(image: Letitgo, Prince. Off inside sleeve of ‘Come’ album 1994)
Friday morning my husband woke me up with the words: ‘Prince has died.’
I sat bolt-up-right, cupped my mouth, ‘No!’
He gave me an extra long goodbye hug before leaving for work, knowing how much I would be hurting.
It’s hard to try and explain grieving for someone I didn’t know. This article does well to explain, and I will try.
I have so many memories of Prince in my life.
Listening to Little Red Corvette as a child, not understanding the lyrics, but loving the song so much. Really wanting a Corvette when I was older.
The first time I heard Purple Rain with it’s haunting guitar. Waiting every week to hear and watch When Doves Cry on the countdown shows, captivated by the strange lyric.
Watching Purple Rain, again not understanding fully it’s concept or themes but just in awe of the music, the man. It was like nothing I’d ever seen before.
I remember dancing around for countless hours to the music off my Graffiti Bridge cassette, in love with the melody and funk. Imagining I was one of Prince’s back up dancers, grooving along with the New Power Generation.
“We are the New Power Generation, we want to save the world. The only thing that’s in our way is you.”
And making up a dance to the Batman single off the soundtrack. Man I love that song. One of the best to dance to ever. I actually danced to it in my kitchen about three weeks ago. Chills me now.
I remember revisiting the Sign O’ the Times album in my mid teens, letting the lyrics sink in and for the first time really understanding their meaning. Powerful. Poignant.
I discovered Prince’s back catalogue around the same time; For You, Controversy, Dirty Mind. Scouring the local record shop for the albums and finally finding them on CD. I played them over and over, until they were scratched. They sit in my CD drawer, tired but loved.
Then came Diamonds and Pearls which was so much the soundtrack to my mid to late teens. So funky, so heartfelt, so rebellious. So many late nights listening to ‘Money Don’t Matter Tonight’.
And then the Black album. Mind blown.
Into my twenties, as I grew older, wiser, and the dampness behind my ears began to dry out, I realised how important Prince was to music. His genius. His musicality. His creativity. His lyrics. His brilliance. His crazy, unique ability to be a hundred different people in the space of one lifetime. Explore so many different genres and creative avenues. I realised why I loved his music so much.
And then he took a stance against being a ‘slave’ to the music industry, changing his name to the unpronounceable ‘symbol’. Forever more love symbol, the symbol of Prince.
His career didn’t end there, but I did deviate from following for a few years. I have so much yet to explore, he gave so much more and who knows how much more is in his vault?
As I walk through my grief for someone I didn’t know, I am just so sad. Not in the day to day moments, just in the quiet moments when I think about his passing. Wondering about his legacy. Wondering about his family and close friends who knew the real Prince. Remembering, appreciating, revisiting. Aching.
He was still so young. Still had so much left to give. I kick myself for not going to his concert this year, thinking ‘He’ll be back.’ But now he won’t.
Although, I’m sad, I’m also grateful I lived in the generation of Prince. That I was able to experience his genius first-hand, in my own way, through my own memories. Just as those who lived through the Beatles, or Elvis. Prince is mine.
I know so many won’t relate to this post, but maybe one day you will. And it’s okay to grieve for someone you didn’t know, because in your own way you did know them. You knew what they meant to you. And that is such a personal thing. Hold it close. There’s not right way or wrong way to grieve. Even for someone you don’t know.
Dedicated to the memory of the Purple One.