I remember when my friends and I all wanted to “Party like it was 1999.” It seemed like an eternity away, and yet today it feels an eternity ago.
I was just a teenager when Prince’s “1999” was released. “Little Red Corvette” was without a doubt my favorite song on the album, but tunes like “Delirious,” and “D.M.S.R.” hooked me as a Prince fan for life.
I didn’t need any more convincing, but then came Purple Rain two years later. I was blown away.
“Let’s Go Crazy,” “Take Me With U,” “When Doves Cry,” “Darling Nikki” (remarkable for its time), and what would turn into the Prince anthem, “Purple Rain,” provided the soundtrack for much of my teen experience.
I grew up a lover of Rock. I developed an appreciation for Country, Rap (Run D.M.C. and L.L. Cool J in particular), and all kinds of Jazz. Prince seemed to have it all. He had an edge to his music that kept you on the hook, with a guitar style that rocked with the best.
If you were riding in a boat, on a motorcycle, or just hanging out around the Ross Barnett Reservoir in Jackson, Miss. in the mid 1980s, Prince was blasting from your speakers.
It’s only in later years that I learned what an incredible songwriter, producer and virtuoso on almost any instrument he truly was. I grew up with friends who loved hard rock, funk, punk, R&B, Pop and Soul music. The one combination we all had was we all loved Prince.
I first saw the movie “Purple Rain” with future college roommate Chris Brewer of Nashville. We had been listening to “1999” for two years and the movie only deepened my appreciation for the artist.
When “Under the Cherry Moon” was released two years later, most considered it a bomb. I didn’t care. It was Prince, therefore I was glued.
This is an artist, whom on most of his albums played every instrument and sang every vocal. That’s incredibly rare. I only saw him in concert once, in 1992 in New Orleans. My primary memory was his performance of “Sexy MF.” How could I ever forget that?
He did everything on the soundtrack of the original “Batman” movie. He made Tom Jones cool again. He was Dave Chappelle’s best character. Most importantly, he was very likely the best musician of my lifetime.
It’s reported Prince has a vault of hundreds, maybe thousands of recordings yet to be released. We can only hope one day they are shared with the world.
I’d love another opportunity to party like it’s 1999.