Friday, April 22, 2016

Gut Punched

I was driving home from doing some errands last Saturday and "Delirious" came on the oldies station. I cranked it up. As the song played, I thought how happy Prince's music made me feel. "Delirious" has a lot going on in it. It's definitely rock and funk, but there's also some scatting and maybe a bit of jazz. I also get a kick out of how Prince pronounces "deliri-OHS". Then my mind clicked on Michael Jackson and how both he and Prince reached the peak of their fame around the same time. I thought it was rather unfair how Jackson was labeled a genius, yet Prince never was. I thought, well, Michael Jackson died young because his life was so messed up, so there was something to say for being "normal", because Prince was still alive and still creating.

I don't believe in prescience. I wasn't thinking about Merle Haggard right before he died. I chalk the whole episode in the car up to a weird coincidence. Yesterday I was half-listening to a news channel through my ear buds as I worked, and the host announced that there was a report of a death at Paisley Park. My stomach dropped.

I am not a Minnesotan -- I live in Minnesota, but I'm not from here, The people I work with are Minnesotans, and wow, the grief. Everyone in my office had to get up out of their chairs and go find someone, someone to help them sort out the news. My cubicle neighbor's sister went to high school with Prince. Minneapolis is a big, yet small town. Minnesotans claimed Prince, sheltered him. They were proud of the fact that the local boy who hit it big didn't take leave for LA or some other bigshot city. Prince stayed, he went to local clubs, he sometimes gave impromptu performances at those clubs and sometimes he just sat in the audience and enjoyed the show -- you know, like a real person would. Last night there was a street party in front of First Avenue, the club where Prince got his start. Thousands spilled into the street and danced and sang Prince songs. They had a good time -- just like Prince always urged people to do, through his music. He had to be a joyous man -- just listen to his songs. He wasn't filled with angst. Besides, angst is over-rated. Life should be joyous. It usually isn't, but maybe that's where Prince came in. He brought us something we were sorely missing.

This is my first post in which I can't share video of the artist. Oh, there are a few performance videos out there, those with fellow musicians, but Prince was very firm that he would control his music, and so YouTube doesn't have any of the real stuff. I think I even complained about that once in a post, that he shouldn't be so stingy -- he should share his creations with us. I'm okay with his decision now. Yes, I'd love to watch some of his work, but I can still listen.

Somebody tweeted something about how people shouldn't always try to relate an artist who's passed away with themselves. Well, why wouldn't we? Isn't that what music does? Plays the soundtrack of our lives? So, I am going to relate Prince's music to my life. I'm obviously not in the target demographic for his music. I wasn't a teenager in the eighties, but I did have teenagers, and thus MTV was a big presence in our home. You know how much I love eighties rock. Prince was a huge part of that. I bought the Purple Rain album (yes, album) and "When Doves Cry" has always touched me. I, even at my advanced age, thought Prince was cool. And who wouldn't? He was cool. He was unique. When one of his music videos came on the tube, one couldn't take their eyes off the screen. I also appreciated that he didn't seem like a jerk -- like he was condescending to perform for us little people. No, he just loved what he was doing and he wanted us all to join him.

I love the following Prince tracks:

  • When Doves Cry
  • Purple Rain
  • Raspberry Beret
  • 1999
  • Let's Go Crazy
  • Delirious
  • and others I can't think of at the moment
I also really like this particular song that he wrote:

And, of course, this video played nonstop on MTV:


So, I guess I got to include a couple of music videos after all.

My home is a scant seventeen miles from Paisley Park. Thousands of people tonight are there paying tribute. I would never go. I don't want more sadness; I'm already feeling that enough. I would have gone to the street party, though, if I wasn't embarrassingly old.

But here are a few pictures of how my new hometown paid tribute to their hometown boy:

Shoot, we're going to miss you, Prince. Too, too soon.

Too soon.

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