RIP Prince. Those words just don’t look right on the page, and the concept they stand for is even harder to parse. But at 10.07am on Thursday morning Prince Rogers Nelson was pronounced dead at his Paisley Park home in Minneapolis. He was just 57. Of course, Prince leaves behind an incredible legacy; from the ’70s to the ’90s he exerted a powerful and diffuse force upon pop music, style, culture and the music industry. His vision and insistence on creative autonomy – then, as now, a contested concept – resulted in a long-running battle with his label Warner Bros throughout the ’90s. Then there’s the songs: Kiss, Purple Rain, Pink Beret, Little Red Corvette, If I Was Your Girlfriend, When Doves Cry…
Here at Point Blank we’re still trying to come to terms with this massive loss to music. As therapy, we decided to pool our favourite Prince tracks and, in doing so, tap into those highly personal memories that refract out of those perfectly formed pieces of pop culture. Now go out and dance.
I Wanna Be Your Lover, chosen by Declan McGlynn.
“Impossible to pick one track – mostly because none are on YouTube – BUT it’s gotta be I Wanna Be Your Lover. Dimitri from Paris edit needs a special mention too. A close joint second for: Controversy, If I Was Your Girlfriend, The Beautiful Ones, Hot Thing.
Just before he started his Hit n Run tour, there was a rumour on a wet Tuesday night he was sound-checking at Electric Ballroom. No one really believed it as he hadn’t played since the O2 run but I took a risk and got out of bed and got a cab to Camden by myself. There was about 70 people in a queue outside the venue, not knowing what was happening, though there was the sound of some bass rumbles.
About an hour passed and most people left, and I was about to go too but at around 1:15am the crowd started to move and we all ran in. The whole place was basically empty but for maybe 100 people made up of journalists and their guests. We joined and I watched him play a whole load of funk classics from about 10 metres away. We weren’t allowed to take photos during the show, but I did snap this from where I was standing once he left the stage.”
Sign o’ the Times, chosen by JC Concato
“A friend of mine insisted on taking me to see Prince in June 1987, for the Sign of The Times Tour. Prince had become huge in France with Purple Rain but until then, I hadn’t been interested in the Prince phenomenon, but I came along not expecting much. Needless to say, two minutes into the song Sign o’ the Times, I was blown away, I had never heard and seen anything like this, and probably never will. Prince became my biggest influence until the mid 90s, and was central to my music making learning path. Even during times when I would listen a lot less to his music, I have never stopped listening to this song, and is not only my Prince track but probably in my top five of all songs.”
Raspberry Beret, chosen by Sarah Glayzer.
“For me it’s Raspberry Beret which when I was little I misheard as ‘red spherical dress’. I have very fond childhood memories of my mum who was a cake maker, singing to Prince and icing birthday cakes in the kitchen.”
When Doves Cry, chosen by Louise Brailey.
“The day after the 1995 Brit Awards aired on ITV there was only one subject my friends and I talked about at lunchtime. Prince. It was the year he’d written ‘SLAVE’ on his cheek as a stand against his record label, but I don’t really think we were fussed about the political wranglings over creative freedom. We just thought he looked so beautiful. My favourite track predates that era though and is, well, kinda obvious. It was either that or Batdance.”
Sexy MF, chosen by Jules Brookes.
“I love the horns and jazzy groove. The consummate performer, I can’t believe he’s gone.”
Get Off, chosen by Rob Cowan
And here’s the note that was passed to him at a Prince gig in 1995. Yes, that’s the address for the after party, held at a tiny club on Kingley Street: