The Beautiful One

All of my purple life
I've been looking for a dame
That would want to be my wife
That was my intention, babe

If we cannot make babies, maybe we can make some time
Thoughts of pretty you and me, Erotic City come alive
We can fuck until the dawn, making love 'til cherry's gone
Erotic City can't you see, thoughts of pretty you and me

Lyrics from Prince and Sheila E's smash hit "Erotic City"

Prince Rogers Nelson was born on June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The son of Mattie Della and John Lewis Nelson both of his parents were African American. They were originally from Louisiana and migrated to Minnesota during The Great Migration. Prince's maternal and paternal grandparents were Louisiana natives. Prince's parents were musically inclined his father was a pianist and songwriter, his mother was also a jazz singer. He was named after his father. Prince had to endure adversity early in life. He was born with epilepsy and has seizures as a child. He once told his mother  "Mom I'm not going to be sick anymore ,' and she said "Why?" and I said, "Because an angel told me so."

Prince in high school

Prince had many siblings from his father his only sibling from both of his parents was Tika Evene also known as Tyka. They developed an interest in music together as children and they were encouraged by their father to pursue music. At the age of seven he wrote a song entitled "Funk Machine" on his father's piano. His parents separated when he was ten years old and moved back and forth from his mother's house and his father's house. This experience shaped his music. As a teenager he attended Minneapolis Bryant Junior High School in addition to honing his skills as a musician. Prince was a stellar student-athlete. He played football, basketball, and baseball. He continued to play basketball as an adult and beat actor and comedian Charlie Murphy, brother of Eddie Murphy. This account would later become a popular episode of the Chappelle Show.  He met future super producer Jimmy Jam in 1973 in music class he was impressed with Jimmy's talent and work ethic.

Who influenced Prince musically? Little Richard, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Charlie Chaplin, George Clinton, Jimmi Hendrix, The Beatles, Jackie Wilson, Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, Carlos Santana, Duke Ellington. Prince considered himself a blend of Marvin Gaye, Little Richard, Sly Stone, Duke Ellington, and Charlie Chaplin.

Prince @ age 19 in 1977

In 1974 Prince's music career began Pepe Willie the husband of his cousin, Shauntel, they collaborated formed the band named  94 East. This band consisted of Marcy Ingvoldstad,  and Kristie Lazenberry, and Prince's childhood friend Andre' Cymone. Prince played the guitar on their songs and demo tracks. The band did record and release an album entitled Minneapolis Genius-The Historic 1977 Recordings.  Two years later Prince created a demo with producer Chris Moon. Chris Moon took the demo to a businessman named Owen Husney. Husney signed then seventeen year old Prince to a management, contract which allowed Prince to created another demo at Sound 80 Studios in Minneapolis along with producer and engineer by the named David Z. When the demo was finished there was a press kit featured with it prominent record companies such as Columbia, A&M, and Warner Bros. were interested in Prince. Owen Husney helped Prince receive a record contract from Warner Bros. Prince signed with Warner Bros. under the condition that he would have creative control and publishing owning rights for three albums. Prince would relocate to California and his first album For You was released in 1978.  He had modest hits with "Soft and Wet" and "Just as Long as We're Together. His sophomore album Prince was released year later and had two breakout hits "I Wanna Be Your Lover" and "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?". "I Wanna Be Your Love" was a bigger hit and he performed both songs on American Bandstand on January 1, 1980.

Prince's third album released in 1980 Dirty Mind is self-explanatory the album consisted of explicit sexual content with sexually charged songs entitled "Head" and "Sister." He started to enjoy success and was the opening act for Rick James's Fire it Up tour. He began collaborating with fellow Minneapolis natives Morris Day, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis they were members of the group called The Time. They enjoyed success with four albums and later became known as Morris Day and The Time. Four years later Prince was catapulted into super stardom with the film Purple Rain and its soundtrack which is regarded as a musical masterpiece. The rest is history. I really don't have to go into great details about the success that followed. In addition to being passionate about music Prince was socially consciousness. He once said a meeting with Muhammad Ali changed his life the former boxer encouraged him not to record any more music with profanity or excessive sexual content. Prince never wanted the press to know about his philanthropy. In 2001 he donated $12,000 anonymously to Louisville Free Public Library this would maintain the historic Western Branch Library, which was the first full service library for African Americans in the United States which is in my hometown. This donation prevented its closure. That same year he anonymously paid all of  the medical bills of cancer stricken Clyde Stubblefield. He was an animal rights advocate and maintained a vegan lifestyle. Prince wanted to mentor Chris Brown. Prince was a true play boy he dated Vanity, Sheila E., Madonna, Carmen Electra, just to name a few. He was married twice and had a son but the baby passed one week after his birth.  Sadly we lost the great purple one this year on April 21, 2016.

Toni's Thoughts: There is nothing for me to say accept I love Prince I'm glad my mother raised me on his book he transcended generations and genres not race. This feels like a bad dream we have lost Michael, Whitney, and now Prince "The Big 3" of the 1980s. I loved Prince for his pure talent and from what I have learned recently his kind spirit and his passion for basketball. Prince left an amazing legacy that some people are trying to destroy all I can say it don't believe the hype. I also love and admire how Prince made his own rules and fought the corrupt politics of the music industry. He always stood by his convictions.  His influence can be seen and heard in artists such as Maxwell, Bilal, D'Angelo, and Miguel just to name a few. Here is the link to one of my favorite Prince songs ever "Erotic City." Rest in power.

Enjoy "Erotic City"



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