Thursday, April 21, 2016

 

Prince Roger's Nelson music inspired a generation.

Prince Rogers Nelson was born on June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and was attracted to music from an early age, learning to play instruments and writing his first song at the age of seven.

As a teenager he joined the funk group 94 East, which had been formed by Willie Pepe, the husband of his cousin. The band gained a local following but was forced to disband in early 1979 due to the success of Prince's breakthrough album, called Prince.

That album came one year after his debut album, For You, on which Prince did all the singing and played all the instruments, which included guitars, basses, synths, bongos, congas, finger cymbals, wind chimes, orchestral bells, and woodblocks, to name just a few.

'Prince', which would eventually go platinum, spawned the hit single I Wanna Be Your Lover.

He released an album a year for the next three years, starting with Dirty Mind (certified gold), Controversy (certified platinum) and what would be his biggest album to date in 1982, named 1999.

That album, which went 4x platinum, contained three of Prince's most well-known songs including the title track, Delirious, and one of his signature singles, Little Red Corvette, which despite its undying popularity over the past 30 years never charted higher than number 6 in the US charts.

His next album took two years to make but would become his masterpiece, a work that is widely considered by music critics and fans alike to be one of the greatest albums of all time - Purple Rain.

That album, released in 1984, also served as the soundtrack to the film of the same title released that year by the singer.

Prince brought in a number of artists to sing and play on the album, which eventually went 13x platinum and contained two songs that topped the charts in the US, Let's Go Crazy and When Doves Cry. Those were in addition to the title track and I Would Die 4 U, two more songs many associate with the artist.

The next eight years marked one of the most fruitful times in Prince's career with the release of one album every year; Around the World in a Day (2 x platinum), Parade (platinum), Sign o' the Times (platinum), Lovesexy (gold), Batman (2 x platinum), Graffiti Bridge (gold), Diamonds and Pearls (2 x platinum) and Love Symbol Album (platinum).

Those albums contained singles including Kiss and Batdance from the 1989 film Batman, and Cream which all topped the charts, as well as Raspberry Beret, Diamonds and Pearls, and the Sheen Easton duet U Got the Look.

Prince went on to release 23 more albums in the past 21 years, though none reached the success of his work in the 1980s as he adopted a more experimental sound with his work.

The one exception to that was his 2004 work Musicology, which went 2x platinum and won Prince two Grammy Awards for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance Male.

He released his final two albums last year - HITnRUN Phase One in September and HITnRUN Phase Two in December.

In addition to his financial success thanks to his sales, he also enjoyed much critical success, especially in the early years of his career.

He won seven Grammy Awards over the years, with his last win coming in the Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 2008 for his song Future Baby Mama.

He was nominated an impressive 32 times for music's biggest prize, with Purple Rain and Sign O' the Times getting Album of the Year nods and the singer also landing a Song of the Year nomination for writing one of the most popular songs of all time, the Sinead O'Connor ballad Nothing Compaes 2 U.

He also won the Best Original Song Oscar at the 1985 Academy Awards for Purple Rain.

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