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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Many Writers Can’t Avoid The Prince Of Death



My 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.

Of 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.

Music 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 decades.

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 alongside it. 

The 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.

Still, 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.

I 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.

Fame 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. 

I 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.

Look, 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?


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2016

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