WASHINGTON, April 21, 2016 – Prince, the avant-garde artist credited with the creation of the Minneapolis sound was found dead in his home in Minnesota according to his publicist, YYvette Noel-Schure. He was 57 at the time of his death.
Prince recently canceled two planned performances on his Piano & a Microphone tour after performing his second sold-out concert in Atlanta. The musician, who had been suffering from the flu, was rushed to the hospital but had returned to his Paisley Park home and concerns for his health greatly abated.
Born Prince Rogers Nelson on June 7, 1958, Prince changed music staring with his his debut album, For You, in 1978, followed by Prince (1979), Dirty Mind (1980) and Controversy (1981). His music was filled with the instantly recognizable synth funk peppered with provocatively sexual lyrics and ballads or broken hearts and longing sung in pure falsetto.
In 1982, his album 1999 launched several pop and dance floor hits onto the charts, including Little Red Corvette and the title song, a post-apocalyptic party anthem that was widely played when, in fact, 1999 came about.
In 1984, Purple Rain, a semi-autobiographical tale of “The Kid,” a Minneapolis rocker from an abusive family, released and Prince became a household name. The album launched five singles, two of which — “When Doves Cry” and Let’s Go Crazy” — went to Number 1 on the Billboard chart. The films soundtrack is often listed as being one of the best of all times
The title ballad Purple Rain reached No. 2 becoming one of the most recognizable rock anthems in history.
The artist’s music continued to evolve with Around the World in a Day (1985) and Sign “O” the Times (1987), a double album recorded partly before a live audience. The album is often cited as being created during Prince’s creative peak and includes songs like “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker,” “If I was Your Girlfriend,” and “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man.”
In addition to Purple Rain, Prince also starred 1986’s Under the Cherry Moon, in which he stars as a gigolo wooing Kristin Scott Thomas in the south of France. The movie bombed, but produced a successful soundtrack album: Parade, which featured the hits “Kiss” and “Mountains.”
During his earlier years, Prince was backed by the powerhouse band The Revolution, famous for in part for Wendy & Lisa a music duo consisting of Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman. Throughout the 1990s, Prince backed by The New Power Generation, and his sound moved away from synth and heavy rock guitars and into one of brassier R&B.
A well regarded artist, Prince won seven Grammy Awards and earned 30 nominations. Five of his singles topped the charts and 14 other songs hit the Top 10. He won an Oscar for best original song score for “Purple Rain.”
Prince felt that his label Warner Bros. was taking advantage of him and in 1993, he changed his name to that of an unpronounceable glyph that melded the symbols for male and female before later shaving the word “Slave” onto his face.
Between 1994 and 1996 he churned out the five remaining records due on his contract and signed with Arista Records in 1998.
By the 2000s, the glyph was retired and he was once again referring to himself as Prince. In the 15 years since, he’s released an astonishing 15 records and toured tirelessly.
His latest tour, dubbed “Piano & a Microphone,” saw him criss-crossing the globe from Melbourne, Aus., to Oakland, Calif., performing an intimate, improvised evening of hits performed solo at a grand piano.
On the night he learned of his collaborator Vanity’s, Denise Katrina Matthews recent death, Prince told the crowd, “I just found out a little while ago that someone dear to us has passed away. So I’m going to dedicate this song to her.”
The song “Little Red Corvette.” is arguably on of the happiest, and most sensual, summer party songs ever written.
During a PBS interview, Prince said he was “born epileptic” and “used to have seizures” as a child. recalling that his mother, a jazz singer, recalled a vision that the singer had: “My mother told me one day I walked in to her and said, ‘Mom, I’m not going to be sick anymore,’ and she said, ‘Why?’ and I said, ‘Because an angel told me so.’”
Over a career that lasted 35-plus-year Prince released 39 (Billboard.) His father, a pianist/songwriter, said he gave his son the name Prince “…because I wanted him to do everything I wanted to do.” According to Prince lore, the musician wrote his first song—“Funk Machine”—at the age of 7 on his father’s piano.
Prince Rogers Nelson was born June 7, 1958 and would have been 58 years old on his next birthday.