Today Prince Rogers Nelson of Minneapolis turned 54. He's one of those few celebrates whom I actually am curious as to how he spends his birthdays for some reason. There's always been something captivating to me about Prince. I haven't seen anyone in my lifetime who has been able to created such an elaborate universe surrounding himself. Not only that but the music he makes is not only fully under his control but is so distinctive. It all comes from already established sources from funk,pop,soul,jazz,blues and rock n roll but somehow it's always this Prince sound. That Minneapolis sound as it was called at it's most popular. So how did Prince and his music first enter my life? And what piqued my interest?
My first exposure to Prince was in 1984. My mom had a 45 record of "When Doves Cry" but it was it's B-side "17 Days" with it's slow,warped percussion and bassline I kept wanting to hear. This is where I got to understand this was a musical artist somewhat different than others. Than came "Kiss" a couple years later. Than...no Prince for a decade until his 'Emancipation' came out. I got very caught up as so many did in the more celebrity aspects of his persona. His fight with Warner Bros.,changing his name to a wordless symbol and so on. After listening to 'Emancipation'...well from than on I explored his entire discography and every new Prince related album that came out I was interested.
Prince continues to both excite and frustrate me creatively. But that is part of who he is. At once highly spiritual and sexually free,both socially radical and reactionary Prince is so defined by his astrology even he has had to realize it. He is still touring today,surprising audiences with his almost boundless energy and persona that seems full of endless surprises. You never know if he'll begin his music career or...retire to a far away country to become a monk. His unpredictability makes him personally puzzling but creatively...astounding frankly. And you really don't get this effect from one or two songs. You only do when you listen to one or two Prince albums. As Dickens wrote from the point of Scrooge,there's more to gravy than of grave about Prince.