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Prince: An In-Depth Profile of the Legendary Music Icon

Full Name Prince Rogers Nelson
Age 57 (at time of death)
Birthday June 7, 1958
Birth Place Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Death Date April 21, 2016
Spouse Never married
Children Boy Gregory Nelson (1996–2006)
Genres Funk, R&B, rock, pop, Minneapolis sound
Instruments Vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass, drums
Years active 1975–2016
Labels Warner Bros., NPG, EMI
Website prince.com
Twitter Prince
Instagram prince
Facebook Prince
YouTube Prince

Introduction

As a lifelong Prince fan, I‘m thrilled to provide an in-depth profile of this legendary musical icon. Prince‘s prolific creativity, jaw-dropping talent, and fearless individuality made him one of the most acclaimed and influential artists of all time. Often referred to as the "Purple One" or "His Royal Badness," Prince pioneered his own funk/rock/pop hybrid "Minneapolis sound," dominated the 80s with chart-topping albums and films, and continued to electrify audiences with his passionate performances right up until his untimely death at age 57. Prince won 7 Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, an Academy Award, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. But beyond the accolades and records sales, Prince inspired generations of artists to push boundaries and stay true to their vision. To quote the man himself: "I‘m not a woman, I‘m not a man, I am something that you‘ll never understand."

Early Life and Musical Upbringing

Prince Rogers Nelson was born on June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His father John L. Nelson was a jazz pianist and songwriter, his mother Mattie Della was a jazz singer. Prince‘s parents separated when he was young, but their love of music heavily influenced him – he penned his first song "Funk Machine" at age 7! Prince taught himself to play multiple instruments, joining his first band Grand Central (later Champagne) in high school alongside longtime collaborator Andre Cymone. He could play guitar like Jimi Hendrix and sing like James Brown by age 15.

Prince signed a deal with Warner Bros. at just 19 and set out to conquer the music world. When executives wanted him to have a backing band, he famously told them "I am the band." His independence and singular artistic vision were evident from the start.

Rise to Fame and Musical Legacy

Prince‘s early albums like For You (1978) and Prince (1979) showcased his knack for mixing soul, funk and rock into a bold new sound. But it was the release of 1999 in 1982 that first catapulted Prince to international stardom. The title track is still a classic party anthem, while songs like "Little Red Corvette" and "Delirious" demonstrated his songwriting talents.

Prince‘s 1984 opus Purple Rain was his first #1 album and remains his crowning achievement – it spent 24 consecutive weeks at the top of the charts and sold over 25 million copies worldwide! The track "When Doves Cry" also topped the singles charts despite lacking a bassline. Here are some other signature Prince tracks that you must listen to:

  • "Let‘s Go Crazy"
  • "Kiss"
  • "Raspberry Beret"
  • "Cream"
  • "Gett Off"
  • "Diamonds and Pearls"
  • "7"
  • "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World"

Beyond the incredible music, Prince was known for his captivating live performances. His Super Bowl XLI Halftime show in 2007 during a pouring rain was utterly unforgettable. The man simply oozed charisma, passion and otherworldly musicality. Prince paved the way for modern artists like The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, Janelle Monae and more to embrace their uniqueness and defy conventions in the music industry.

Later Career and Activism

Never one to rest on his laurels, Prince continued evolving his sound and challenging the status quo in the 90s and 2000s. He changed his name to the unpronounceable "Love Symbol" and scrawled "Slave" on his cheek to protest his record label Warner Bros. Prince was also an advocate for artists‘ rights and ownership of their master recordings. He pushed boundaries with sexually-charged songs like "Erotic City" and spoke openly about his faith as a Jehovah‘s Witness later in life.

Prince stayed prolific right up until his tragic death from an accidental drug overdose in 2016. He will be remembered not just as a chart-topping singer and multi-instrumentalist, but as a cultural icon who forged his own path. In the words of Rolling Stones magazine, Prince was "the most influential artist of the rock & roll era."

Thank you for allowing me to pay tribute to my musical hero – I hope this gives you a sense of what made Prince such a legendary, era-defining artist. Let‘s go crazy in his memory!