Today died the greatest musician who has ever touched a guitar. The world will be a little less today. A tremendous soul has been lifted from our earth. With that soul goes the greatest person to lay fingers on a guitar, a man whom Dave Grohl once said was a better drummer than him and one of the most liberated individuals who have ever lived.
If there’s one phrase that sums up Prince is that he did not give a single fuck. He did what he wanted and he did it audaciously. He wrote songs about receiving oral sex, did not include a bass line on “When Doves Cry,” wanted to star in a film without never having acted before and he got into ugly, vicious fights with his music label. The man frequently made public appearances in the 90’s with the word “slave” scrawled on his cheek, a reference to his long fight with his major label, Warner Bros. Prince made this into an album cover and it has become the object of my fascination for a couple of years now.
What made Prince a lot more than simply a cheap shock artist was how much his audacity paid off. Very few people took as bold steps as Prince did. The results were often magical, fascinating and beautiful. Purple Rain is the greatest album the 80’s ever produced. One of my favorite four album runs of all time is Dirty Mind, Controversy, 1999, and Purple Rain. 1987’s Sign o’ the Times is one of the best double albums ever recorded, if not the best. The 1980’s belonged to Prince in an era that was crowded by the highest selling album and musician of all time. He was able to make a song called “Batdance” go platinum.
Today Prince did what was unimaginable. He proved to be mortal. Friedrich Nietzsche famously said that “God is dead.” Today God died.