Correspondent Runnin Buddha writes, “I know the Warrior fixation is strong, but I anxiously await your Prince post.” And he’s right, Mr. Nelson deserves more of an epitaph than the two words “Prince died.” I must admit that his passing did not affect me personally the way Bowie’s did, but he was a titan of an artist, a talent of so many facets that it’s hard to know where to start.
Like Bowie, Prince was more than just a musician — though he was one hell of a musician. He was known for playing all the parts on many of his albums, and though he could apparently play any instrument, some of his most remarkable work was on the guitar. Check out this clip from the 2004 Rock’n”Roll Hall of Fame Inductions:
It takes purple brass balls to even think about competing with Eric Clapton’s famous solo on this song, but Prince kills it. I’m not sure what’s my favorite part: the bit where he tips over and gets pushed back up; the look of sheer amazed bliss on Dhani Harrison’s face; or the moment at the end where he throws the guitar into the air and it never comes down. The man just had style.
While we’re at it, here’s my favorite discovery of the week: Prince covering Radiohead’s “Creep” at Coachella in 2008.
And, hell, one more. Prince does “Heroes”:
This got me thinking about Prince and Bowie. There’s a lot of overlap there — they were both somewhat androgynous, for instance, though Prince’s androgyny was different from Bowie’s in a funny way: Despite being frillier and more feminine, he always came across an unambiguously heterosexual. There were some big differences, too, starting with the fact that Prince was actually black, whereas Bowie just wished he was.
There’s a whole thesis to be written there, but that’s all the time we have for today. In any case they were both, to say the least, one of a kind. It’s been a horrible year for musicians already, and it’s not even half over yet. Let’s hope there are no more major losses for awhile.