Purple Reign. Prince: 1958 - 2016
Music is what he was, and music was what he did, and he did that better than damn near anyone ever has. Talk to me about Mozart, preach about Miles, sing the praises of Elvis or Michael or Bowie or Beethoven… Prince was a man touched by God. Glory glory, hallelujah, and Amen Un2 the Joy Fantastic.
Prince Rogers Nelson, born in Minneapolis in 1958, was tragically found dead there at Paisley Park in April at the age of 57. In the time we were blessed with his presence on Earth, the musician created works of art so beautiful, so breathtaking, so universally admired, that the man… Prince, himself, the human vessel through which that otherworldly talent flowed for so many years… was simply unable to endure the adulation the world gave him in return. He retreated from fame. He changed his name, scrawled “Slave” on his face, and tried to hide. He built a white castle for himself there in Chanhassen, Minnesota. He stayed away from prying eyes and rarely emerged, except to play his music. He lived and worked there in his castle, always recording, a creature of the studio, transcribing his inimitable purple genius into notes and phrases and brilliant albums which he presented to us common folk like Moses just come down from the mountain.
I saw him once, and when he stepped onto that stage in Louisville, when he plugged in that guitar and felt the power begin to flow, he showed us all what it means to be alive. To love. To kick up our platform heels and dance, and push away death. To play and sing and laugh and, most of all, to rejoice. He was purple rain, he was lovesexy, he was dearly beloved we have gathered here today to get through this thing called Life.
He sang about sex and he sang about God, and he sang about love. He was vulgar and devout and ageless and beautiful.
And now he is gone. But the music, and the message, remain.