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Saturday, April 23, 2016
Many Writers Can’t Avoid The Prince Of Death
first concert was Lionel Richie, circa 1982. I was 15. I guess admitting this may disqualify me from
talking about music although he did make it to the Rock Hall of Fame. Perhaps I
made up for it by seeing some of the greatest musicians and bands over the next
35 years: U2, Madonna, Billy Joel, Elton
John, Duran Duran Pet Shop Boys and Depeche Mode. I also had the pleasure of seeing Prince
perform at his peak during his Purple Rain tour.
the biggest-selling solo artists of the 80’s, look who has died in just the
last few years – Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and now Prince. The one that I thought was fated to an early
death, ala Marilyn Monroe, was Madonna, and yet she is still going strong at
the age of a grandma.
is subjective, that is the musical tastes of people are totally personal and
unobjective. But, we see patterns emerge
in terms of sales, media attention, influence on the industry, social impact,
reviews, awards and durability. No matter
how you judged a musical artist, by any standard most people can appreciate the
accomplished artistry of Rock Hall of Famer Prince. He gave the world his all for nearly four
When Doves Cry is arguably his
best known if not best song. He could sing, move, play the guitar, write -- he was
a multi-talented creative force with a witty but mysterious persona to go
truth is he’s been dead for a while. At
57, he was still producing music and performing but he was not at all in top form. He’s been absent from the conversation on
music for a few years. This makes sense
and doesn’t take away from his early accomplishments. I’m just saying that he, like most musical
acts, can have long successful careers but only be at the top for so long.
There’s too much competition for top billing and new acts and youth will force
the bar higher.
it’s a tragedy to lose such a talent and it devastates us when someone dies
this young. His obituary shouldn’t have appeared for at least another 20-25
years. But add him to the ever-growing
long list of celebrities who perished way before their natural expiration date.
was 10 when I heard a special news report splashed across my black and white
television. It was 1977. Elvis was found dead. The King of Rock ‘n Roll was gone. Not much has
surprised me since then. It was
drugs. It was drugs for Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Jim Hendrix, Amy Winehouse,
Whiney Houston, Michael Jackson, and now, possibly Prince.
and fortune in the creative arts have their price. Bright flames burn quickly. It’s no different
in the book world. Many talented authors
accidentally, intentionally, or by way of lifestyle kill themselves before
their life was supposed to end. It is a deal with the Devil.
don’t know which comes first – the reckless life that inspires writing or the
writer who lives recklessly – but many writers are one drink, one needle, one
whore away from death by addiction and disease.
The world only makes sense or seems tolerable to some writers when they
are intoxicated or living dangerously.
as a fan, I’ll take the trade Prince gave us a lot and in exchange he takes an
early exit. The question though is
this: Did he bargain for such a result?