One student reflects on the Purple One’s legacy
Sad news came out of Paisley Park last Thursday morning. By now, there isn’t one person in Minnesota who hasn’t heard the news about Prince. Words honestly can’t express how sad this loss is to the state, the country, the world, and the music industry. Prince’s music was revolutionary; it was able to evolve with the times, yet still had a unique aspect to it. He was simultaneously fitting into and breaking a mold. One amazing thing about Prince, though, was how deep his connection was to Minnesota.
When a musician or actor or performer is able to move out of their home state and live in an exciting city like L.A. or New York, most will grab that opportunity and cling to it. Prince didn’t do that, though. He knew that Minnesota was home and he was deeply connected to his roots. Even though he had performed all over the world, you could always depend on Prince to return to Paisley Park in Chanhassen. He made sure that the film Purple Rain had as much film shot in Minneapolis as possible, and that the scenes taking place in First Avenue & 7th Street Entry were actually shot inside the club.
No one was like Prince, and no one will ever be like him. He had a musical ability that is only seen once every generation, and our generation just doesn’t know how much he meant to our parents’ generation. They knew him when he was an up and coming artist, while we knew him as the superstar who loved the color purple.
For our parents’ generation, Prince was their equivalent to Elvis Presley, and the loss hurts just as much for them. For me and a few of my friends, though, we were more receptive to his music and message than to the music of popular artists today. He meant something to us, more than just a few fun hits to dance to. He expressed heartbreak, frustration, and mortality in a way that we understood.
Since last Thursday, tons of support and tributes have been paid to the music legend. Along with millions of fans, celebrities like Katy Perry and Chris Rock took to Twitter to express their sorrow and how much Prince and his music meant to them. Fans descended upon Paisley Park as early as Thursday afternoon to leave flowers, photos, balloons, and more at his estate. First Avenue, where Prince had his first big musical break, held all-night dance parties to remember him on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.
Well-known places were lit up purple to remember the superstar, including the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis and Target Field. On Thursday night, thousands of people descended on First Avenue, where the massive crowd joined together to sing “Purple Rain” (it was very fitting that on Thursday it was actually raining all over the state).
The singer was found unresponsive in an elevator in his Paisley Park home early Thursday morning. When the police were called, they cancelled an ambulance request, since the person calling repeatedly told the dispatcher that he was unresponsive and wasn’t breathing. Prince was pronounced dead shortly after 10 a.m. Prince was 57 years old.
Since then, an autopsy was performed, but the cause of death won’t be revealed for several weeks. His family has already had his body cremated and his remains were stored in a private place. Many fans are hoping that he didn’t overdose on the painkiller Percocet, which has become the most prevalent rumor about his untimely death. Last Monday, April 25, Prince’s plane had made an emergency landing in Illinois while on its way back to Minneapolis from concerts he had done in Atlanta, Georgia.
The experience at First Avenue was very interesting. On Friday afternoon, on a whim, I decided to go to the cities to go to the dance party at First Avenue. I convinced a friend to come with me, and at 1 a.m. on Saturday morning, we stood in the huge line to get in. We ended up leaving a little before 4 a.m., due to a fight that broke out right outside the club’s front doors. For the Friday night party, there was just a general feeling of hostility, something that I felt Prince never would have stood for. My friend and I didn’t want to give up, though. So, we tried to go to the last party on Saturday night/Sunday morning. We showed up much earlier and secured our spots at the front of the line. We got in right away and stayed at the party until almost 4:30 a.m. It was an amazing experience, mainly because the majority of people who were there, dancing and singing along to Prince’s songs, were actually closer to my parents’ age than my own. It just shows how much his music transcended through each generation.
No musician will ever be like Prince. That’s all that can be said, because to try and say anything else just wouldn’t be fitting. I know that the children of my friends and, maybe, myself will not grow up without hearing his music. To let them walk through life not knowing who Prince is would be a disappointment.
Since Thursday, I have said goodbye to Prince multiple times in many ways, from watching Purple Rain to singing along to his songs at First Avenue. Now, this is the last time I can say goodbye before it’s time to continue on with life, which mainly consists of studying for finals. So, I will say this: wear your raspberry berets, drive your red corvettes, party like it’s 1999, and stand and laugh in the purple rain, because we are here today to get through this thing called life, and nothing compare to U.