Born Prince Rogers Nelson on June 7th, 1958, Prince is regarded as one of the greatest musicians of his generation, blending elements of Jazz, Funk, and Rock.
The Minnesota native is known for his spectacular guitar skills, off-beat vocal tricks, and androgynous style. After his tragic passing in 2016, his legacy has not left the public zeitgeist, and his music will never be forgotten. Here are 10 songs to listen to on Prince's Birthday
10. 'Little Red Corvette'
Released in 1983, 'Little Red Corvette' was Prince's first song to reach the top 10 charts in America, and is known as the song that put Prince on the mainstream map. The not-very-subtle suggestive lyrics recall a one night stand with a beautiful, promiscuous woman. As an artist, Prince was always highly controversial for his graphic lyrics promoting sexual liberation. The jam contains an electronic drumbeat, female backup vocals, and a groovy, slow building synth, giving it its classic 80s sound.
After its namesake album 1999, the songs clever opening lyrics are "I was dreaming when I wrote this", giving it a dreamy, ethereal feel that was "out of this world" for its time. The beats and riffs are a masterful blend of house and techno, a signature sound on the album. Ironically, the song was released in 1982.
8. 'Raspberry Beret'
This 1985 single was released from Prince's 7th studio album, Around the World in a Day. Lyric wise, it tells the story of teenage love, with its main protagonist being a young woman who consistently wears a raspberry beret. Production wise, the song is a staple of the Minneapolis sound, with finger symbols and a string section.
A #1 hit worldwide, ''Kiss' was listed #464 on the 2003 list Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. . After Prince's death in April 2016, the single shot back up to #23 at the Billboard Top 100. The song is also featured in the film Under The Cherry Moon, a musical comedy drama starring and directed by Prince himself.
6. 'Starfish and Coffee'
This simple upbeat song contains a sequence of piano chords, a straightforward drumbeat, and Prince's signature soft, feminine background vocals. Inspired by real events, the song tells the story of an eccentric young girl named "Cynthia Rose" that the song's co-writer, Susannah Melvoin, attended grade school with. They describe the girl's obsession with numbers, and her expressing the odd desire to eat starfish for lunch every day.
5. 'Sign O' The Times"
Not to be confused with the 2017 Harry Styles single (who was actually very artistically inspired by Prince), 'Sign O' The Times' is the lead single from the critically acclaimed 1987 album of the same name. The lyrics are introspective in nature, reflecting on struggles and tragedy in modern day society.
4. 'I Would Die 4 U'
Reflecting on Prince's gender neutral style, the opening lyrics of "I'm not your woman, I'm not your man", are highly religious in nature, describing the presence of a God that goes beyond human, physical form. As Prince was very spiritual, this is evident in many of his lyrical themes. It is the fourth single off the legendary album Purple Rain, his most popular album, and critically regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time.
3. 'Let's Go Crazy'
This hyper song is known for its existential spoken intro with a church like organ. Production wise, the song is highly experimental, avant-garde, and psychedelic. It continuously references a force called "de-elevator" supposedly a metaphor for the Devil. The song's outro reaches a climax with a chaotic, roaring guitar solo with Prince screaming "Take me away!"
2. 'When Doves Cry'
The lead single from Purple Rain, the song was Prince's first #1 hit. For its composition, it stands out from other 80s songs at the time, considering there is no bass line, but instead a very heavy drum kick. It is also notable for its unconventional use of the talk-box in the introduction, giving Prince's voice a guttural, distorted sound. Overall, it is known to be one of Prince's signature songs.
1. 'Purple Rain'
After the celebrated album of the same name, this power ballad is heavily influenced by gospel, rock, and R&B sounds, which is a whopping eight minutes long. The deep, soulful lyrics of the song contain messages about the apocalypse. According to Prince: When there's blood in the sky – red and blue = purple.. purple rain pertains to the end of the world and being with the one you love and letting your faith/god"guide you through the purple rain."
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