It's exactly a year ago today that the Purple One suddenly passed away. The word genius is often overused, but in this case, one was lost to music on 21 April 2016. Prolific, relentless, driven, focused, obsessive, constantly innovating, he was the Mozart of pop, rock and funk. A tour de force live, a multi-musician who could do it all – sing and dance like James Brown, play guitar like Jimi Hendrix, a piano player, a drummer, a supreme writer and producer, sexy, coquettish, religious, full of contradictions and inner demons, but utterly unique. So much has been said about him that doesn't need repeating, so in a special Song of the Day, we sample four songs that try to capture his career. It's an almost impossible task.
Sometimes It Snows in April, from Prince's eighth album, Parade. His Revolution band members Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman contributed to the writing. It's a melancholy, unusually slow song for Prince but what better way to mark his sad passing? The song focuses on the death of a man called Tracy in the civil war, but what is it really about? The end of the Revolution, before Prince moved on to the New Power Generation? The death of other friends? Either way it's a moving, and beautiful piece of work. And it's still April. Rest in peace.
When Sign O' The Times, from the album of the same name, came out in 1987, it came as a shock to the listening public. Not only was the sound utterly now (Prince composed it on a Fairlight synth), the lyrics were hard-hitting and socio-political Addressing the spread ofAIDS, gang violence environmental disaster, drug abuse, poverty, the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster and fear of nuclear holocaust. Still prescient.
Kiss is an example of Prince at his funkiest. A huge no 1 hit, it's also a dancefloor favourite. Originally meant as just as an acoustic demo, itt was worked on by the Paisley Park band Mazarati formed by former Revolution bassist Brownmark. Prince then liked what he heard, then replaced the vocals, stripped it back and Kiss was created. As crisp and perfect a funk song as you can imagine.
I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted to one time to see you laughing
I only wanted to see you
Laughing in the purple rain …
And finally, it had to be Purple Rain, and a live version from the 2007 Superbowl when in torrential rain, he held together the band on a dangerously wet stage, and commanded one of the greatest of performances. But anyone who has ever seen Prince perform live will count it as among the greatest gigs they have ever seen.
Want to suggest songs for Song of the Day or to say anything about it? Does this song make you think of something else? Then feel free to comment below, on the contact page, or on social media: Song Bar Twitter, Song Bar Facebook. Song Bar YouTube. Please subscribe, follow and share.
New to comment? It is quick and easy. You just need to login to Disqus once. All is explained in About/FAQs ...