Hey, 2016. Can we talk? I’m not gonna lie to you (ding!), you’re starting to piss me off. First Bowie, then Phife, now bloody Prince? Really? Enough already. As others have already said:
Anyway, you probably don’t need me to tell you that Prince was great. He was arguably the greatest solo artist in the history of music. Not only was he a phenomenal songwriter, performer, guitar player, multi-instrumentalist and producer, you could make a reasonable argument that he was the best of his generation at all of those things.
For proof of the talent that seemingly oozed from every pore, you can make a better than average playlist of songs that he wrote (or, in the case of Stevie Nicks, inspired and elevated to another level) and gave away to other artists. Well, I did in fact make said playlist. Most artists would kill to have 10 songs this good, soulful and funky as their career top 10.
Maybe a few decades down the road, you’ll meet some youngster that doubts what a great musician Prince was. In you find yourself in this situation, show them these videos, especially the first one.
In typical Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame fashion, a bunch of older white guys have achieved the near impossible, turning a Beatles song into a complete bore. That is until Prince digs in around the 3:30 mark and absolutely blows the doors off the room with his solo. AND WHERE DOES HIS GUITAR GO AT THE END? Waiting for him in heaven is what I have to assume.
If that wasn’t amazing enough, he also managed to turn one of the most boring events of the years, The Super Bowl halftime show, into one of the most thrilling live performances anyone has ever seen. And he did it in howling wind and pouring rain, with live mics and guitars. Unbelievable.
And there’s this. Prince was so famously protective of his music and image that few if any of his songs or performance have made their way up on the YouTubes. He even tried to have this divine cover of Radiohead’s Creep removed, until Radiohead gently reminded everyone involved that this was, in fact, their song, and Prince didn’t have the power to have it removed. Watch the guitar playing in the last couple of minutes. We overuse the word amazing, I know, but I think it’s quite applicable here.
RIP to another one of the greats. I look forward to the new album from you (featuring Bowie, Lemmy, Phife and a slew of others) that will inevitably follow telling how funky and groovy the afterlife is.