By Adel Saafan
2016 has unfortunately seen a few deaths of music and film figures like David Bowie, Alan Rickman, George Martin and Glenn Frey. To add to the list, now Prince, the music icon, unexpectedly passed away on April 21. As soon as news of his death broke out, people all across the music industry and the world paid their tributes to this musical legend. From Prince Street subway station in New York City being transformed into a memorial, to NASA sending out an image of a purple Crab Nebula, to Snapchat creating a Geofilter with purple raindrops, the tributes continue to pour out as the world mourns the death of The Purple One.
Prince Nile Rodgers was a musical innovator. He wrote, composed and produced his music. At times, he would play all of the instruments on his albums. He was a musical pioneer who created the Minneapolis sound, which mixed funk, rock, pop, synthpop and new wave music. He could make pop songs like Michael Jackson and at the same time play the guitar like he was Jimi Hendrix. He was able to break color barriers and defied racial stereotypes.
Prince was in his own league; he was an electrifying performer who dressed in extravagant costumes and had a mysterious persona. He gained prominence in the ‘80s with numerous successful albums, which included 1999, Sign O’ the Times and the soundtrack to the 1989 Batman film. His most famous work from that time was Purple Rain, which served as a soundtrack to the film of the same name, in which Prince himself acted in and played the lead role.
In the ‘90s, in contract disputes with his label Warner Bros., infamously changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol , also known as the “Love Symbol.” In 2000, he changed his name back to Prince and continued to release albums. Overall, Prince released 39 albums, won 7 Grammys and 1 Oscar, sold over 100 million copies of his albums and had 1 Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Story episode based on him. He influenced artists such as Madonna, Frank Ocean, Miguel, D’Angelo, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, The Weeknd, Alicia Keys and Janelle Monae. His impact is everlasting in the music industry and pop culture. He will be missed and may he rest in peace.