RIP Prince. A Tribute. 1958-2016

As the horrible news of Prince’s passing starts to sink in I have decided I need to write about it.  This has nothing to do with our business, and yet it absolutely has plenty to do with our business.  It absolutely has plenty to do with everything as people who know me are aware.  Prince was my favorite solo artist of all time from the time I was 11 when my older brother introduced me to such classics as Dirty Mind and Controversy.

Rules be damned, we have had Prince playing in the studio often and loudly, and we have always done it out of love – to evangelize his art, the gift of music he has always given us.  To make it clear to everyone that even though his newer music wasn’t everywhere you went like it was back in the day, that it was still vital and incredible and that everyone should be listening to it.  True song craft with real instruments and virtuoso performances on every album.  Look at this tweet we got today….

Prince

Prince has had a huge impact on our lives.  Music to me is like air – I can’t survive without it, and Prince was some of the purest air you could find.

Some of My Memories of Prince….

Does everybody remember how mind-blowingly amazing the song Controversy was?  I mean we all know it’s a great song, but if you’re old enough to remember when it came out then you remember how it changed the game.  At least that’s how I remember it – there had never really been a song like it before – with that percussive “OOH” on the two of every measure.  A hypnotic jam like I had never heard and I’m not sure there has been one like it since.  “People call me rude, I wish we all were nude…”

Of all the amazing slow jam ballads Prince recorded – and it’s a massive list, the two best are both on the self-titled second album.  It’s Gonna Be Lonely and When We’re Dancing Close And Slow are my jams.  Say what you want about Adore, Do Me Baby, International Lover, The Beautiful Ones etc. etc. etc. – I’m sticking to those two and they can take me right back to my bedroom on Glouster Circle when my bed was in the corner of the room and my record player was right at the head of my bed before I got my newer furniture.  I would lay in bed and listen to those jams thinking about the day I would meet the perfect girl (I did by the way).

I remember when my brother Jeff called me on February 27th, 1983 from Ann Arbor – I was 12 – and asked me if I wanted to go see Prince at Crisler Arena….  He drove home to Farmington Hills to get me and we sat 5TH ROW CENTER on the main floor for the 1999 tour with The Time and Vanity 6 opening.  You’re pretty impressionable when you’re 12, and let’s just say that night was a surreal experience.  I’ll never forget it and I am so lucky to have been there.

Prince

If all we had were Prince’s B-Sides we’d be in pretty good shape by the way…  The man accomplished more with B-Sides than most do with their proper releases.  I mean are you kidding me?  Erotic City, 17 Days, Irresistible Bitch….  That elastic bass line and sunny vibe of 17 Days takes me back to summer vacations in Virginia Beach.  Oh and in addition to the B-Sides by the way “Sinead here’s a #1 song for you, and Bangles here’s a #2 song for you – it would have been a #1 but I took that spot for my own at the time – sorry…”

Ahhh… Purple Rain….. and the “When Doves Cry” video!  What can you say… I had the band photo from When Doves Cry as a poster on the wall of my room.

What about the “extended” concert special footage MTV showed that one time from the Purple Rain tour?  Pretty sure I have that on a VCR tape somewhere.

Even just the mystery and mythology surrounding the man… it rubbed off on anyone associated with him.  Even when Dez Dickerson made his appearance on stage in Purple Rain it was a big deal…  like WHOA – it’s Dez!!!

That Around The World In A Day cover – I remember the day I picked up that album at the Record Outlet on Orchard Lake Rd.

Does anyone not think of Prince when it snows in April?  Just asking…  Parade was released right when I took a trip to visit my brother Dan at law school in D.C. – I can picture driving into D.C. from the airport listening to it.

I remember the first time I heard Sign O’ The Times on the radio, and my buddy Jon and I a few years later singing all the words to “Forever In My Life” at the top of our lungs in college…

Vanoy Hill told me he had a bootleg vinyl copy of The Black Album in high school…. he never produced said copy and I was NOT happy… worst tease ever.  Was anyone on the hunt for that like I was?

As a side note if this is going on too long I’m sorry but it is what it is.  I need to do this.

My best Prince bootleg is a cassette of a live show from the Europe tour of 1989 – the guy at the record store in the strip plaza next to our mall where our studio is now made the copy of it for me.  I can’t for the life of me remember what the name of that store was.  I have it ripped to my iTunes now – it was the Lovesexy tour.  A fantastic recording including a medley he played by himself at the piano of When 2 R In Love > Venus De Milo > Starfish & Coffee > Raspberry Beret > Condition of the Heart > Strange Relationship > When 2 R In Love.  Just gold….

Playing a few tracks from Graffiti Bridge for my Aunt Jeannie (RIP) in my bedroom…

Jamming Diamonds & Pearls around Ann Arbor my senior year when I was delivering burgers and Chinese Food… including the CD single of Gett Off with all the different remixes…  That hologram cover!!!

Living back home in Farmington Hills with my parents after college and driving around town listening to the “Symbol” album…

The album “Come” came out when I lived in Cleveland.  Listening to it while I was falling in love with Ally long distance…

Back home in Michigan with The Gold Experience – for some reason have a memory of listening to P Control in my Isuzu Rodeo driving into Birmingham on Maple Road….

Listening to Emancipation driving out to Ally’s parents boat in the summer and jamming it in Atlanta when I was down there for training for one of my hellish corporate jobs – oh the irony.

The list goes on and on….  this has been therapeutic.

Our son Tony picking up on the groove of “S&M Groove” from the Slaughterhouse album and loving it when he was probably about 6 (oy vey haha).  Jamming Chelsea Rogers from the Planet Earth album every time one of our favorite all time seniors Chelsea Cage comes to the studio…

Here are 25 of my top Prince songs off the cuff:

  1. 17 Days
  2. Dirty Mind
  3. 1999
  4. I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man
  5. Push It Up
  6. Lady Cab Driver
  7. Erotic City
  8. The Beautiful Ones
  9. When Doves Cry
  10. Forever In My Life
  11. The Human Body
  12. Controversy
  13. Sexuality
  14. Sign O The Times
  15. Northside
  16. When We’re Dancing Close And Slow
  17. It’s Gonna Be Lonely
  18. Automatic
  19. Mad Sex
  20. Black Sweat
  21. Adore
  22. Eye Like Funky Music
  23. New World
  24. Hot Thing
  25. Joint 2 Joint

I was not prepared for this.  It didn’t register when I saw it come across my twitter feed.  Way too many artists have been lost in the last year.  They have all hurt but I’m not gonna lie, this one I’m having a much harder time with.  I wish I could have told the guy how much I admired his talent, his passion, his gift – how much he meant to me.  I hope he knows.

Prince – thank you from the bottom of my heart.  You will never be forgotten.  I Wish U Heaven.

Prince

Don’t sleep ’til the sunrise, listen 2 the falling rain
Don’t worry ’bout tomorrow, don’t worry ’bout your pain
Don’t cry unless you’re happy, don’t smile unless you’re blue
Never let that lonely monster take control of U

Be glad that U r free
Free 2 change your mind
Free 2 go most anywhere, anytime
Be glad that U r free
There’s many a man who’s not
Be glad 4 what U had baby, what you’ve got
Be glad 4 what you’ve got

 

 

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10 responses on “RIP Prince. A Tribute. 1958-2016

  1. Tarcha Wilson

    Doug I remember our first photo session with you and Ally and us listening to Prince. From there, I immediately knew that the 4 of us was going to be good friends. Thank you for sharing, know that we feel what you’re feeling…. Icon forever!

    1. Doug Cohen Post author

      Tarcha I think I always knew that one day if I ever had my own business (and when I was younger I envisioned that as being a record store) that I’d be hanging out playing my tunes and that Prince would be a big part of anything I did. Sure enough he helped bring us together – just another testament to the impact he had…

  2. Carrie (caremarie81)

    This was lovely to read and I am glad to know I’m in good company. Greatest music in the world. He is a musical genius! It’s still hard to believe he’s gone.

  3. Katy (wonderbreadLBC)

    I’m still so devastated, it’s so surreal! I keep hoping I’ll wake up from this nightmare! Our legend has gone too soon!! Thanks for sharing, Doug!!

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