Apr 212016

Photo by Scott Penner; license CC BY-SA 3.0

Prince died this morning at his home near Minneapolis. He was 57 years old. As I type the cause of death has not been released, but he had been battling influenza for several weeks.

Prince was one of the primary cultural architects of my beloved 1980s. He not only wrote and recorded key parts of my formative years’ soundtrack, but made films, discovered and mentored several new artists, and wrote big hits for other established stars.

He created all kinds of music, from danceable funk to heavy rock to ethereal ballads. Sometimes he took pieces we’d think shouldn’t go together and make something bigger from them. Other times he would find sophistication in starkness. (Who else ever wrote and performed a worldwide dance smash with no bass line?)

Prince was an artistic genius, blessed with nearly unimaginable talent. We were blessed to have had him. Black? White? Straight? Gay? His early hit “Controversy” invited us to consider these questions. Let’s discard them all and just go with “force of nature.”

God be with his family and friends. RIP.

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