Ambitious, talented and hardworking, if sometimes overstretched, Prince brought modern ideas and attitudes into pop music and put on a great show besides. He first attracted attention with his spacy soulful sound topped with screaming guitar, not to mention the colorful clothes he put on his 5 ft 3 in (1.6 m) frame.
After having played in bands like Grand Central (later called Champaine) and 94 East, he made his first solo album called For You in 1978. Since then he released about one album each year.
He was backed in the 80s by The Revolution, and in the 90s by The New Power Generation. His players were always crackerjack musicians. It turns out that many crackerjack musicians are beautiful women. He also worked on different occasions with famous Jazz musicians, such as Miles Davis, Larry Graham and Maceo Parker.
Many music journalists consider Dirty Mind, Purple Rain and Sign of the Times to be his three best albums, which are found in many Top 100 lists of the eighties. Amongst the fans albums like 1999 (1982), Lovesexy (1988) and The Rainbow Children (2002) are among the favorites.
His first hit Little Red Corvette made him part of the first wave of black artists on MTV. Other hits include 1999, When Doves Cry, Let's Go Crazy, Purple Rain, exhibiting both versatility and feeling. Prince is allied with the tradition of Marvin Gaye in mixing spirituality and sensuality, I Would Die 4U, for instance, which can be compared to Gaye's Sexual Healing, with its not so subtle reference to Jesus Christ. In contrast to Gaye, however, his songs often had more overt and direct sexual content, such as Jack U Off and Sexy Motherfucker.
In addition to recording his own music, he has written for many artists, including Chaka Khan and The Bangles. He has been a tireless promoter of new artists, among them, Morris Day and the Time, Apollonia, Sheila E.
He directed and starred in three movies, Purple Rain (1984), Under The Cherry Moon (1987) and Graffiti Bridge (1990). Of these movies only Purple Rain was a big success. In 1987 a movie was shot of the Sign of the Times Tour in Rotterdam and Antwerp. The movie was shown in several theaters in Europe, but was more of a success as a music video.
Prince is regarded as one of top live acts in the music business, often performing not only in large arenas, but also late at night in small clubs for a selected audience.
He was one of the first artists to sell his music directly to his fans through the Internet, bypassing record labels.
Prince and his relationship with his own name
He was born June 7, 1958, and given the name Prince Rogers Nelson after the Prince Rogers Trio, his father's jazz band. As a boy, he was called Skipper, but he recorded under the name Prince. On his 35th birthday, June 7, 1993, he said he would no longer answer to the name Prince and would hence be known by an unpronounceable glyph. On December 31, 1999 he reclaimed the name Prince, although, typically, he did not announce the reclamation until some time later.
He had refused to use the name Prince while publishing rights remained with his old record company Warner Brothers. He said he felt like he was their slave. He did not want to advertise for that company, so he didn't use the name. As soon as they were out of the picture, the name was back.
By that time, he was also known as The Artist, short for The Artist Formerly Known as Prince (as he was anointed by a British journalist) or even the acronym TAFKAP. People loved to talk about it, some were amused, some were annoyed. Whatever else it was, it was deft publicity that kept his name and career alive separate from his legal entanglements with his record company. Other names used as 'pronounciation' for the glyph were The Symbol and Love Symbol.
According to a Prince fan site, the glyph incorporates the male and female signs along with the alchemy symbol for soapstone. They give the ASCII representation of the symbol as: O(+>
Prince's management company made an image file of it available for newspapers and magazines to use in referring to him.
The New York Times reported in concert coverage in 1994:
Since Prince has changed his name to an unpronounceable glyph, tickets for his two-night stand at the Palladium were billed as Art. Frmly Knwn as Prince. Calling for encores, the crowd chanted We want followed by two high whoops.
From Prince's official announcement reclaiming his name: "On Dec. 31, 1999, my publishing contract with Warner-Chappell expired, thus emancipating the name I was given before birth 'Prince' from all long-term restrictive documents. I will now go back to using my name instead of the symbol I adopted to free myself from all undesirable relationships."
A common nickname for Prince is the Minneapolis Midget, referring to both his place of origin and height.
|Birth Name||Prince Rogers Nelson|
|Birthday||June 7, 1958 (63)|
|Birthplace||Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA|
|Height||5' 2" (1m57) How tall is Prince compared to you?|
|Prince: Sign O the Times|
|Under the Cherry Moon|