorite movie of all time Top Gun. I say all of that to say how much of an impression Purple Rain made on me. The music in the movie was electrifying and from that point on I was a Prince fan. I did not always like everything he released, however he was indeed a musical genius. I didn't learn until later years the plethora of artists he wrote and produced for that include but are not limited to Chaka Khan, Morris Day, Sheila E, Sheena Easton, Patti Labelle, Sinead O'Connor, Tevin Campbell, and Alicia Keys. Wow! What a loss to the music world!
We are losing our game changers and in my view as a musician there are no replacements coming up the pike. I am not making this statement to offend, disparage or discourage our current artists, but none of them are anywhere close to the musical caliber of the folks we have been losing over the past few years. There will never be another Prince, Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Maurice White, Marvin Gaye, Natalie Cole, or David Bowie. These along with others were game changers. Who are the game changers of today? Can we honestly say that in 2066 much of the music we hear today is going to be revered in the same manner as the music of the icons we are losing? Personally, I don't think so. I could be wrong and truthfully I hope that I am, but as a musician, I know what I am listening to and it is not game changing.
As I watched the various performance clips on the news of Prince, I could feel the energy and hear/see his gifts shining through. Prince like so many of the others listed was a musical genius and I am grateful to be alive during this period of time when we had musical geniuses who were game changers. Their talents were surreal and I am grateful they shared them with the world. Oh, yes as each one passes, he/she is truly missed by all. What contributions they made! Something to critically think about.
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