With the death of rock superstar Prince late last week, I reflect on the passing of another well-regarded musician, this time one whose music I am not so familiar with.
I am not in much of a position to comment on the passing of Prince, who died late last week at the age of 57, or more precisely on his music, as (shamefully), similar to Michael Jackson prior to his death, I didn’t actually know very much of his work. With Jackson I realised I already knew and liked his main hits without ever having previously been aware that they were his, and I then only really became acquainted with his back-catalogue after his death.
With Prince, however, the situation is different again. Aside from ‘Purple Rain’ and ‘1999’, I knew none of his other songs until a few days ago, and am only now starting to stumble across and leaf my way through some of his other well-known tracks. Admittedly this may in part be due to the fact that the artist was notorious for not letting big companies like Spotify or YouTube have access to his music, and so I perhaps couldn’t have easily found his music even if I wanted to. But also, he was just one of those artists which, growing up, I never came across. David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, yes, but not Prince.
Having felt so strange on Bowie’s death in January, him being a musician whose music I was much more familiar with, I can completely identify with the sorrow fans feel at the moment. I can recall being in vague shock and disbelief for around a day after the news broke regarding the Thin White Duke. Similarly with Prince now, and with Michael Jackson in 2009, it is difficult to believe that certain figures from popular culture are no longer with us. However, I feel as though the almost world-shattering disorientation which some have attested to, at the loss of someone whose music has meant so much to them, has not happened with me yet. That is, no doubt, to come at some point in my life, with bands and musicians of my own generation. I should hope, though, that that will not be for a while yet.
However, in the meantime that is immaterial. Rest in peace, Prince. I am sorry that your music has not been on my radar before now. I only hope that, as you seemed to do with so many different styles of music throughout your life and career, I can pick it up now. The man himself may no longer be with us, but the beat goes on. The reign of the musician they call The Purple One will doubtless continue.