Saturday, April 23, 2016

A tribute to Prince

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.”

Jackson may have been an incredible songwriter and dancer, and Bowie a gender-bending force of nature, but Prince was a one-man sexual revolution who projected an effeminate image that ran counter to his macho-man lyrics.

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 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.

13 thoughtful remarks:

Valerie-Jael said...

He made good music and songs and will surely be remembered for them. Tastes are different, and there will always be people who are critical. But you are right. Freedom of speech and thought is important, and I hope we never get back to a time where laws forbid us to hear certain types of music or read certain types of books. Have a great day, hugs, Valerie

froebelsternchen Susi said...

He certainly was one of the most successful musicians.
I am sure with you about the right for freedom of speech in literature and music.
Happy Sunday dear Elizabeth!!!
oxo Susi

Gaby Bee said...

Elizabeth, I'm right there with you, the freedom of speech and thought is very important.
Prince was a endlessly creative artist, a gifted instrumentalist and a brilliant performer. I always loved his music!

Have a nice Sunday!
Gaby xo

Sami said...

I had never heard of the Filthy 15 list.
Even though I recognize that Prince was a great musician, I'm not a fan of all of his work. I had never known that he was married twice either...
Glad we have freedom of speech!

My name is Erika. said...

You have to wonder if that label actually helped sell his records. Prince really did push the boundaries then, but I agree, I don't find his lyrics that offensive. Times have changed. The 80's were Reagan years and the moral majority and HIV being blamed on gays (God's punishment for being homosexual).I think it was still a time when society didn't want to look at some of its realities and there were still people trying to keep it looking pretty like the images from 1950's TV. It is still true I think, but maybe not quite so much. The sad part is he was a talented person who died too young- I wonder what the toxicology reports will come back as, and I hope he isn't one of the big deaths from this heroin epidemic we seem to be having. I am with you and thank goodness for Freedom for speech. I can't imagine him still being so successful if he was afraid or not allowed to speak. Happy Sunday. :) Hugs-Erika

Jeanie said...

I hate to say this but I listen more to the music than the lyrics. Part of that is a hearing thing, especially with contemporary music with lots of back-up. I just can't understand them. And unless you are told who is singing, how do you know? SO, when he died, I knew he was a big deal but all I could think of was "Purple Rain." Then I started hearing clips and going, "I've heard that!" Or, "I liked that." Now, with Broadway soundtracks, I can usually catch most of it! (It takes a few times through for my favorite Sondheim, though, on some of the numbers!).

SO, I didn't really know Prince's controversy (apart from changing his name) until he died. I do know that it's been a bad year for music icons. And a sad one for music in general.

I'm with you on the Freedom of Speech. I'm all for the ratings of things, I think -- just a 'heads up' -- but to have them banned? I don't think so. Doesn't seem right.

Thanks for popping by the Gypsy. Sorry your daffs are gone but that means lots of other things are in bloom for you! And that can only be good!

Krisha said...

Being the age I am, I didn't care for a lot of the music from that era.......but our sons listened to it, so I heard a lot of these songs....not my taste in music. I think it is a generation parents didn't like rock n roll either. I remember the bands they put on Elvis first being on TV......couldn't show him from waist down. :O
I had not heard of the top 15 Filthy list either, but I'm not surprised either, at who was at the head of it.
Freedom of speech is just that.....a freedom!
Let the man rest in peace.

Pamela Gerard said...

Excellent post -- thank you Elizabeth!

pearshapedcrafting said...

Totally with you on Freedom of speech! I can't say I really knew much about Prince or his music although I did recognise Purple Rain - just not my kind of music I suppose! Hugs, Chrisx

Rita said...

I know little about him at all and he was from Minnesota--LOL!
Truth. Didn't listen to his music, so I haven't a clue about him really.
Don't care for blatantly sexual lyrics, so I doubt I would have liked him anyways.

AiyanaKalyna said...

I loved Prince. His passing was one that hurt my heart. I followed him on social media. He was always so kind, gentle & real. A lot of stars are now an image. Prince had a stage image but on his social media you could see a man who was shy, kind, wicked sense of humor and his love of music was spiritual. I discovered Prince at the age of 13 when Purple Rain came out. I had very strict parents who let me listen to the album over and over again until they were probably wishing my record player broke. Then I got it on tape. :) I have seen Purple Rain over three dozen times. It was always on HBO back then when HBO played everything over and over again. Most don't realize but Prince did a lot for women in music. He helped women break the glass ceiling in music. That Top 15 Filthy List I grew up with all those songs. I am a nice girl, with a good head on my shoulders and highly intelligent. I am not corrupt from that list. Tipper Gore might have got a rating system. That only pushed the music, movie and video game industry to break the boundaries. Tipper might not think it but she did a world of good for entertainment because her rating system let them go past the barriers that were put on them.

Divers and Sundry said...

I loved watching Prince. He had so much energy! His Super Bowl half-time show was the best in memory. Tipper Gore, on the other hand, was a well-meaning but self-righteous judgmental so-and-so. In 1985, I was grown and married and had a baby and was horrified her "decency" campaign got as far as it did. Any parent who gifts an R-rated movie soundtrack to a pre-teen without pre-screening it gets what they deserve. I changed my Facebook profile picture to a purple image in tribute. 2016 is being hard on the music fans :(

Linda Kunsman said...

amen for freedom of speech-and this is a knowledgeable and wonderful tribute to Prince!