News has broken about the passing of Prince Rogers Nelson, famously known as Prince, the singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and actor with controversial edge. He died at 57 years old and according to TMZ--who reported the artist's death--he was found at his Paisley Park compound Thursday morning.
Prince had been reported about battling health problems--even cancelled shows due to health concerns. However, he still managed to make appearances including a dance party at his Paisley Park mansion, to which he ensured to the public he was okay. Most recently, he was admitted into the hospital after fighting the flu for multiple weeks.
Hailing from Minneapolis, Prince made his mark as a music icon and accumulated various accomplishments throughout his career. These include seven Grammys--Best Rock Performance by Duo or Group with Vocal in 1985 for "Purple Rain." And who could forget his Super Bowl performance in 2007?
Prince's first few musical offerings sparked controversy. He debuted in 1978 with For You and is well-remembered for his nude photo strumming a guitar for "Soft and Wet." Dirty Mind came in 1980 with songs such as "Head," about oral sex, and "Sister," about incest.
His fifth album, 1999, was released in 1982 and put him on the musical map. It went Platinum and spawned Top 10 singles "Delirious" and "Little Red Corvette." Stardom then came with his 1984 Purple Rain, which spent 24 weeks at the top of pop charts and sold over 10 million copies. Hit singles include: "When Doves Cry," "Let's Go Crazy," "Purple Rain," "I Would Die 4 U" and "Take Me With You."
In November of 1999, Music Connection had the exclusive opportunity to speak with The Artist, formerly known as Prince. Writer Wayne Edwards sat down with the star, in person, in the living room of his hotel suite, 47 floors above a busy mid-Manhattan.
They spoke of his new album, Rave, produced by Prince, with mention of an upcoming Rave tour as well. This was stated as his grand return with his first major label album in years.
The music industry is coming together to offer their sentiments towards the fallen star:
"Our GRAMMY® family is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of seven-time GRAMMY Award winner Prince. Today, we remember and celebrate him as one of the most uniquely gifted artists of all time. Never one to conform, he redefined and forever changed our musical landscape. Prince was an original who influenced so many, and his legacy will live on forever. We have lost a true innovator and our sincerest condolences go out to his family, friends, collaborators, and all who have been impacted by his incredible work." -Neil Portnow, President/CEO, The Recording Academy
“In a year that has already brought the devastating losses of music luminaries such as David Bowie, George Martin, Merle Haggard, Natalie Cole, Glenn Frey, Maurice White, and Keith Emerson, Music Biz is once again deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Prince. He was a totally unique, iconic artist and brilliant innovator. Over the course of his four-decade career, Prince racked up 16 Top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 (including four #1s), 19 Top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 (including five #1s), and a whopping 16 Platinum albums, including the incomparable 13x-Platinum Purple Rain. These numbers are impressive, but frankly, his true impact is completely immeasurable. We send our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and fans around the world. His legacy should inspire future generations to break down the barriers of formula and embrace a spirit of musical invention.” -James Donio, President, Music Business Association (Music Biz)
“MTV is heartbroken and in utter disbelief at the news that the world has lost Prince Rogers Nelson so suddenly and so before his time. Prince was a once-in-a-lifetime artist who transcended every medium and genre he touched and created music with a passion and individuality that inspired multiple generations. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family, friends and millions of fans.”
In addition, MTV will honor the life and career of musical icon Prince, MTV will change its logo to purple for the entire day. MTV and MTV2 will air a dedicated block of his most influential music videos today beginning at 1:55pm ET. MTV Live will air videos at 3:00pm. Additionally, interstitials will run on-air throughout the day which will include interviews from the legend himself, behind-the-scenes MTV moments and more.
Lastly, Prince left us with these thoughts on his artistry in our 1999 cover story:
"Once you buy into the notion of having to stay current, you have to accept all that comes with it. If I go into the studio thinking I've got to create a hit, I'm locking myself into a box before I even get started."
"Do I need a hit record? Let's be real. Hit records translate to income, so they're always nice to have. But do I really need one? Does my existence hinge on me having one? Of course not."
Prince Rogers Nelson - June 7, 1958 - April 21, 2016