Like most of the world last week, I was saddened to hear of the sudden passing of a music icon, Prince. I have been a fan of his music from an early age and always felt a special affinity for him since we both love purple. I had the great honor of having one of Prince’s former drummers, Michael Bland, play on my Revolutionary album. Bland was an incredible drummer who nailed some songs in just two takes. You would expect nothing less from someone who survived Prince’s rigorous band rehearsals. The way he described working with Prince sounded like it was music boot camp. Prince had very high expectations for everyone he worked with.
I am so grateful now that I had the chance to see Prince in concert live at the Staples Center when he was on his Musicology Tour. I was supposed to go see Madonna two nights before but she was ill and rescheduled her show on the same night as Prince’s concert. I was also a big Madonna fan so it was a difficult decision but my heart said “Prince” and I sold my Madonna tickets to a friend. It was definitely the right decision since Prince’s concert was amazing and one of the best shows I’ve seen. It’s a sober realization that was the last time I was ever be able to see him perform live.
Prince’s music didn’t fit neatly into a music genre box. He could play funk, rock, jazz, R&B and pop. He wasn’t limited to one style yet he had a very distinct sound that was his own. His Minneapolis sound certainly bled into other artists he worked with like Morris Day and the Time, Sheila E and Sheena Easton. Scores of artists have been influenced by him, myself included, but there will never be another Prince.
We’ve lost a lot of music legends in the past year like David Bowie, Natalie Cole and Don Henley. Life here on earth is temporary but music will live on for generations. I found this unreleased recording from a live acoustic show I did several years ago. I had done a medley of songs and ended with “Kiss” by Prince. Here’s the snippet of my acoustic rendition as a tribute to his musical influence on me.