Saturday, May 7, 2016

Cultural Icons 2: A Purple Hole in Our Hearts

The day after Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett died (we lost them June 25, 2009, and we lost Ed McMahon 2 days earlier) I wrote a piece called "Cultural Icons". It started "....I remember the day Elvis died..."

Its been 2 weeks since the world lost Prince.

2016 has not been kind. Lemmy's death in late December of 2015 seemed to kick off a storm of epic proportions, shattering our days. David Bowie and Glenn Frey and Paul Kantner and Keith Emerson and Merle Haggard the best known of them, but more still.

And then, most unexpectedly, Prince is gone.

Much has been said, and much will be said, and they'll talk of drug addiction and chronic pain and leaving a Last Will & Testament, and much more besides. And maybe someone will go to jail and maybe someone won't and there will certainly be lawsuits aplenty. Over accusations and estates and more still. And mostly, we'll forget all that, along with tidbits about his personal life and his religion, his legal battles and his name changes, just as we'll forget who ran for president and what was happening in politics abroad and who was killing who in what country and on what continent, and why.

We might not even remember the details of his 100+ million albums sold, and his nearly 40 albums in as many years, and his 30-odd top 10 hits (depending on how you count them, and in what country), his Oscar Awards, his Golden Globe Award, his 30-odd Grammy nominations and 7 Grammy wins, and many other accolades, not to mention awards from other countries. We might even forget the songs he wrote for others (from The Bangles to Sheena Easton to Kenny Rogers to The Time and more still).

What we won't forget?

We will remember....His music. Him playing his music. His Royal Badness - sitting at the piano or a mic in hand or guitar slung over his shoulder - ripping out some of the best music of his day. Of OUR days.

"I Wanna Be Your Lover" and "Controversy" and "Do Me, Baby" and "Little Red Corvette" and "1999" and "Let's Go Crazy" and "Purple Rain" and more. "Raspberry Beret" and "Pop Life" and "Kiss" and "Anotherloverholenyohead" and "Sign of the Times" and "U Got the Look" and more still. "Batdance" and "Partyman" and "Thieves in the Temple" and "Gett Off" and "Cream" and "Sexy MF" and we're only into the early 1990s with this list.

"My Name is Prince" to "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" to "I Hate U" to "Musicology" to "Black Sweat" to "Guitar"...and many more still.

We'll remember him from his movies and his concert DVDs and his awards show performances and his late-night TV appearances...and more still.

As we should.

He was with us growing up, through our formative years, our marriages (and divorces), in concert halls and dance clubs, on the radio in our cars, headphones alone in the dark, with our friends at parties. He was with us everywhere, through everything.

And so we didn't know him, but we knew him. And he knew us.

And so...he will continue to be there as he always was for us. And so...we will remember through all of our days.


  1. Agreed! He will always be with us. I don't know what a purple banana is but I'll be looking. :)

  2. I remember the first time I was introduced to him. I was 6 or 7 and my babysitter was obsessed. MTV was on and Doves Cried came on... I was stunned. Prince had transcended normal humanity. To that young child, he was simply a god.

    Though Jerry Garcia's passing hit me the hardest, the loss of Prince was the most shocking. Though I never saw him live, his music continues to push me to be a better guitarist. 2016 is the year of purple...

    1. I always wore purple in honor of Jimi. Now it is honor of Jimi and Prince.

      I might have to paint my main electric guitar purple....