Thursday, April 21, 2016

Sometimes It Blows In April

It started with "Dirty Mind" and a tight, sweaty and loud concert at The Ritz in NYC. 1981, I believe.  I knew then Prince was going to take on the world. He quickly became an obsession.

"1999" from the third row in Radio City Music Hall in 1983. Of course, "Purple Rain." Awards shows. Bootleg "Black Album." Arguably, one of the finest pop/soul/funk records ever released on four sides in "Sign O'The Times." A long summer time weekend visit to Paisley Park. The soundstage. Touching "the motorcycle." More bootlegs.

"The Gold Experience" and "Emancipation," two underappreciated gems from "the only man who could sing about incest and pussy and make me like it," said I to a couple of hundred people who came through the doors of my shop and had no trouble agreeing with me. An artist and a genius who left more gold on the cutting room floor than your average superstar would ever dream of creating. A rock star. An eccentric. Did I say genius? I'll say it again. Genius.

I won't lie and say I was with him until the end. I wasn't. I thought he lost his way musically, and so I went on mine. That only makes me sadder.

David Bowie and Prince, and too many little big ones in between. 2016 is shaping up to be complete shit. My heart can't take much more.


Shriner said...

I enjoyed his 80s work, but lost interest and the "Hits/B-Sides" comp was enough.

But I took a chance on Plectrumelectrum and the two "HITnRUN" albums that came out last year (after seeing his awesome SNL performance) and they are pretty great.

A true *artist*. And still totally relevant. He'll be missed. Way too soon. *WAY* too soon.

mightymis said...

it's been a shitty year so far, that's for sure.

wardo said...

The Revolution era (1999, Purple Rain, Around The World In A Day, Parade, Sign 'O' The Times) included some of the best rock 'n roll created in my lifetime.

I knew it was gonna be a crappy year when Glenn Frey went so soon after Bowie.

mckee said...

... "the cruelest month"

Prince was a force of nature.

All artists (save Bowie) regardless of their place in the pantheon, eventually geeze out - seem uncool to the younger generation (to use a John Sebastian phrase.)

Not Prince. Prince was cool every day of his life. Every fucking day.

Add that to his other monumental attributes.

This seems impossbile as well as impossibly sad.

loveisthedevil said...

God fucking damn it all to hell!
Damn it! Damn it! Damn it!

Mr. Baez said...

Sometimes it snows in April. Indeed. This is turning into a really horrible year.

Robin said...

To me, he was this wonderful mosaic of a lot of the brilliance that came before him and yet so himself, so innovative, so original and one of the few I think matched what came before him. Another super creative north-Midwestern soul. He was James Brown, Joni, Sgt. Pepper and a Magical Mystery Tour, he was Stevie W, he was George Clinton, Earth Wind & Fire, Jimi, a little Zep, lots of Bowie glam magic and perhaps above that all was Sly and Prince himself.

He had that relationship to spirit, sensuality and charisma that Elvis and Sam Cooke had, and a spiritual path, relationship with God that never wavered, yet the constantly changed in conversation just like Dylan. Important to mention as it was an integral part of his music and life.

Where did he come from this magical creature? What a gift he was. "Delirious" gave me as much joy as "A Hard Day's Night" and that's really saying something.

A fiercely talented guitarist, brilliant (and clever!) songwriter and singer and as someone once said as a performer it was "like seeing Michael J and Bruce at the same time/in the same person". I know he was much more than his 80s work, but wow those records then. And "Little Red Corvette" still stuns me. I feel like a door has been shut, as if the the 80s and those times just left with him. Looking back what a time that was. There is something a bit different when someone who is closer to a peer, even if a bit older, passes, it doesn't hurt more but sometimes feels more personal, at least to me.

For me the combination of Bowie, Prince and Merle Haggard (who is really iconic in country and who wrote truly stunning songs with the same observational power) is overwhelming. Merle was of course getting on, and Bowie younger, Prince just way too young. It's like he was snatched from us. "All the flowers that you planted mama, in the backyard..."

michele said...

Very hard to take....his music holds the memories of our youth and beyond......and then there's Pep in the Cat playing his tunes at the Bottom line......very hard to take....

snakeboy said...

Your last two sentence speak volumes. I said those exact words this afternoon.

Martin Quibell said...

That says everything. Wonderful writing my friend.

I stuck with him for the most part, and there were some hidden gems on those albums form those years.

He was one of a kind. When he wrote really well, he wrote absolute classic songs.

He'll be missed.

Also, yes, it's a shitty year so far for these giants leaving us :'(

A walk in the woods said...

Really enjoyed your comments above, Robin.

Sal, your blog was one of the first I thought of after the news hit, because I know you are a huge Prince fan - as I am, very much so.

Today, I'm flooded with a ton of memories through the years, dating back to 1983 when a kid got on the bus for the high school I was at, and had a cassette of "1999" playing on a Walkman. It was the first time I'd seen a portable music device, and also the first I'd heard of Prince. (I was late to that party.)

From then on, Prince rose to be easily one of my Top 10 artists, and one of the few who wasn't a part of my very early childhood. The thing with Prince is that, if he did NOTHING else but play guitar, he'd be legendary. But he could do so much more - as his solo piano shows in Atlanta showed last week. I live here and am just kicking myself for not paying the big bucks to go see those last two shows.

Then there's his exploration of the place where sexuality and spirituality somehow meet. That's actually some pretty deep stuff, for a pop star!

Really lamenting the fact that he won't be able to make more music now. My only consolation is that now, the floodgates should finally open to his archives. Prince is the only major artist I can think of who has never even had his landmark albums reissued, much less with any bonus tracks.

So now, let the 10-CD version of "Purple Rain" come on - not to mention Lovesexy, Dirty Mind, and especially Sign O The Times - I'm ready to hear it all.

soundsource said...

So I'm just gonna cut and paste what I wrote on my FB page

Ok this is gonna be long and I'm not sure who is going to read the whole thing but I am so shaken by Prince's passing I've got to get this off my chest. I hope I don't offend anyone.
Ok so any of you who know me know that I love music, all kinds soul, funk, country, rock, chill, practically everything. You may know that I've played in lots of bands soul bands, country bands, rock bands etc. and you may know that most Sundays for the last 12 years I've held down the bass chair at 3 different essentially black churches. You may also know I've seen lots of live shows in my day. Jazzfest, The Stones, Marty Stuart, Dwight Yoakam, Allman Brothers, Wilson Pickett, Mavis Staples, Drive By Truckers, Five Blind Boys, Bob Marley, Toots, Booker T etc etc. you get the idea.......everything but 99.% of the time the show is usually a "white act" and maybe some black folk are there or a "black act" and maybe some white folk are there. The shows are always cool and nobody really cares who's there but they are essentially white acts or black acts. No big deal it is what it is. Ok so all of that lengthy preamble leads to this
The only show or music or whatever I've been to where there was absolutely no racial element to be found was at the Prince shows I've seen. I can't explain it but it was the most unified racially mixed but none racial crowd I've ever experienced. Maybe that's why I'm so f**ked up by his passing. I don't know. I just don't know...........I just know I'm incredibly sad tonight.

buzzbabyjesus said...

I'm stunned. From "Dirty Mind" to "Sign O The Times" was quite a run.

A walk in the woods said...

Well put, soundsource. When "Purple Rain" came out, that was basically the last moment when everyone in America was literally singing the same songs, and buying the exact same record.

Mace2theO said...

Thinking of all the discussions we had over the counter.

Thinking of you and Tony pranking me with a fake EP on the wall behnd the counter with all the cool collectables

Thinking about that night we saw him, shouting "Face Down" while 'playin that mf bass'

Thanking you for being my P dealer in the 90s and feeding my habit


Mike said...

If it is true what they say about all his good works outside of the music and celebrity world, that he kept hidden from the press and the rest of us, then he is shaping up to be one of the biggest forces for good and change since FDR or Ghandi. His kind come once in a lifetime and I for one am glad that he touched down in mine. Thank you sweet Prince.

peabody nobis said...

I was brought to tears watching Prince's Super Bowl Halftime show on Youtube. He was truly majestic performing in the midst of a literal monsoon, and had 100,000 people in the palm of his hand.
He was a force of nature, a legendary performer. Seeing "Purple Rain" in the theater in '84 was a magical experience. People loved the music, loved the story, and loved Prince. It was just a wonderous event, not repeated since...
My God, this has been a horrible year...