Well, that takes the wind out my funky sails. Prince just died at age 57. The year 2016 continues to be a brutal year for entertainment.
I was a rock and roll fan living in Florida on a visit to Buffalo when I first hear Prince. I was at a party of friends who attended a private school. They were cool. I was not. At some point someone put on Controversy. It was amazing and like nothing I had heard before. "What is this?" I asked. "Prince," was the answer. "It is punk-funk."
Punk-funk? I didn't know either of those terms very well, but I liked it. When I got back to Florida I found the single, and the album. I was hooked.
At college I recall 1999 being released along with The Time and Vanity 6's first albums. This guy Prince was prolific, writing and performing on hit after hit afer hit - for himself and others.
This was soon followed by Purple Rain and the tour. Seeing Prince live was one of those things that became increasingly difficult to do over the years. I got to see two arena shows and was impressed both times.
Rather than keep doing the same thing after, Prince took a left turn and released Around the World in a Day - an album with no singles. I recall the radio stations freaking out the day it came out, not knowing what song they were "supposed" to play - so they played it all for a while.
How about his Black Album - a completed work pulled at the last minute and substituted with an entirely different album, Lovesexy? It was a popular bootleg that eventually got released. Lovesexy was interesting in that it was a CD with only one track. You could start it and listen all the way through, then play it again.
A new Prince disc, for my generation, was a bit like what it must have been like to hear a new Beatles album come out. You knew it would have good stuff, but also that it might not be like anything else you've ever heard. There were quite a few Prince-release listening parties that were held as new material came out.
Prince rocked hard. He was funky. He did religious songs, and love ballads.
He was weird.
Album after album came out. Parade. Sign of the Times. More tours. More changes to the band. Fights with Warner Brothers over who owned the master tapes.
He got married and had a child that died immediately, then got divorced.
More albums. Hating the internet. Hating scalpers.
In the last year he put out at least two and perhaps more albums, started a solo tour around the world, and signed on to pen an autobiography. Then he got the flu. Then he died.
Prince's epic, rumored vault of unreleased material remains. Who knows what might be in there? It could be anything, except for new songs from Prince.
Editor's Note: If you're near a radio this afternoon, Chris is going to be doing a memorial show on WVEW 107.7 FM starting at 3pm today, April 21, 2016. You can also stream it at http://wvew.org.