Was Prince mixed race

Not from this world

City Hall in San Francisco is lit up in purple, the Empire State Building too, and it rains purple tears on the cover of The New Yorker magazine. After years of abstinence, MTV is suddenly showing hours of music videos again and in Minneapolis there are only special programs on all radio and television stations. As surreal as it may seem 48 hours later, it is true. The Prince of Minneapolis is dead. Totally unexpected and this at the tender age of 57.

Death is always a scandal, Oscar Wilde and Elias Canetti already knew that, but as if there wasn't enough evidence of it, now this. With Prince, the music world loses what is probably the most talented musician of the present, a godly gifted man, a genius whose paths have not always been successful, often even met with incomprehension, but who at regular intervals gave thousands of people enlightening, moving moments.

It is the quiet exit of a utopian who invented his own genre with “Dirty Mind”, his third album. Prince was always like Prince, even if the comparisons with Michael Jackson and James Brown were made at regular intervals. Prince was a thoroughbred musician, one who mastered all instruments and with the help of which he destroyed stylistic drawers in order to build his work on the rubble.

He did this by questioning his race and gender, denouncing social norms and alchemically setting the provocations to music. At the beginning of the eighties, punk, rock, pop, soul, funk, blues and jazz were known as well-behaved, separate musical forms of expression, but all of this was interwoven, mixed into a feverish brew and provocatively thrown at people's feet as a grooving conglomerate not before.

And he never did this with self-importance, even if he was repeatedly threatened with this accusation. The peacock, who celebrated sexuality and the breaking of taboos on stage with lascivious dance steps, was in reality an obsessive creative who not only wanted to break stylistic boundaries with his music, but also wanted to remove socio-cultural narrow-mindedness. For Tipper Gore, the wife of the then US Senator and later Vice President Al Gore, the artistic substance and its social message behind it remained hidden, because Prince wanted to put her on an index because of his explicit texts.

The fact that Prince repeatedly fell victim to misunderstandings is partly due to him. His inimitable talent to produce pop pearls from the raw music of his beginnings made him soar up the charts. With albums such as “Purple Rain” (1984), “Parade” (1986) or his masterpiece “Sign O 'The Times” (1987) he came out as someone who had come to terms with the greatest pop composers, with Brian Wilson or the Duo Lennon / McCartney, was allowed to compare. From then on, Prince had arrived in the mainstream and thus in the area where, although there is a lot of money to be made, the expectations of pop consumers can also become the sword of Damocles.

After building his Paisley Park Studios in Minneapolis, his hometown, which he never left, he increasingly withdrew into the quiet and solitude of his studio. He denounced the enslavement of artists by the record companies and for several years replaced his name with an ineffable symbol. He didn't like the Internet because his love was always the album format and in times of digital downloads music has degenerated into a mere commodity.

So it came about that for many he remained an artist of the eighties because he was never able to build on those times commercially. So it's no wonder that numerous media refer to him as a pop singer in their obituaries, of all people, who is perhaps the most complete musician of modern times, who has recorded countless of his albums single-handedly and who knows how to inspire live like no one else. At the concerts one noticed again and again how extraordinary, how unique he was with his musical vision.

During his “Lovesexy” tour he gave four concerts in a row at the “Bercy” in Paris and as thoroughly choreographed as these appearances were, they all differed musically. There were psychedelic-progressive excursions, a rumble of thunder soaked in a wildly tumbling jazz, and the next day a groovy long-distance run with heavy metal guitars.

This man's sudden departure is not only shocking because of his exceptional appearance, but also because he was “live”, so alive, so present, so seductive with his art. Also unforgettable is the moment in the Zurich Kaufleuten when the tip of his boots appeared at eye level only centimeters away in front of his own face, he leaned down and then let the guitar howl with a smile and a wink and started a solo that still left the hair on the neck Hours later left the trellis. Like few others, he was able to make concerts physically tangible and to lead people to places where everything collapses for a moment at a single point in order to open up a view of the essentials.

And now these moments should never happen again. Death is a scandal, as has been proven several times this young year. And he, too, seemed like David Bowie, this short but oversized man from Minneapolis like “A Man Who Fell To Earth”. Now he has left the earth. The god-favored is no more. The prince is dead. Long live the prince!

Rudolf Amstutz