Prince was almost beyond description and yet utterly American. He transcended musical genres and even gender; he was a consummate musician and unabashed showman. He was a (teeny tiny) straight black man from Minnesota who basically took over popular music 30 years ago. More prolific than Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson and Madonna–and with a storied vault that promises even more unreleased material–he influenced everyone from R & B artists to mainstream icons. He was ferociously protective about his work in terms of his relationships with producers and record labels, but was unfailingly generous with fellow artists, everyone from Stevie Knicks to Erykah Badu. His style was impossible to pinpoint but unmistakably his own.
What I admire most about Prince was that he didn’t care what people thought of him. He was unrepentant and unremorseful. He changed his name to a symbol; he went public with his battles against his record companies.
Not a lot of his work is online (again, he was pretty adamant about that), but here are some videos I’ve been watching on repeat since I learned about his death.
Here he is showing a bunch of white men, every single one of them a rock legend in his own right, how to shred a guitar on a George Harrison cover:
Arguably the best Superbowl halftime show ever, with nothing but a backing band, two backup dancers, electric guitars and a do rag during a torrential downpour:
And finally, celebrating the beauty of all women: