Last week, Prince died at age 57, less than two months shy of his 58th birthday. Cause of death remains unknown at this point, but the news came as a complete shock to seemingly everyone, including this longtime Prince fan. (Flashback to me seeing him in concert three times, once so close to the stage, I was the recipient of one of his high fives.)
For a black person born in 1958 with the aspiration of becoming a rock star, Prince overachieved and then some. The evidence: the worldwide reaction to his death.
“Oh, what an exit, that’s how to go.” — Evita
Still, there are so many questions, like why and how an apparently healthy 57-year-old man suddenly dies in an elevator in his own house.
And why has my reaction been basically a non-reaction? Perhaps because the news of Prince’s death makes me think of my own mortality more than that of the musician I idolized in my younger days.
The musician whose music, by the way, has never, ever, fallen out of the rotation known as the soundtrack of my life.
Hopefully, in the future, I’ll write more about the influence Prince has had on my life. How the Purple One and his music inspired the character Othello, the rock star turned assassin in my novel, Uprising.
Prince of my playlists
How Prince songs such as I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man, Scandalous, If I Were Your Girlfriend, Sometimes It Snows in April, and Holy River — just to name a few — made indelible impressions on me and my journey in life.
That’s just it — Prince’s music has never left my life, really since the mid-80s, when I caught up with his “old stuff” and was blown away by romantic classics like Do Me Baby and International Lover.
The Sign o’ the Times double album in 1987 cemented Prince’s position as my favorite musical artist of all time and the most influential musical artist in my lifetime.
That was nearly 30 years ago. He’s never left my playlist since.