my several words about the super bowl, or, people will remember prince long after they've forgotten the final score
Maybe it’s because I slept through the first half, meaning that Prince was my opening kickoff. But I doubt it … I give full credit to Prince. It doesn’t get said often enough, for a variety of reasons, which I will list here before I say that which doesn’t often get said:
1) While Prince is a master of many forms, he’s never really been able to do hip-hop, the dominant pop music form of the last 25 or so years.
2) Prince is pretty damn weird, like Little Richard if Richard was a recluse.
3) While he is as close as any artist to being the exception to my theory that all rockers are over the hill by their mid-30s … Prince still puts out some magnificent music … nonetheless he peaked in the mid-80s, and it was an enormous peak, during the time of Purple Rain he was bigger than big. The heights of his past popularity make his current status seem more unimportant than it is.
4) His eclecticism may dissipate recognition of his greatness. He does so many things so well that a person might be forgiven for thinking Prince was jack of all trades, master of none. He’s a master of them all, but that may not be the common perception.
5) He is so prolific that, combined with a shaky notion of quality control, he releases material that might be 85% great but which nonetheless includes clunkers.
For all of the above reasons, it doesn’t get said often enough: Prince is among the greatest pop music artists of the past 40+ years. I’d point in particular to #4 … he really is a master, at rock and roll, at funk, at R&B, at psychedelia, at crooning, at songwriting, at live performance, at singing … and, last but most definitely not the least, he is arguably the greatest rock guitarist since Hendrix.
Once in awhile, Prince returns momentarily to the national consciousness. That’s more important than whether or not Peyton Manning has reached the level of Johnny Unitas.
Here’s one of many great Prince moments you can find on YouTube. I linked to this once in the past, but that one was removed … “copyright infringement” and all that. Who knows how long this will last. It’s an all-star rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” … once Prince starts making his guitar weep, the world stops. You’ll find it here.
And, since I can only say it about one person, I’ll mention it again here: Prince remains the only artist about whom I can say, I was there when. Our first Prince concert was in March of 1981, at a now-defunct club in San Francisco.