The death of the legendary rocker, commonly known as “Prince” (Prince Roger Nelson) has been confirmed. He was 57. The musician had been recently performing, but a few days ago he was suddenly hospitalized with flu symptoms when he was returning from an Atlanta concert. The cause of his death has not been fully disclosed, however, it does not appear that he died from flu complications. Additional toxicology tests are underway to determine whether any chemicals had any adverse effects on him. He was pronounced dead at his Paisley Park home studio in Minnesota. Fans gathered there, many who emotionally expressed their love for the Minnesota-born icon.
Prince was the son of a pianist who played in a Minneapolis jazz band. He was signed to Warner Brothers while still a teen releasing “For You” in 1978 followed with monster hits, “Sister,” “I Wanna Be You Love,” “Little Red Corvette,” “Purple Rain” and other songs. He started his career at the old Greyhound Bus depot in Minneapolis after it was converted into a music venue called First Avenue. It was not uncommon to see Prince mingling with the common milieu on the streets in various pubs and bars, and on occasion, strip clubs. People liked him for that.
Prince jumped on the music scene at a time when music videos were making their debut in the early 80’s– he capitalized on this new concept, introducing memorable and iconic videos. Prince never left his Minnesota roots, often playing in smaller venues in Minneapolis although he quickly became a worldwide superstar. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis were bursting on the scene in Minnesota as well during this era turning Minneapolis into an important venue for making music. Prince has sold over 100 million records. According to the Minneapolis Tribune:
“In 2004, Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame, which hailed him as a musical and social trailblazer. “The man born Prince Rogers Nelson stood just 5 feet, 2 inches and seemed to summon the most original and compelling sounds at will, whether playing guitar in a flamboyant style that openly drew upon Jimi Hendrix, switching his vocals from a nasally scream to an erotic falsetto or turning out album after album of stunningly original material. Among his other notable releases: “Sign O’ the Times,” ‘’Graffiti Bridge” and “The Black Album.”.
Prince had his critics; some say his videos contained a healthy dose of misogynistic themes. Other people were put off by his continuous quest for recognition, while at the same time, shielding himself with bodyguards and a cloak of secrecy. Much of that is the stuff of stars, but Prince seemed to thrive on this mysticism, not unlike another Minnesota legend, Bob Dylan. A memorial is scheduled for tonight in Minneapolis– a dance party– Prince would have liked that.
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