Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prince Rogers Nelson 1958-2016

The musical artist known as Prince, whose full name appears in the post title, was found dead earlier today at his Paisley Park compound in Chanhassen, Minnesota.  He was 57.  He had recently been suffering health problems, including an episode which forced his private plane to make an emergency landing.

Prince was born to parents who were racially mixed and musically talented.  He could play several instruments, recording most if not all the instruments on many of his albums.  Although often marketed as a solo artist, he also fronted bands called The Revolution and The New Power Generation.  By combining influences from rock, R&B and new wave, Prince helped to create the Minneapolis sound.   In 1984, he starred in the movie Purple Rain and won an Oscar for its soundtrack.  As a result of a dispute with his record label, Warner Bros., he changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol in 1993, reverting back to his given name in 2000.

Read more at Billboard, Entertainment Weekly, CNN, The New York Times and TMZ.

In 1982, Prince released the album 1999.  On the title song, the lead vocals bounce around between Lisa Coleman, Jill Jones, guitarist Dez Dickerson, and Prince himself.

The Purple Rain soundtrack includes When Doves Cry, which features Wendy Melvoin on lead guitar and Matt Fink on lead synthesizer.  At this time, Prince's band was known as The Revolution, and also included Lisa Coleman on keyboards and vocals, Mark Brown on bass and vocals, and Bobby Z on drums.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find any version of the video that shows any of them performing, or even of my favorite song from that movie, Let's Go Crazy.

In 1991, Prince and The New Power Generation released the single Cream, from the album Diamonds and Pearls.  The song starts at about the 2-minute mark.

Besides working with Prince, The New Power Generation also released albums on their own.

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