I was completely thrown off when I went to NPR.com today to look for something totally unrelated and there it was, the headline: “Prince, Musician and Iconoclast, Had Died at Age 57.” I sat startled. Someone came over to my desk. They had heard too but had come over for something else. I was still startled. A literal icon had died. The man who captured me with lines and truth I’ll always love: “Dig if you will the picture of you and I engaged in a kiss…” or “ain’t no particular sign I’m more compatible with…” And he was only 57.
I grew up in the 80’s. At that time I may not have been aware of how big Prince was or how much of a legend he would become but I knew that I liked his music. The beat, words and sound made me move. Sing. Made me feel good inside. His music compelled me and so many others to dance, feel, be.
I’m not sure if the news of Prince’s passing was unbelievable because he was perceived to be an immortal man who would live forever? Or that this larger than life presence had more to give, more music to mesmerize us with as he aged? Or perhaps it’s just a sad, all-to-real reminder that living brings about one certainty; that is it ends with Death.
For me, it doesn’t matter why or how. Those factors either become the sole thing people remember or the tarnishing image someone chooses to point out. I’d prefer to use this moment to reflect on his music. To reminisce while watching Purple Rain. Or laugh at the Dave Chappelle sketches of Prince playing basketball and cooking [or eating] pancakes. Both still make me smile. Just as Prince’s music still makes me dance and sing and move and feel. And that’s what will make Prince immortal. Not that his body lasted forever but that his creative, beautiful, soulful, funky, eclectic, unique, profound collection of music will…
R.I.P. Prince Rogers Nelson