There Was Purple Rain: And Doves Cried!

It’s time to Break It Down!

Because it is not what I am discussing in today’s main topic, I am compelled to make a few passing observations regarding a discussion I’ve been knee-deep in for months. Herewith: Yesterday there were five Republican Primaries (Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island). This latest version of Super Tuesday included the first Primaries since the vaunted Cruz-Kasich Collaboration, the virtual personification of the “Never Trump” Movement. To keep this brief, I’ll get directly to the point. There were 5 Primaries up for grabs. The Score: Trump 5 – 0 over the Cruz Kasich Collaborative.

Now the Keep Hope Alive contingent, which is about all the Never Trump Movement amounts to at this point, will argue that the outcome, based upon the geography and demographics of those Northeast corridor states, was baked in the cake, as it were. Perhaps, but Trump did not just win those five contests. To use parlance I’ve heard after more than a few sports contest routs, he beat the brakes off those bums. Based on at least one network’s analysis, Mr. Trump has positioned himself to secure what Ted Cruz and John Kasich maintain he could never achieve; a path to 1237 delegates (better known as victory in the quest for the Republican Nomination).

The pundits continue to haggle over the details associated with the GOP process. Weeks ago I observed that the factor not enough credence is given to is the deepest desires of GOP voters. That Trump can’t bridge the 40% barrier thesis should effectively be put to rest after last night. He claimed clear majorities in each of the 5 contests, more than 60% in most. Oh well. Get that next argument ready folks…and a new scheme would also help.

Now on to today’s regular programming. April 21, 2016, a day that will live in infamy, at least in the hearts and minds of fans of Prince Rogers Nelson. Almost certainly, Purple Rain fell as Doves Cried. On that day, 57-year old Prince Rogers Nelson (Jun 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016) departed this earthly realm.

In retrospect, it’s fair to say Prince was an acquired taste. However, regardless of whether you knew him as Prince Rogers Nelson, or as Prince, or as The Artist, or as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, or as that really short dude who sang, danced, played multiple instruments, and replaced James Brown as The Hardest Working Man in Show Business, you knew him…and you knew when you saw him perform, you had seen an immeasurably talented artist with more juice than the Energizer Bunny. His on stage persona was, without question, unique and unparalleled. He was a synchronized syncopated, “Delirious” musician. As the greats typically do, he demanded performance excellence of himself, and his ensemble, and it showed, each and every time he hit a stage. He exuded a level of command presence that few others in any entertainment genre manage to capture and display.

Last Thursday, as I contemplated the depth and breadth of the moment, it occurred to me that on July 1, 2009, I had memorialized Michael Jackson: “The King of Pop: Gone Too Soon.” In fact, even more recently, on February 15, 2012, I similarly venerated Whitney Houston: “Last Saturday The Music Died: Déjà vu All Over Again!” ( For me, without delving into the maudlin, Prince’s untimely demise ensured that I must at least add a discussion of his life and his sublime body of work to the honorifics of Michael and Whitney to form a tri-part montage in memory of the dearly departed.

In noting the obvious, Prince was a highly decorated, frequently honored artist. He sold over 100 million records. He was clearly among the best-selling artists of all time. He won seven Grammy Awards (30 nominations), and a Golden Globe Award. He won an Academy Award for the film Purple Rain. He had 5 Chart topping singles and 14 other songs in the Top 10. In 2004, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during his first year of eligibility. He was ranked number 27 on the Rolling Stone list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Prince was a gifted marketer. He understood that to be the Master of his Fate, he needed to guard his image, protect his brand, and control his music. He worked diligently at all three, endeavors, but his efforts at the latter were groundbreaking. He engaged Warner Brothers in a multi-year wrestling match to regain ownership of his Music Library. In matching wits with the company, he terminated his contract and changed his name. At times he was called the Unpronounceable Symbol…though he actually gave it a name, the love Symbol #2. He also dubbed himself The Artist, and The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. All the while, he continued creating music at a frenetic pace, in part to hasten the day when he could secure the rights to his entire musical inventory, which he ultimately did.

He granted very few interviews. He admitted to being shy, but as shy as he may have been he was also shrewd. The lack of access created a level of mystery, which in turn fostered a heightened degree of continued interest. Ultimately, in the steroidal social media age, almost anything is knowable…if your interest and commitment levels are keen enough. Yet, Prince still flew below the radar on many levels because it was so much easier to find intel about other people.

Even in death, the mystery lingers. For example, many folks did not know Prince had been married. He had, twice. His first wife, Mayte Garcia Nelson, bore him a son, Boy Gregory. However, the child was born with Pfeiffer Syndrome (a rare genetic disorder), and lived only a few days. Between Mayte, and his second wife, Manuela Testolini Nelson, he spent ten years, four and six to each, respectively, as a married man.

Even his name is a source of confusion. Many folks believe Prince was a stage name; it was not. His father audaciously named him that in 1958. That also speaks to why he wanted not only his music, but also his name back. Speaking of his parentage, it is commonly assumed that Prince was bi-racial. He was not. Both his parents, John Lewis Nelson, and Mattie Della Baker Nelson were African American, hailing from Louisiana, and transplanted to Minneapolis, Minnesota. One more thing; Prince often alluded to the spiritual. But that did not mean he was not religious; he was. Prince was a Jehovah’s Witness.

In the arena of the known, based on his discography, we can safely say Prince released:

  • 39 Studio Albums
  • 4 Live Albums
  • 6 Compilation Albums
  • 17 Video Albums
  • 136 Music Videos
  • 13 Extended Plays
  • 104 Singles
  • 1 Remix Album

That’s 320 unique projects spanning from his first project, For You in 1978 to his last, HITnRUN Phase Two in 2015. It does not include the many hits he wrote for others, such as Chaka Khan’s “I Feel For You.”   Love him or hate him, he was one creatively prolific bad dude. Prince Rogers Nelson died as mysteriously as he lived. He was alone at his Paisley Park studio and home in Chanhassen, Minnesota, when he was found dead in the elevator last Thursday. At that moment I know for sure…There Was Purple Rain: And Doves Cried!

I’m done; holla back!

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