RIP Prince

Sad news music fans, last night American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and actor, Prince died. Police received a 911 phone call from an unidentified male, requesting an ambulance be sent to Prince’s home and reporting, at first, that Prince was unconscious and, later in the same call, that he was dead.


Authorities found Prince unresponsive, in an elevator at Paisley Park, which also served as his Minnesota home. Prince did not respond to CPR administered by emergency responders and was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m. He was 57 years old.

Prince has been described by some as “a master architect of funk, rock, R&B and pop,” Here’s some interesting facts you might not know about him:

  • Prince was born as Prince Rogers Nelson on the 7th of June 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the USA.
  • When he was growing up, his nickname was “Skipper”.
  • He was Baptized in 2001 and was a devout Jehovah’s Witness; he even went door-to-door.
  • In addition to writing several hundred songs for himself, he also composed music for other artists, including “Manic Monday” for the Bangles, “I Feel For You” for Chaka Khan and “Nothing Compares 2 U” for Sinéad O’Connor.
  • In 1984, after purchasing the Purple Rain soundtrack for her then-11-year-old daughter, Tipper Gore (ex-wife of former US vice president Al Gore) became enraged over the explicit lyrics of “Darling Nikki,” a song that references masturbation and other graphic sex acts. She felt that there should be some sort of warning on the label and in 1985 formed the Parents Music Resource Center, which pressured the recording industry to adopt a ratings system similar to the one employed in Hollywood. To Prince’s credit, he didn’t oppose the label system and became one of the first artists to release a “clean” version of explicit albums.
  • During the week of July 27, 1984, Prince’s film “Purple Rain” hit number one at the box office. That same week, the film’s soundtrack was the best-selling album and “When Doves Cry” was holding the top spot for singles.
  • Prince loved playing ping-pong. Once, he once hit Michael Jackson in the crotch with a ball while trying to get the fellow pop legend to play a game with him.
  • He played guitar on Madonna’s hit single, “Like A Prayer”.
  • Prince initially asked Stevie Nicks (from Fleetwood Mac) to write lyrics for ‘Purple Rain’, but she found it too overwhelming.
  • On tour in the UK in 1987, Prince had found no way of getting a baby grand piano up the stairs of the London’s Chelsea Harbour Hotel for him to practice on. Therefore, the workaholic star hired a crane and brought it in through the window.
  • Prince wrote more songs than The Beatles, with a back catalogue that expands to over 600 tracks.
  • He was often compared to Jimi Hendrix early in his career, a comparison he hit out against in a Rolling interview, claiming it was “only because he’s black.”
  • Prince’s first band formed when he was only 13 years old.
  • Prince and Amy Winehouse almost collaborated. After Prince declared himself a fan, the Camden singer said she’d “drop everything to do that… I’d do it with bells on. All day long.”
  • Prince used to write fan mail to Joni Mitchell, who says she once spotted the singer aged 15 in the front row at one of her concerts.
  • Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ was meant to be a duet with Prince, but Prince was uncomfortable with the song’s opening line: “Your butt is mine.” “Who’s singing that to whom?” Prince asked at the time, “because you sure aren’t singing that to me.”
  • Prince originally wrote ‘Kiss’ for a band called Mazarati, Revolution members Mark Brown and Bobby Rivkin. He later backtracked, telling Brown and Rivkin, “It’s too good for you guys.”
  • In his lifetime, Prince released 39 studio albums, 4 live albums, 6 compilation albums, 17 video albums, 136 music videos, 13 EPs, 104 singles and 1 remix album.
  • Prince sold over 100 million records worldwide.

I still remember listening to “Purple Rain”, “Kiss”, “Seven” and “Cream” when I was growing up. I have to admit that I’m not a huge Prince fan, but the man was talented. RIP Prince Rogers Nelson.

Check out the ABC News Prince Tribute clip below:

Watch this space for regular updates in the Music and Facts categories on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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Henno Kruger
Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant and co-founder of SA Music Zone
Henno Kruger

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