Today I was told in the hallway where I worked that the famous musician/producer Prince had died today. My initial reaction was that of when I heard about Michael Jackson or Robin Williams passing. The first time I ever heard of Prince was when I was a teenager in the seventies. There was talk about this new artist who was only 16 years old and could play multiple instruments. When Prince’s debut album finally came out, we all were so impressed because he did live up to all of our expectations. Over the years, Prince is the only musician that I know that has stood the test of time. He protested the big record companies that attempted to control him. Even when it seemed that he had lost the battle, he still was able to make a statement, like when the year he changed his name to a ‘symbol’.
Musically, I found it hard to categorize his music. Some songs would be R&B ballads or songs that had a Rock edge to it. Just when you think you had him figured out he would come out with a song such as ‘When Doves Cry’. This song musically is simple but it is amazing because the only instruments on the record are just drums, keyboards, and guitar. His musical ideas went beyond what everyone else was trying to accomplish. I truly believe that Michael Jackson couldn’t even touch the genius of Prince.
We all marveled at him because Prince would inadvertently show up unannounced at smaller venues to do a set of his music. I was also right there when Prince made his movie debut on the big screen in the film ‘Purple Rain’. Prince appeared to be larger than life when I saw that movie. His other films didn’t do well, but Purple Rain propelled him right into the universe! My only one criticism of him is that I didn’t like the sexual illicit lyrics. I read somewhere that he had professed to be a Christian but if so, I could understand why he would go there when his music alone was able to stand on its own merit.
My heart is sad when someone passes away. What makes this news sad is that Prince and Michael Jackson were just only 1 year older than I am when they passed away. To be rational about this I understand that people that have had a history battling health issues due to depression, drugs or alcohol, usually don’t live long lives. In the long run, it will eventually catch up with you. Trust me, I am in no way making that the case about Prince. In reality, I know we all want our heroes to be the role models that we want them to be. I clearly remember the breaking news about one of my heroes, Lance Armstrong. I was a big fan of who I believed to be the greatest athlete in the world! This man overcame testicular cancer and staged a huge comeback to win the Tour De France seven times! After a big international investigation, it was determined that in fact Lance Armstrong had cheated by using performance-enhancing drugs to win those races. I was emotionally crushed. That man represented integrity, courage and a willingness to never quit.
So just like the rest, you can bet the networks will pay homage to Prince’s music and celebrate his incredible career as a musician, producer and family man. This man was truly an incredible musician. As a believer, I can only hope that canadian roulette he can stand before God honorably. I have never seen a ‘U-haul’ being pulled to a grave site. God has given us all the gift of life. It is what we decide to with it that really matters to last a lifetime.
By Sgt. Roy