Prince to be remembered for many things

When the death of Prince, the 57-year-old American musician and entertainer from Minnesota, was announced recently, tributes from President Obama to Sunday morning’s Meet The Press TV show started pouring down for him like a steady rain. Purple Rain, you might say if you are a Prince fan, a nod to his most famous song with that name.

Prince was a prolific music composer, lyricist and producer over the past 40 years and he was also a gifted musician who could play several instruments such as the piano and guitar. Those who knew him said he went to work each day and produced music like you and I work at our jobs.

He also won an Oscar Award for Best Original Song Score for the movie Purple Rain.

He made a name for himself very early on in the 1980s with some outrageously provocative lyrics and music much like Madonna did and a lot of others in those days. Someone must have told these young musicians and artists that in order to be successful, you have to be unique and different because that’s what a lot of them did at the time.

Prince was unique and different, that’s for sure. Along the way, he wrote, produced and performed some of the most memorable music of the 1980s. My favorite song of his is “Little Red Corvette’’ and I also like some others - 1999 (from 1982) and Raspberry Beret.

For rock music historians, Prince will also go down in the record books for standing up to, and winning, the right for artists to own their own music. Before Prince stood up to the record labels, artists (believe it or not) didn’t own their own musical creations – the record label companies that mass-produced the music for sale - in the name of the artist -actually owned the music.

When Prince changed his name to a symbol, a lot of people thought that was strange - and it was - but he did that during his legal battle with the record label companies. They said that by contract they owned everything he wrote and performed under the name Prince. So he changed his name to a symbol for a few years until he won his historic court case.

Prince was also known for his flamboyant wardrobe and  onstage dancing, much like Michael Jackson, all of which helped him succeed in the pop music field, but also often overshadowed his rock guitar playing.

Prince’s final concerts featured just him on stage with his piano and a microphone. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is remembered historically as one of the top rock guitar players, music lyricists, music composers, music producers and music performers of all time.                       

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