Published in Watertown TAB April 29, 2016
Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016)
RIP in an eternal Purple Haze
Some listeners lost their virginity listening to Prince. I lost my hearing.
The Internet is jammed with eloquent hosannas praising the artist, dead at 57 years old.
His sixth album, “Purple Rain,” is the reason I am hard of hearing today.
In my car, at full volume, I played the nine songs on that 1984 cassette over and over and over. It was a majestic ride from funk to R&B, pop, rock and a dash of heavy metal – I don’t think Prince ever got it any better. I cranked it so loud it occasionally made me dizzy.
A 250-watt amplifier powered the two ADS speakers mounted on the kick panels a few feet away. I wasn’t satisfied listening. I wanted to feel it ricochet through my bones. The whole Alfa Romeo GTV vibrated like a Boeing 737 MAX lumbering down the takeoff runway. I didn’t care that in the afterglow my ears would ring after the downpour of dazzling guitar licks and Prince's shimmering falsetto radiating sexually provocative lyrics. .
Tinnitus is the daily soundtrack for me today. You only lose your virginity once. It takes repetition and reckless abandon to lose your sense of hearing. Prince was my pied piper, his mesmerizing marching songs begged to be played at stadium audio levels. I still get a rush listening to Prince's "Purple Rain" album (earplugs firmly in place). I have a few regrets over the loss of my hearing. I have mighty regrets over the loss of Prince.
Fifty-seven is too young to die. In Prince’s case, out of the blue. Did he have any idea how much his music affected and influenced others? Or how much we admired him?
He can’t hear it now. But the people around you who make up your own constellation of friends, family, lovers, co-workers, they can hear. Say the words to them today that might be too late to say tomorrow.
Prince, Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne and others perform "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" at the 2004 Hall of Fame Inductions. The video is about six minutes long. Tune in at the 2:40 mark to see how it's going before Prince takes over at the 3:25 mark.
Superbowl 2007 Prince sings "Purple Rain" in a rainstorm...and has the Miami stadium singing along with his epic anthem.
Purple Rain, 1984
“Let’s Go Crazy”
“Take Me With You”
“The Beautiful Ones”
“When Doves Cry”
“I Would Die For You”
“Baby I’m A Star”