Like so many others, I became obsessed with the Purple Rain soundtrack in 1984, the year of its release. I proudly hung the poster of the album cover on my wall and spun the record over and over and over again, memorizing every beat, every lyric. I was 12 years old at the time, and music tends to shape us so profoundly at that age. Today, I hear When Doves Cry and I’m instantly a preteen, standing in front of my bedroom mirror singing into a hairbrush. I Would Die 4 U comes on and once again I’m preoccupied with mimicking the hand motions that accompany the chorus (point to self, point to head, hold up four fingers …).
I was 12 years old, and as with so many things when you’re too young to do them, I was frustrated and furious that I couldn’t get in to see the R-rated Purple Rain with my friends at the local theater. I eventually saw it on cable and was mesmerized, the songs I knew by heart springing to life in a way they never had before. Prince, the man, seemed other worldly – different, creative, passionate, a little dangerous, and a lot sexual. So different. In the best possible way.
I finally saw Prince in concert in 2004, and it still stands, will likely always stand, as one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot of concerts in my life. I always meant to see him again, but life got in the way. I’m thankful I had the one experience that I did, sharing a space and slice of time with Prince and thousands of other diehard fans for a night of incredible music.
David Bowie’s death hit me hard. Prince’s death hits me just as hard. All I can think is that heaven is going to have an amazing jam session tonight.