If you are reading this, it means you are on the internet, so surely you have heard the terrible news that yesterday morning Prince died.
While I would love to write something that can frame this, I can’t. There are many people writing many things about Him and His Career that are going to be more comprehensive and better researched. Someone else will have to write about the universal. All I can offer as I try to process it is a personal view.
Sure, I knew about Prince in the 80s. I grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis. I had MTV. But it wasn’t until high school and the release of the Symbol Album that I really got into Prince. I can thank, in no small part, my friend Dan for that. I think specifically after we went to his grandma’s house and on a small end table in the upstairs hallway was an MTV Music Video Award. While I don’t recall the specifics on the placard, I do recall three things about it: It was awarded to Prince. The little flag came out. It was oddly chintzy. Then the Symbol Album came out and it was massive. We listened to that album a lot. There was no small amount of humor/delicate treading around which version of “Sexy M.F.” (edited or not) you could play and around whom. In college the impact of Prince intensified. The first young woman who was interested in me as a young man was way into Prince. I could easily listen to his back catalog at the campus radio station (and did, a lot, late at night). In a rare instance of being caught on the back foot, a woman I was getting to know called my radio show at said station and requested “Erotic City”, which I wasn’t familiar with. She said “You should play that for me. Just for me.”. She called with the same request the next week. I was flattered and excited by this clever approach in a way that only young man can be excited. Prince was there for some of my most intimate moments. Flash forward a few years. Dan and I again. Working retail in Roseville, MN. We used to take extended breaks on flimsy pretexts because that is the kind of crew we had at the store. We bought “Crystal Ball” when it came out on one of those breaks. He also brought back “Sign O’ The Times” for me on a day when he got to run out and I had to stay and work. In ’98, along with a couple of coworkers, Dan and I went to the “Jam of the Year” concert to support the album “Emancipation” [which I had gotten for Christmas from my soon to be in-laws, and listened to end to end as I drove through a raging slush storm between Pipestone and Luverne, MN, trying to get home…] at Target Center. Technically our seats were behind the stage, but since there was no obstruction, what we really had were randomly awesome seats. Flash forward two more years. Of course I made a mix tape to play when I proposed to my wife and of course I started crying when “Forever In My Life” came on. In 2000, Mary (my wife) bought me the best birthday present ever. Prince went from the Unpronounceable Symbol back to being Prince and he hosted tours and parties at Paisley Park to celebrate, and she got tickets for that. I’ve seen the basketball court where Charlie Murphy got dunked on. This tour included a show at Northrup Auditorium that was amazing, chocked full of special guests, and almost 4 hours long. Prince, his persona, his music, his identity as a Minnesotan, his love of purple (which I endorse as the sexiest color hands down) has been a recurrent thread in the tapestry of my previous quarter century. There is more to say but I can’t say it.
This week’s mix can’t possibly contain all the Prince songs that matter. It also isn’t a run at “greatest hits”. This is a mix for those who want to listen to Prince today.
Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents… Purple Majesty, Originally mixed the week of 4.22.16
NOTE: New “The Funkomaticjamatron Presents…” podcasts are generally posted on Fridays. The show archives are around ten shows deep. Beyond that, if the link isn’t active, the mix has been deleted to make way for new material.
Jam Of The Year
Feel U Up
All the Critics Love You In London
(Ever wonder what that backward part of Darling Nikki said?)