Musical Icon Prince Dead; Age: 57

(Musical Icon Prince Dead) – Prince, a quintuple threat instrumentalist-singer-songwriter-producer-performer who became one of the towering figures in music the last four decades, has died at 57.

Musical Icon Prince DeadHe was found dead Thursday morning at his Paisley Park estate in Chanhassen, Minn. It was in that very studio that he created most of his iconic music. Sheriff’s officials in Minnesota say deputies found music superstar Prince unresponsive in an elevator after they were summoned to his suburban Minneapolis compound. Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson says first responders tried CPR but couldn’t revive the 57-year-old musician.

Olson says Prince was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m. Thursday, about half an hour after deputies arrived. Medical examiners have received Prince’s body and plan to perform an autopsy Friday. Last week, Prince had to be taken to a hospital after his flight home from Atlanta made an emergency landing in Moline, Ill. A representative said the singer had been fighting the flu for several weeks.

Prince in His Early Years

Born Prince Rogers Nelson in 1958, he grew up in a musical household in Minneapolis. His father led a jazz band and his mother was a singer, and the teenage Prince developed his own vocal and instrumental chops in a series of local bands with Andre Cymone (who would become a key member of Prince’s band the Revolution) and Morris Day (who would go on to sing lead vocals in the Prince-produced band the Time). He was signed to Warner Brothers as a teenager, and wrote, produced and performed his 1978 debut.

When he was 19, Prince played 20-something instruments on his self-produced debut full-length, and that was merely the preface to one the most prolific and thrilling discographies in the history of recorded sound. Words — mine at least — cannot do his music justice. So little needs to be said.

Prince’s Reach Expands to Hollywood

In 1984, he would branch into film with Purple Rain, a perfectly Musical Icon Prince Deadidiosyncratic musical odyssey that stands as, if not the greatest film with a non-actor musician in the lead role, than probably the most enduring. (The album and song of the same name don’t hurt, of course.)

A few years after that, he would once again dip his toe into film by recording the soundtrack for the 1989 film Batman. It’s far from his best album, obviously, but in the grand scheme of soundtracks it’s pretty great, and, really, few things are cooler than getting Prince to write an entire set of new music for your movie.

Prince in his Later Years

After his falling out with Warner Brothers in the ‘90s, he became a self-contained music industry. Prince showed a knack for striking advantageous deals with the music corporations he once openly loathed in order to improve distribution, while retaining the rights to his music. In this way, he created a new business model that allowed him to work within the music industry, while retaining his artistic freedom.

He assembled a series of stellar bands that mixed sharp newcomers with veteran musicians he admired, such as Sly Stone’s bassist Larry Graham and James Brown’s saxophonist Maceo Parker.

Prince’s Legacy

Like David Bowie, Prince was one of those rare beings whose talent amazed and inspired people to such an extent that he rendered everyone else, including other megastars, starstruck. But, like Bowie, Prince wasn’t God, and he wasn’t from outer space or another world. He was just better at being human than most of us are.

I’m getting better at mourning brilliant musicians whom I love: it involves listening to their music, very loud, and dancing. Let’s go crazy. Prince will live on through his music and through his fans.

(Musical Icon Prince Dead)