I really wanted to do a tribute for Prince, just as others did for Glen Frey (a founding member of the Eagles) and David Bowie (the gender-bender whose albums sold over 140 million copies). I even considered Purple Rain and got out my purple paint. The problem with tributes is, one really should know something about the artist, or feel a deep connection with them.
What I really know about Prince is he made the very top of the Filthy 15 list
that was put out by then Senator Al Gore's wife Tipper who cofounded the Parents Music Resource Center or PMRC (above image courtesy Wikipedia).
Although she wanted complete censorship, she DID get a warning label that goes on records that are deemed to have violent, drug-related, or sexual themes (image courtesy of Getty Images).
So why did Prince make the top of the list? Possibly because it offended the straight laced Tipper with its sexually explicit language. The story goes that she purchased the soundtrack to Prince’s sexy R-rated film Purple Rain for her preteen daughter, then was shocked when her daughter pointed out a reference to masturbation in Darling Nikki.
Only a couple of the 15 supposedly offensive songs made me cringe. But just because I cringed doesn't mean I want them banned. In the US at least, freedom of speech is guaranteed. I may not like the words coming out of someone's mouth, but I'm not going to try to censure the person (list of 15 artists and songs provided by Soylent Communications).
According to New York Daily News:
The 1984 Prince and the Revolution Album set a record by spending 24 weeks in a row atop the Billboard magazine charts and had sold over 13 million copies by its 30th anniversary, Billboard reported in 2014. Its “Darling Nikki” track leaves little to the imagination.According to Gore's testimony at the hearings:
“Prince peddled more than ten million copies of ‘Purple Rain,’ which included a song about a young girl masturbating in a hotel lobby”
In a tribute to Prince, New York Daily News claimed:
In the annals of modern music there has been no single artist who radiated sexuality and gender fluidity than the singer/songwriter behind hits like “Purple Rain” and “When Doves Cry.”
I'm a big, no HUGE, fan of rock. I can only imagine what Gore must be thinking now that rap, hip-hop, and pop music control much of the airwaves.
Take for instance the wildly popular TV show Empire,
shown on Fox TV in the US, E4 in the UK, Star World and FX in India, Pro Sieben in Germany, Sub in Finland, and e.tv in South Africa (photo courtesy of Wikipedia). It's a good thing Gore's children are now grown, because this is not a music show for the tame. Everything from drugs, murder, suicide, incarceration, innuendo, and racy language spill over into the music.
Prince's songs seem tame compared to some of the song lyrics I've heard recently.
It's obvious where I got many of the photos for this tribute (unless specifically noted, all photos are from New York Daily News). This is the front page of the New York Daily News on April 22, 2016.
Thanks for joining me with this look back at Prince and also "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince." The zoo photos will resume tomorrow. As I'm sure you know, I am very grateful for your visits.