Entertainment News: Prince, Ending His Purple Reign, Dies at 57

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CHANCHASSEN, Minn. – One of rock’s most legendary and mysterious figures, whose full and real name was Prince Rogers Nelson, died on April 21st, 2016, after paramedics found him unresponsive at his Paisley Park home in Chanchassen, Minnesota. No cause of death has been given. The singer was 57 years old.

Prince was born in 1958, in Minneapolis, and received his royal moniker from his father, Prince Rogers, Sr. (he was a jazz musician, it was a stage name). He showed music aptitude even as a child, and in 1975 he formed the band 94 East with his cousin. Demo tapes resulted in representation at age 17, and led to his debut “For You” on Warner Bros. records in 1978. One year later, the self-titled “Prince” album was the follow up, and yielded his first national exposure with the songs “I Wanna Be Your Lover” and “Why You Want to Treat Me So Bad.”

Prince, During the Time of ‘Purple Rain’
Photo credit: Warner Home Video

Two more notorious albums followed, “Dirty Mind” (1980) and “Controversy” (1981), until his breakthrough came right as MTV was coming into cultural prominence. The album “1999” (1982) became a monster hit, with many memorable early videos on MTV, including the singles “Little Red Corvette,” the title track and “Delirious.” Not to be outdone, Prince moved into films in 1984, and released “Purple Rain” as both a soundtrack and movie. The album is considered one of the greatest in rock history, and yielded the hit singles “When Doves Cry,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” “I Would Die 4 U” (predicting text-speak) and the title track.

Prince stayed prolific throughout the 1980s and ‘90s, with albums “Around the World in a Day” (with the single “Raspberry Beret”), “Parade,” “Dream Factory,” “Sign “O” the Times” and “Lovesexy,” with both his band The Revolution and solo. In 1993, Prince famously changed his name to a symbol, which he dubbed “Love Symbol #2” and would refer to himself as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” (TAFKAP). He returned to the Prince name in 2000, or (as he joked) “The Artist Formerly Known as ‘The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.’”

’1999,’ by Prince and The Revolution
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Records

He entered a period of unprecedented proliferation as the millennium approached and passed by, as albums poured out of him, including notable releases “The Gold Experience” (1995), “Emancipation” (1996), “Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic” (1999), “Musicology” (2004), “3121” (2006), “Plectrumelectrum” (2014) and the “HITnRUN” Phases One and Two (2015). Besides his prodigious output, he also was a spectacular live act, culminating in one of the greatest Super Bowl halftime performances in 2007. He also wrote hit songs for others, among them “Nothing Compares 2 U” for Sinead O’Connor and “I Feel for You” for Chaka Khan.

He made three other films – “Under the Cherry Moon” (1986), “Sign o’ The Times” (1987) and “Graffiti Bridge” (1990), to various critical reactions – but he also never left the cultural zeitgeist, despite his penchant for oddball performance art attempts and a Howard Hughes-sian existence. He was married twice, both ending in divorce, and had one child (Boy Gregory) who died one week after birth. Prince landed his private plane a few days ago, complaining of flu-like symptoms, and had been rumored to be ill, but no cause of death has been released.

There is no better way to end this tribute, except the words of Prince himself…
Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life
Electric word life
It means forever and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here to tell you
There’s something else
The after world
A world of never ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night

Sources for this article from Wikipedia and NewYorkTimes.com. Prince, 1958-2016.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Writer, Editorial Coordinator

© 2016 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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