Back some time in the late 70s (79, I think), I had slipped downstairs in the middle of a Saturday night to watch television. This was a frequent occurrence for me and the only time that I could watch horror films with Peter Cushing, Vincent Price and Christopher Lee. It was also the only time that I could catch the late night music videos (before we had cable and could get MTV) and reruns of The Soul Train. On this particular Saturday night, I came across Prince Rogers Nelson, known simply as Prince, on I think The Soul Train. I wish I could remember the song he sang, probably “I Wanna Be Your Lover” since it came out in ’79 and I think this was the time period. I just remember being transfixed and in awe.
At only 13, I had my first real crush on a celebrity. Of course, I thought he was just the sexiest man I’d ever seen, but that wasn’t all that appealed to me. It was his voice, his talent, and those eyes. It was always the eyes.
Here’s an interesting tidbit. My mother hated his music and especially the Purple Rain album because there is a backwards message on it. She was adamant that it was satanic (being the good little Christian she was). I didn’t get that sense at all. One day out of the blue, my record player decided to play backwards. I still don’t know what caused it, but in a spark of inspiration, I put on the Purple Rain album and listened to that backwards message. After I heard it, I dragged my mother in to hear it. Here are the words:
Hello, how are U?
I’m fine cuz I know that the Lord is coming soon
Coming, coming soon
My mother and I just stood there looking at one another. I played it a couple more times for her until she got the full message. After that two things occurred: 1) she said I could keep listening to his music *shock* and 2) my record player went back to playing forward again. I can only say that I believe my record player was touched by an angel or the hand of God, but something benevolent wanted my mother to hear that message. And possibly me too.
I have been a life-long fan and supporter of Prince. I have purchased his music on vinyl, cassettes, CDs and downloads for my Ipod, and own everything he has released in the US. I have seen him in concert twice. I own all of his movies on both VHS and DVD. And I have about 10 magazines where he appeared on the covers (all kept in plastic covers, of course). If I’d been a wealthier woman, you could bet I would own so much more and would have seen him in concert all over the world. Yes, I am that big of a fan.
Over the years, he has become more than a sex symbol, so much more. I see the spiritual man underneath all of the sexual music. I’ve heard him say in interviews that to him sexuality and spirituality are one in the same. Although I am not a religious woman, I even supported him becoming a Jehovah’s Witness in 2001. I figure that if this is the spiritual path he is meant to be on, why should I question it. I even wept when his son Boy Gregory died in 1996 and I think that was a real turning point for him.
Prince inspired me to be an individual, to stand up for myself as an artist and writer, not to accept mainstreaming, never to sell out, and to keep reaching for my goals. His music has played a major role in every aspect of my life for the past 36 years. I have been chided and mocked for years for being his fan, but I don’t care. He is important in my life and I will always love him for who he is, all of him. The good, the very good, the bad, and the controversial.
It is difficult to find Prince’s videos on sites like Youtube. He has license to all of them after years of struggling to retain the rights to his work (which I fully support!), but there are some videos of him doing live performances. Here are a few videos that I feel comfortable adding here:
The song that started it all:
A rare video online of his song Cream:
(Note: the guitar that he plays in the above video is in the Smithsonian!)
Prince performing Purple Rain live:
Prince and Lenny Kravitz performing American Woman:
Prince performing at the Super Bowl XLI halftime show (in the rain!), hailed as the best halftime show ever, but if you want to see (and you do!) you have to go here.
And finally, a documentary about Prince in the 1980s:
Interesting Facts: Prince is only 5’2″ and usually wears high-heeled boots on stage. He is a very private man and rarely gives interviews. For more interesting facts, check out 53 Things You Might Not Know About Prince (I did know these 😀 )