Prince has now been gone from this world for one week, and I, like so many other music fans, am still wrestling with how to process the loss of such a titanic artistic force. Like this year’s earlier loss of David Bowie, there has been a tremendous outpouring of public grief, remembrance, and celebration for a singular talent. Unlike Bowie, social media sharing of Prince videos and songs has been rendered nearly impossible by the artist’s tight, principled control over his work. I actually played compact discs this week because of this (!!!).
One of my first concrete memories of Prince’s music was listening to “Raspberry Beret” on the radio while my parents drove me to a soccer match. Then there was the time in fifth grade when my friend’s babysitter drove us around town in her sports car while she played a Prince album at top volume. At the time, my obsession was in music like Nirvana or Metallica, so I pretended to be annoyed by the experience. However, this babysitter was beautiful and Prince’s music was sexy, and that car ride flipped some kind of switch in me. Thanks, Prince.
The very first time I DJ’d (in a very rudimentary way) was at a large family New Year’s Eve party during Y2K. I began playing R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” right before midnight, then my dad cut the power to the gymnasium we were in. Just to freak people out a bit. When he turned the power back on, I segued into Prince’s “1999”. Both choices were a little on the nose, I admit, but it’s a nice memory sixteen years later. In college, Prince’s “Erotic City” was a song that I tried to wedge into the playlists of as many parties as I could, and “Purple Rain” and “Sign ‘O’ The Times” were CDs that never left my car.
Prince was my favorite guitarist and my favorite pop star. It still doesn’t seem real that he is gone, but I’m so glad that he left behind such a staggering discography. “Purple Rain”, “Lovesexy”, “1999”, “Dirty Mind”, “Controversy”, “Sign ‘O’ The Times”, “Diamonds and Pearls”, “Around the World in a Day”…so many miraculous albums. Since I can’t share a playlist of my favorite songs with you, or overlooked gems (as I did in the case of Bowie), I have decided to make a playlist of some of Prince’s influences and the music that he influenced.
Spotify Playlist: Timely Tunes, Vol. 20 ~ Prince Edition
- Stevie Wonder “Superstition”
- The Jacksons “Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)”
- D’Angelo “Brown Sugar”
- Shuggie Otis “Not Available”
- The Staple Singers “City In The Sky”
- Maxwell “Sumthin’ Sumthin’”
- Miguel “Adorn”
- Jimi Hendrix “All Along the Watchtower”
- Parliament “Up For The Down Stroke”
- Jessie Ware “Meet Me In The Middle”
- Sly & The Family Stone “Luv N’ Haight”
- Erykah Badu “Tyrone”
- Bootsy Collins “Physical Love”
- Betty Davis “Anti Love Song”
- Ohio Players “Skin Tight”
- A$AP Rocky “L$D”
- Curtis Mayfield “We The People Who Are Darker Than Blue”
- Autre Ne Veut “World War”
- How To Dress Well “Repeat Pleasure”
- Joni Mitchell “A Case Of You”