Good night, rockin' Prince
Our resident Kiss92 DJ/journo pays tribute to one of the few musicians kick-ass enough to bridge music's tenacious racial divide
It's been two weeks since his sudden death at the age of 57, yet people are still talking about him.
It just goes to show that Prince was a rock star - a TRUE rock star.
Kanye West likes to call himself a rock star, but he's a rapper, not a rocker.
It would be like Kobe Bryant calling himself a baseball player.
It's just wrong.
Prince deserves to be called a rock star because the US singer-musician had the guts to cross pop music's weirdly rigid racial boundaries and make his mark on a genre that's been dominated by Caucasians for decades.
I think some assume that Prince was half white, owing to his fair complexion and the fact that a white woman played his mum in the 1984 film Purple Rain.
The fact is that both his parents were black, and so was he.
Thankfully, he never used that as an excuse not to pick up a guitar.
Prince mostly used his axe powers for rhythm and texture, as we hear in 1999 and Alphabet Street, but his solos could be stunning.
The solo for the song Purple Rain -slow, sad, epic, melodic, majestic and ultimately triumphant - is one of my all-time favourites.
It somehow puts me in mind of a gigantic bird rising aloft, like maybe a phoenix.
His solo work for Let's Go Crazy is similarly melodic, but sassy, joyful and terrifically fun.
The solo for Kiss is tight, funky and wonderfully silly.
Of course, the way a guy looks with his guitar is almost as important as how he plays it, and in this department Prince was in a class of his own.
Most of us who grew up with Prince in the early 80s associate him with Cloud guitars, the swirly whirly ones that look like soft-serve ice cream.
Can you imagine anyone else holding a Cloud? It's a guitar that demands superhuman levels of swagger.
He later performed with custom-made Love Symbol guitars.
They were the same shape as the bizarre male-female glyph he used as his name for a time in the 90s.
The point is that Prince, like Jimi Hendrix before him and no one else after him, not only survived but killed in a musical genre that normally excludes his kind.
Sadly, like a lot of rock stars before him, he left this world well before we were ready to see him go.
Get The New Paper on your phone with the free TNP app. Download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store now