Prince (1958–2016) was the biggest thing out of Minneapolis since Pillsbury first marketed their gooey cake mix. His sudden death whilst locked inside a lift which was playing soul-sucking muzak has been put down to irony by the local police.
The son of King "Kid" Creole and Queen Latifah, Prince (full name Prince Purple Pants-Rodgers Horatio Nelson) grew up to 5 foot 2 inches. His musical output was prestigious, his sexual conquests only limited by his size requirements. He made sure he always wore the taller boots. Prince showed early his music talents, playing all the instruments because he was unable to make friends with anyone else.
Prince claimed his first and only love (after himself) was music, but this isn't true. He had an unrequited love affair with basketball but that game rejected him when he failed to grow to the minimum Magic Johnson height. Spurned, Prince threw himself into music and convinced himself that his father wasn't Kid Creole but a mix of Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix—with a dash of Michael Jackson thrown in. He grew a mustache and kept it when all others abandoned them, thinking it made them look like a porn actor, a child molester, or the man who turns up on a doorstep to sell life insurance.
First albums: no buyers
Emerging out of local music scene that was then mainly hillbilly-bluegrass-Elvis Presley in taste, Prince's band was a million miles away from hair rock. Unusually his group was mixed sexed (as well as cross racial barriers) which confused those who were into identity politics and culture. Was Prince black and if so, where was Diana Ross?
In 1978 Prince released his first album, For You-Hoo which he promoted wearing a furry thong. It was this image that encouraged the myth that his fans (male and female) mailed their freshly cut pubic hair to the singer which he kept in a barrel. When he was ready to go on stage and to "get the mood", Prince would jump in the barrel and then go on stage. He eventually stopped doing this when USA FDA (Follicles and Dandruff Administration) objected to this part of Prince's stage act.
The singer then churned out three more albums before hitting pay dirt with 1999 and a Dollar, an album which predicted the date when he moved from music danger to circus act. The next album Purple Raincoat (a rip on Purple Haze) was turned into a film. Prince played Prince but Prince was unhappy with that performance. He made sure that if he went in front of the camera again, he would shoot, direct, crank up the generator and turn on the wind machine all by himself. The result of this self confidence was seen in his next film Under the Cherry Coke Moon. The audiences loved it, they stayed away as it was the cooler thing to do.
If Americans thought Prince was too weird, the rest of the world (except China) embraced the little man like a long-lost sex toy. Not content in writing his own songs, Prince successfully foisted on other artists tunes he thought were sub-par. He would also insist that the artist would have to agree to an image change. This is why Scottish songstress Sheena Easton went full dirt with her rendition of Sugar glaze My Walls and Sinead O'Connor shaved her head for Nothing Compares Prince to You.
By the 1990s Prince was unhappy with his record company Warble Brothers. He refused to answer to anyone who called out "Prince" to him and abandoned the Latin alphabet with an adaptation of Egyptian hieroglyphs for all future communications. He became known as the Artist Formerly Known As Prat (AFKAP) to Squiggle My Symbol and in 1993 faked his own death. By the time everyone understood what was going on, Prince's music reputation went into nose dive. Despite all the songs and albums released, his fans just asked for his 80s hits and told him to bin the rest.
By the turn of 2000 Prince (he finally went back to that name) was cited by musicians and clothes horses everywhere as "an inspiration". No one had a bad word about him or allege he was into anything off-camera that was reprehensible. He even got married (twice) but had no surviving children.
Prince's inability to come up with anything to rival his golden years seems not to have fazed him. He toured, sometimes he dropped into people's kitchens and bathrooms and sing for two hours but then he would retreat to Paisley Park, his Neverland without the kids and funfair and disappear for weeks inside his studio. This activity has lead to people to speculate that Prince has a 1000 years of musical albums that can be released on an annual basis until 3000. Or the archives may be just him goofing around and singing in funny voices. There is also a rumour that Prince had recently built a tomb where he would be buried with his music like a latter day Tutankhamen. A future Howard Carter and Earl of Carnarvon would then stumble on the boy genius (okay, middle-aged genius) and his career would take off again.
Prince was found dead inside his personal lift. It was new, but a technical glitch meant it was playing downmarket Muzak rather than any of his own music. Is this what killed him?