The Purple ‘Reign’ ends; Prince mourned

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The Purple ‘Reign’ ends; Prince mourned

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“Baby, you’re a star.” Prince Rogers Nelson died Thursday April 21, 2016, age 57, in Chanhassen, Minnesota. His cause of death is currently being investigated.

Prince has been difficult to classify into one musical genre since the beginning of his music career in 1976. However, Jon Pareles of the New York Times described him as, “a master architect of funk, rock, R&B and pop.” He was a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist who played bass, drums, guitar, keyboards, percussion and synthesizer. On his first five albums, he played nearly all of these instruments, and on his debut album, “For You,” he played 27.

He harnessed “new-generation synthesizer sounds in service of the groove,” the LA Times reported on the contribution of his instrumentals to his style.

Since Prince’s passing, musicians, fans and celebrities have made an outpouring of tributes to the late musician. At the music festival Coachella, musicians such as Ellie Goulding, LCD Soundsystem, Sufjan Stevens and Usher covered Prince, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival had dedication songs played by Pearl Jam and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. A jazz funeral, a parade that both mourns death and celebrates life, may also be held in New Orleans in Prince’s honor,  And from celebrities, an epitath from Whoopi Goldberg: “This is what it sounds like when doves cry.”

Other tributes have appeared on Broadway and television. Saturday Night Live dedicated an hour long episode to Prince, and MTV played music videos reminiscent of the time when Prince first broke into the music industry. Here in St. Louis, the arch displayed bright purple lights to honor Prince. The Broadway casts of “Hamilton” and “The Color Purple” also paid tribute. Prince’s former band, the Revolution, has discussed having a reunion tour as well.

In life as well as death, Prince was recognized for his music. He was nominated for 33 Grammys, winning seven, including Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal; Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media; Best R&B Song; Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal; Best Male R&B Performance; and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance. Also, he was nominated for 12 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) and won for “Raspberry Beret” (Best Choreography in a Music Video), “U Got the Look” (Best Male Video and Best Stage Performance in a Music Video), and “Cream” (Best Dance Video).

Outside of music, Prince also was a player in the world of motion pictures, as an actor and a director. Prince acted in “Purple Rain” and directed and acted in the movies “Under the Cherry Moon,” “Sign o’ the Times,” and “Graffiti Bridge,” and made special appearances in the television shows “Muppets Tonight” and “New Girl.”

As we listen to our old Prince albums and records, or decide to listen to him for the first time, death makes a few things apparent. We should appreciate those we love in life, including friends, family, mentors and artists. Although their influence may live on in their legacy, we should not wait until people’s death to honor them. The outpouring of love that humans are capable of is best given when they can still share it with each other.