Me & Prince (1958-2016)

prince bow.png

From today onwards, it will be difficult to mention the colour purple, raspberry beret, doves or even just kiss without reminding myself of Prince who left us 23 hours ago. We go back a long way and in many respects our lives are intertwined.

I was born in 1958, like the man. Michael Jackson was also born in the same year too. My wife agreed on naming our first-born Putra, which is Malay for Prince. He’s now 23. Yes, I’ve been a fan, a huge fan, fanatic even, for about 30 years. My first introduction to Prince were the albums Controversy and Dirty Mind. They completely blew my mind on first listens. That was around 1983. When Purple Rain the movie, the album and the single came out in 1985, I no longer had red blood in my body; it was all purple.

 

The Music

Then, in quick succession, there were all those albums – Sign O The Times, Lovesexy, Graffiti Bridge, 7, etc etc. Heck, in the end, he had 39 albums and those were just the official releases. No artiste or band has come close, I believe. In fact, if you play all of the albums sequentially, non-stop, it’ll probably take you about 2 days to finish!

I love Prince and I always will. You’ve heard this before, but you know, besides singing, he plays a multitude of instruments really, really well – guitar, bass, drums, keys. Never seen him play any wind instruments though.

He’s an accomplished composer – 39 albums, need I say more? In fact, he’s got too many, he ‘lent’ many of his songs away – to Sinead O’Connor, The Bangles, Madonna, Chaka Khan, Parliament/Funkadelic, Kenny Rogers (yes, go google it!), The Time, Tevin Campbell… well, you get the idea.

He could play the whole gamut of musical styles from funk through R&B, rock and roll, hard rock, jazz and heart-tugging ballads in the same show, all seamlessly. And guess what, he doesn’t even read music! BTW, you should check-out the much under-rated jazz album, The Rainbow Children.

His musical prowess is the stuff of legends – other living legends have come to the fore in praise of this little big man, today and before – Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger, George Clinton, Eric Clapton etc. He’s the legends’ legend.

Now he could play all this stuff as a one-man band, as in the ‘Piano & Microphone’ Tour, or as a 4-piece outfit, like the 3rdEyeGirl in 2014/2015 or bigger configurations – remember The Revolution, The New Power Generation?

There were a number of his albums where he did EVERTYHING or almost – composing, arranging, producing and playing all the instruments – Dirty Mind, Controversy, Purple Rain, Lovesexy, Sign O The Times. To me his best works were when he did just that – everything!

Aside from his melodic and rhythmic skills in song-writing, the poetic side of the man is somewhat under-appreciated. He had a way with words and poetry which added colour and imagery to his tunes – ‘The Ballad of Dorothy Parker’ from ‘Sign O The Times’ is a perfect example of this. See bottom of this post for a sampler.

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The Showman

Then, there’s Prince the showman. And he was a showman extraordinaire. On stage, although some of his moves were, I’m sure, rehearsed, many were ad-libbed. One of my favourites was from the SOTT video where he was singing and playing the guitar on a huge speaker and he jumped to the floor and did a split and just continued singing and playing without missing the proverbial beat. You MUST see that. Betcha even James Brown couldn’t do that!

And, there’s Prince the bandleader. He could make the whole band go this way or that way with the subtlest of cues and it worked all the time. This side of him reminded me of George Clinton and Frank Zappa, where Prince was the ‘conductor’, rather than a musician.

And I haven’t even touched on his carefully-crafted image of Prince, the brand, which was continuously evolving – the hair, the clothes, the guitar, and even the name! And the image of the bands too.

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Then, there were those impossible-looking ladies. Appollonia, Vanity, Sheila E, Wendy & Lisa, 3rdEyeGirl…

I could write a 500-page book on Prince and it still would not do justice to the enormous amount of work that he has put into the craft. I won’t do that – there’s a lot for you to chew on already on the Internet.

Suffice to say that Prince Rogers Nelson had been my No.1 favourite musician, entertainer, showman for about 30 years. Nothing compared to him, then, now and probably ever. Perhaps I could say “I Can Never Take The Place of Your Man”. Today was a very hard day for me. I’ve shed more tears than I’ve had for family, which frankly I didn’t quite understand. I didn’t even know Prince and he didn’t know me!

I’m just glad that I managed to see him on the ‘Piano & Microphone’ Tour in Perth less than 2 months ago. If I hadn’t, I would be even more devastated. I should also add that I travelled 4,000km just to see the show!

Well, Mr Nelson, the finality of death sucks for the ones left behind. But from Him we’ve come, to Him we shall all return. ‘I Wish You Heaven’. Thank you, Prince.

If you have time, check-out this beautiful poetry below.

 

The Ballad of Dorothy Parker

dorothy.png

Dorothy was a waitress on the promenade
She worked the night shift
Dishwater blonde, tall and fine
She got a lot of tips

Well, earlier I’d been talkin’ stuff
In a violent room
Fighting with lovers past
I needed someone with a quicker wit than mine
Dorothy was fast

Well, I ordered, “Yeah, let me get a fruit cocktail, I ain’t to hungry”
Dorothy laughed
She said “Sounds like a real man to me”
“You’re kinda cute, you want to take a bath?
(Do you want to, do you want to, bath)

Awh I said “Cool, but I’m leaving my pants on” (she say)
“‘Cause I’m kind of going with someone”
She said “Sounds like a real man to me”
“Mind if I turn on the radio?”
“Oh, my favorite song” she said
And it was Joni singing “Help me I think I’m falling”

Brrring the phone rang and she said
“Whoever’s calling can’t be as cute as you”
Right then I knew I was through
(Dorothy Parker was cool)

My pants where wet, they came off
But she didn’t see the movie
‘Cause she hadn’t read the book first

Instead she pretended she was blind
An affliction brought on by a witch’s curse
Dorothy made me laugh (ha ha)
I felt much better so I went back
To the violent room (tell us what you did)
Let me tell you what I did

I took another bubble bath with my pants on
All the fighting stopped
Next time I’ll do it sooner
This is the ballad of Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker
Sweet hoo hoo ooo
Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker
Well
Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker
Well, ohh, well, aohh

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About yazidatan

Can I get back to you on this?
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