Usually I only post video game related content here, so this one will be a little different. Recently, Prince passed away, and I was blown away at the world-wide response to his passing. Prince, growing up, was my favorite musician. I was born in 1970, thus all my teenage years was in the 1980’s. And in the 1980’s, even if you had wanted to, you could not have avoided Prince.
I got into his music during the 1999 album. His sound was different, a blend of funk and rock. But different. But when Purple Rain was released, MAN, it was a game changer for me. It became, and still is, my all-time favorite album. I liked the movie as well, but the album was what did it for me.
My favorite memory is laying in bed listening to that album on cassette. My parents house had one bathroom, which was only accessible through my bedroom. My parents room was right outside my room, so to listen to music when I was suppose to be asleep, I would have to wear a cheap pair of headphones. But they sucked, and produced no bass to speak of. I instead turned to my new Boombox with detachable speakers. I would remove the speakers from the boombox and position one on each side of my head. At Volume setting 1, you could not hear the music even on the other side of my bedroom, let alone in my parents room through a closed door. But positioning those speakers as I did, like giant headphones, volume 1 seemed VERY loud. Even better, the audio quality was head and shoulders better than the headphones.
Yes, this is me back in the 1980’s, and yes, that Boombox up top is THE Boombox I am writing about.
I would lay there, usually flipping the Purple Rain cassette over twice, before putting the speakers away and falling asleep. In my mind, laying in the dark with nothing but Baby I’m A Star, The Beautiful Ones, Computer Blue, and of course Purple Rain, I would imagine being Prince and playing those songs in concert. Of course, in my mind, I wasn’t Prince, and that album never came out. It was all my original music.
I have fond memories of Around the World in a Day and Parade as well. Both excellent albums, and to me, almost as good as Purple Rain. By the time those two albums came out, I was in my 20s, and driving a car, so my memories for both those albums are of driving in whatever beat-up Chevy/Pontiac/Buick I had at the time, marveling at the depth of the music Prince was recording. It would have been easy to release another album the likes of Purple Rain, but Prince went another route. He changed the sound, the style, the… everything. He was original, and would not even copy himself.
My relationship with Prince was through his music. I never met the man, and from accounts I read about him, probably would not have gotten along very well with him if I had. I also never saw him perform live in concert, which is surprising if you knew how many concerts I went to between 1984 – 1994. But none of that mattered to me then, or now. Prince created some of the most important music to my life, along with Metallica and U2. Those, for me, were the big three.
Prince will be missed, but I thank him for the music and memories. He made growing up so much better when I was a teenager.