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Prince: The Artist

April 25, 2016

Where were you when?

With Thursday’s sad news, I was in my period 4 math class, about to launch into a quadratics lesson when a student called out, “Mr. Stephen, did you hear…”


But over the last few days, I’ve been thinking about a different ‘where were you when’ question.

Q: Where were you when…you became a Prince fan?

A: Saturday, February 4, 2006. At home, watching Saturday Night Live (SNL) with my fabulous future wife.

Steve Martin was the host, the two of us were really enjoying the episode. The self-help book promo sketch, Don’t Buy Stuff You Can’t Afford, we still quote, 10 years later.

Though the skits were fun, it was the musical guest that night that left a truly unforgettable impression.

About half an hour in, Steve Martin announced, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Prince.”

About 4 minutes after that, I was well on my way to becoming a full-fledged Prince fan.



What a track. What a performance. What a performer.

What a tragedy that he’s gone.

Thank you Prince for sharing your remarkable talents with the world.

Rest in Peace.



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  1. Just watched that video. Hot DAMN! Effortless and glorious. See that smile on his face at the end? Ha, he KNOWS, baby. He knows.

    Great post Geoff. I like your Where Was I When… I was probably at my uncle’s place, listening to his Batman soundtrack. Cool album, and of course I loved the movie.


    • A fine soundtrack if there ever was one Aaron – and yes, I caught the smile, and I loved it! Followed by the quick exit while the rest of the stage performers stayed motionless, just brilliant!

  2. Though I don’t know his music, I’m touched by the stories people are sharing, Thanks Geoff.

    Rob at The Delete Bin just posted a beaut, if I may drop in a link:

    • Bruce I’ve found 2016 to be such a bittersweet year so far – lots of sadness with the many losses in the music world but I too have been moved reading about how these artists have affected so many.

      • Bruce – I like how you were celebrating Winwood this year, I want to do more of that this year.
        Instead of waiting to say nice things in a memorial tribute, I’d like to get better at celebrating living legends too.

      • Hear hear comrade. I wonder about floating the idea of a co-ordinated ‘Legends’ series later in the year. What do you reckon?

      • I reckon that’s a terrific idea!

  3. I have to say I wasn’t much of a Prince fan. I appreciate that he could write a song, but to me he seemed to come off as a bit arrogant. I like some of his songs but wouldn’t call myself a fan.

    • I usually find arrogance incredibly unappealing – for some reason, it never bothered me with Prince.
      With many artists, it would be a major deterrent. I think with Prince, I probably just considered it part of his overall eccentric/unique presentation!

  4. … and brought to you by Budweiser too!

  5. jprobichaud permalink

    The first time I saw the video for “Purple rain”. I was probably 13. I wanted to be Prince. However, I didn’t remain interested for very long. Still love a lot of the tunes on that album though.

  6. I didn’t know. This is just getting a bit too much. I was just thinking about David Bowie yesterday, still unable to grasp the fact that he’s… though I’ve never been a proper Prince fan, his influence is everywhere. And 57 is too soon to go. It just seems unfair that artists who are able to keep things fresh and interesting should go so abruptly.

    • Amrita, I keep thinking about the Bowie parallels too, both constantly creating & reinventing, both true artists, both are missed already

  7. Good question, it was when I heard Sign Of The Tines on he radio for the first time, it just knocked me out – there’s still nothing as good out there and his earlier stuff didn’t move me (although I liked all the pop bits).

    It was the first 12″ I ever bought and I bought almost every single of his after that until the millennium.

  8. Times, damnit! Times, not ‘tines’!! For fork’s sake …

  9. Not a fan, just appreciate.

    • And I bet you’re not alone Mike – but I’m glad to hear even non-fans appreciate his exceptional talent & dedication to his art

      • I know that Prince has more material than I will ever hear — I loved his guitar playing. I loved when he went jazzy, and funky. I’m not a big dance music or pop guy though, so I never latched on completely.

  10. Hackskeptic permalink

    As you probably know I very rarely award a 10/10 for an album. Here’s one I wrote a review for a few years ago.

    “Prince is in many ways as vital to 80s music as Smokey Robinson was in the 60s, or Stevie Wonder in the 70s. No accolade could be as befitting as being associated with these names and deservedly “Purple Rain” stands as his masterpiece and possibly the best soundtrack album of all time.”

    • Like many I’m sure, I just had Purple Rain playing on the weekend, a spectacular soundtrack.
      10/10 material!

  11. Jordan Richardson permalink

    I would say it was 1991.

    Diamonds and Pearls was the record. “Cream” was the single and the music video that first turned my head. That was back when music videos were on television. I remember Prince coming to MuchMusic in Toronto and I watched the interview/performance just dazzled. He was so accessible, so humble and yet so uncompromising in his affection for the art and humanity.

    Since then, I’ve been a fan and then some. And even when he’s put out “less than great” work, it’s been interesting. That’s more than you can say for many artists, past or present.

  12. I can’t remember the first time I heard Prince. I was introduced to a lot of 80s music by my teenage siblings when I was small. I remember one of my brothers dressing up as Prince for Halloween one year, somewhere around 87….

    The man had a lot of personality. He was a bit arrogant, but hey, he was Prince! He was a crazy good guitarist, there’s a clip on Youtube of him playing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” at the rock hall induction. It’s incredible.

    • Just watched that last week – incredible doesn’t even scratch the surface! That’s a brilliant example of his guitar work though, some of the best I’ve ever seen.

    • What a stellar halloween costume!
      I saw that Guitar Weeps clip at some point over the last few days, what a performance!

  13. I was only really starting to scratch the surface of Prince’s fairly eclectic output. Purple Rain (the album) didn’t make much of an impression and I found the “what next” question rather daunting giving the sheer number of albums. A friend has helped me out, though. Sadly, I just never really found an ‘in’ at the right time.

    But although I can’t say I’ve ever been a fan, I’ve liked a bunch of songs and I’ve always marvelled at live performances. Good Lord could that man play … and he had a ball each time. He clearly breathed music … pure love.

    • J – I’ve only experienced 3 of his records so far, so I feel like I’m in that surface scratching phase too.
      He was also a bit of a mystery too, I wonder if anyone felt they ‘knew’ Prince.

  14. Great post. I had never seen that video (or heard that song) before. Holy cow! I have to explore more latter-day Prince. I’m only sorry I waited until now to realize it. For me, it was the song “Little Red Corvette” in 1982 and then when the album/movie Purple Rain came out two years later, it was locked in.

    • Thanks Victim of the Fury – I still have plenty of post-Sign O the times exploring to do too!

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