Prince, legendary musician, actor, electric seven-time Grammy winner, and Oscar winner was found unresponsive in an elevator at Paisley Park Studios, his home just outside of Minneapolis.
According to the Carver County Sherrif’s Office, “First responders attempted to provide lifesaving C.P.R. but were unable to revive the victim. He was pronounced deceased at 10:07 a.m., and We are investigating the circumstances of his death.” He was 57.
While the shock of his unexpected passing continues to vibrate throughout the world, below a few thoughts from Josh Chancey, with words that tonight so many of us are sad without:
I remember being in downtown New Haven the night that Michael Jackson died and walking down the street, hearing a different M.J. song coming from every bar. This one’s blaring “Beat It,” the corner place is playing “Billy Jean,” the classy wine joint is playing “Man In The Mirror.” The cars going past were playing “Human Nature” and “P.Y.T.” It felt like one of the few moments I’ve experienced in the 21st century – outside of maybe 9/11 – where seemingly everyone was united by a familiar feeling.
I hope Prince gets the same. He deserves it. That motherfucker was astonishing.
He could play any instrument. He could write in any genre. He could do fucking jump-splits in high heels – WHILE playing virtuoso-level guitar. He was a genius in the classic sense of being a singular, bizarre motherfucker with an all-encompassing vision and the perfect confidence required to realize that vision. Look at him doing incest punk on “Dirty Mind.” Singing the Lord’s Prayer in briefs on “Controversy.” Spraying the crowd with an ejaculating guitar at the end of “Purple Rain.” Reinventing himself temporarily as a slicked-back European gigolo and then writing fucking “Kiss.” “Kiss,”! Dude wrote that song! “Kiss” seems like it’s existed since the birth of the universe as the platonic ideal of pop music – he wrote that and nearly gave it to someone else as table scraps. It’s unreal.
Prince situated himself at the intersection of sex and God and saw the potential in each for transcendence, self-surrender, and self-discovery. Do yourself a favor and watch “Purple Rain” tonight and witness an artist at the height of his power, in full control of himself, his art, and his audience.
I’ll miss him, but I’m thankful that this tiny, horny, purple being made it to our planet in the first place.