Thursday, April 21, 2016
Forever Remembered in the Land of Purple Rain
Are you a Prince fan?" asked a coworker out of the blue outside my office this morning. I thought a few seconds. I have early Prince songs that were the soundtrack of the wind down of my senior year of high school and first year of college. Let's Go Crazy was used for our yearbook slide show for the sports section of which I was the editor. I slowed danced to Purple Rain and cried to When Dove's Cry, a song that hit a little too close to home during the stormy parts of my first real relationship that was not going to end well. I was a huge old Prince fan, but not really in decades, unless a classic was played. "I'm not an unfan." I responded. "I loved the Purple Rain soundtrack." Very matter of fact she said, "He's dead."
Prince Rogers Nelson was as close to Minnesota royalty as it comes. Ironically he passed away on a rainy Minnesota Day. I learned another coworker knew him since childhood-first name basis knew him, and in her early high school years, watched him and his then band rehearse. I was enough younger than him that I can't even share any good stories of sneaking into First Avenue, the nightclub that gave him his start, and the setting for much of the Purple Rain movie. By the time I was able to even get into Minnesota clubs, he had become an international superstar, and tickets to get into First Ave were beyond my college student waitress budget. E shared some stories about his talent, but also the aloofness and mystery he had even as a Minneapolis teenager. It wasn't arrogance, she described, but of a person that lives in a slightly different realm than most of us.
Crowds have been gathering outside the Paisley Park studio, wanting to be part of his legacy at least once or one more time. Police are keeping it civil, but not interfering with letting his fans share their outpouring of emotion. I will not be there. I will save the space for those that followed everything about his career and want to pay tribute. They've already announced that his famous purple suit will be on display at the Minnesota History Center. Me, I'll probably download some tunes later and pay a tribute by remembering where I was and how I felt when I heard each of those songs, thanking him for the music that literally shoved me into adulthood. His legacy will be etched forever in our shared home state. Rest in Peace.