Prince Has Been Gone 5 Years, And I Still Miss Him
I remember where I was on April 21st, 2016, the morning Prince was found dead at Paisley Park.
I was sitting in a love seat in my living room. I just arrived home from work and it seemed to be a day like any other. My phone rang and I got the news that Prince was dead. I could not believe it. I had to check the internet and turn on the TV and the radio. All of them said Prince had passed.
Prince Rogers Nelson was born on June 7, 1958, in Minneapolis, to musicians Mattie Shaw and John Nelson. When I was a kid he was already an Icon to me. I was a musician and a writer, and all I would hear from people is that I didn't have a chance, no one from Minnesota makes it. Here was this guy that was winning awards in Minnesota and was getting songs on the radio. When Little Red Corvette came on the radio it was like he broke the ceiling for Minnesota music.
Little did I know Bob Dylan and others had already done it. I didn't know them, I knew Prince. He was a city kid that came from nothing and played all his own instruments and produced his own music. He was my idol! These were things I was doing. If he can do it, I can.
Purple Rain came out in theaters. I had been waiting for this. I had been reading that Prince was starring in a movie that was about him, and shot in Minnesota. The song When Doves Cry had been on the radio for a few weeks and I was anticipating this movie. I went and was not disappointed. He had written the perfect music, it was a great story, and he was great at it.
I came out of the movie crying with joy, Prince showed everyone that Minnesota was great!! At least that is what I thought. Over the next few weeks, I think I personally supported that movie. I took my girlfriend at least 5 times, took relatives, friends, had Prince movie nights where I talked groups of people into going. I must have seen the movie at least 50 times.
I was in an airband of the group THE TIME. We needed the movie to learn the parts, so I bought the movie for $69.95. I didn't want to rent it, I wanted to support Prince. Besides, there wasn't a copy anywhere to rent. (Back then movies were more expensive so that the rental places could make their money.) We learned the song and got the gold and silver jackets.
As years passed, he became more than just my childhood idol. I discovered as I got older just how good he was and how hard it was to do what he does and yet he made it so easy. Around The World In A Day came out and everyone panned it, but I loved it. Parade, Lovesexy, Sign Of The Times, and many others. He kept changing his sound and look and I just gave him more credit toward being a genius.
The Super Bowl came with Prince playing halftime. It was like a movie, as another moment to show the world how great he was. He never let me down, he took that Minnesota work ethic everywhere he went. The guitar solo he played at the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame for George Harrison's While My Guitar Gently Weeps, had other Hall of Famers drooling and dumbfounded at how good he was.
In his last tour, he stripped down his music to only a piano and him. His songs were so good, that's all he needed to show how great he was and how good his music was. I heard on the news Prince had some stops along the way to treat his hip which had begun to show the wear and tear of the road and all his physical performances.
My friends in the industry said what was being told the public was not true that Prince was in so much pain he may have taken too much of his pain reliever. I had heard at that time that he was struggling with opioid addiction.
Then, the fateful day. April 21st, 2016. The news the Prince had passed away due to his pain drug. I cried so hard. I lost my idol to something stupid. I lost my brother in music. I lost one of my inspirations. I lost one of the greatest human beings in my life.
Now, I have kept up on all my Prince music, buying the special versions that come out. I can't wait to hear what he did and valued it so much he kept it in a vault. It keeps him alive in my mind and makes me think of when I was a kid. Prince will always be King to me. In 2016, the year he died, his estate sold more albums that year than any artist had, living or dead.
Listen to KOOL 101.7 as we honor Prince with his music all day.
Minnesota Musicians Who Have Made An Impact