Prolific American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and actor Prince Rogers Nelson Sadly died at his Paisley Park recording studio and home in Chanhassen, Minnesota, near Minneapolis, on April 21, 2016 after suffering flu-like symptoms for several weeks. He was Born June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and his family ancestry is centered in Louisiana, Prince’s father was a pianist and songwriter and his mother was a jazz singer. Prince was named after his father, whose stage name was Prince Rogers, and who performed with a jazz group called the Prince Rogers Trio. Prince developed a keen interest in music, and this was encouraged by his Father Prince wrote his first tune, “Funk Machine”, on his father’s piano when he was seven. When Prince was ten years old, his parents separated. Prince constantly switched homes he befriended Andre Anderson, who later became known as André Cymone. Prince and Anderson joined Prince’s cousin Charles Smith in a band called Grand Central while they were attending Minneapolis’s Central High School. Smith was later replaced by Morris Day on the drums. Prince played piano and guitar for the band, which performed at clubs and parties in the Minneapolis area. Grand Central later changed its name to Champagne and started playing original music influenced by Sly and the Family Stone, James Brown, Earth, Wind & Fire, Miles Davis, George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic, Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix, and Todd Rundgren. Prince also played basketball in high school, and continued to play it for recreation as an adult.
In 1975, Pepe Willie, the husband of Prince’s cousin, Shauntel, formed the band 94 East with Marcy Ingvoldstad and Kristie Lazenberry. Willie hired André Cymone and Prince to record tracks with 94 East. Those songs were written by Willie and Prince contributed guitar tracks. Prince also co-wrote, with Willie, the 94 East song, “Just Another Sucker”. The band recorded tracks which later became the album Minneapolis Genius – The Historic 1977 Recordings. Prince also recorded, but never released, a song written by Willie, “If You See Me” (also known as, “Do Yourself a Favor”). In 1976, Prince created a demo tape with producer Chris Moon in Moon’s Minneapolis studio. Subsequently Owen Husney, a Minneapolis businessman signed Prince, at the age of 17, to a management contract and helped Prince create a demo recording at Sound 80 Studios in Minneapolis using producer/engineer David Z.
In 1978 after recording songs with his cousin’s band 94 East, 19-year-old Prince recorded several unsuccessful demo tapes before releasing his debut album For You. His 1979 album Prince went platinum due to the success of the singles “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” and “I Wanna Be Your Lover”, Prince signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. who agreed to give Prince creative control for three albums and ownership of the publishing rights. Prince’s first album, For You, was released in 1978 and included the songs “Soft and Wet” and “Just as Long as We’re Together”. In 1979, Prince created a band that included André Cymone on bass, Dez Dickerson on guitar, Gayle Chapman and Doctor Fink on keyboards, and Bobby Z. on drums. In October 1979, Prince released a self-titled album, Prince, which contained two R&B hits: “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” and “I Wanna Be Your Lover”. In 1980, Prince released the album, Dirty Mind, which featured the song”Uptown”,”Head”, “Sister” and “Partyup”. In October 1981, Prince released the album, Controversy and his next album 1999 (1982) incorporated Prince’s trademark of prominently sexual lyrics and incorporation of elements of funk, dance, and rock music. In 1984, he began referring to his backup band as The Revolution and released Purple Rain, which served as the soundtrack to his film debut of the same name.Prince also started using abbreviated spelling, such as spelling the words you as U, to as 2, and for as 4, as indicated by the inclusion of the tracks “Jack U Off” and 1999’s Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic, which featured ‘Hot Wit U.’
In 1981, Prince formed a side project band called the Time. The band released four albums between 1981 and 1990, with Prince writing and performing most of the instrumentation and backing vocals. In late 1982, Prince released a double album, 1999, Which contained the songs 1999, Little Red Corvette” and “Delirious” followed by the albums Around the World in a Day (1985) and Parade (1986). After this The Revolution disbanded and Prince released the critically acclaimed double album Sign “O” the Times (1987) as a solo artist. He released three more solo albums before debuting The New Power Generation band in 1991. He changed his stage name in 1993 to an unpronounceable symbol also known as the “Love Symbol” However In 2000, he began referring to himself as “Prince” again. Since then He has released 15 albums, including Plectrum Electrum, 20ten, Art Official Age, HITnRUN Phase One, and HITnRUN phase two. Prince was renowned as an innovator and was widely known for his eclectic work, flamboyant stage presence, and wide vocal range. He was widely regarded as the pioneer of Minneapolis sound. His music combined rock, R&B, soul, funk, hip hop, disco, psychedelia, jazz, and pop. He sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. He won seven Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe, an Academy Award. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. Rolling Stone has ranked Prince at number 27 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.