Prince’s 7 most powerful moments

By Drum Digital
26 April 2016

A few of his most memorable moments

Name change

Prince famously abandoned his birth name in 1993, in favour of a symbol that comprised the symbols for male and female. This was his way of rebelling against his record label, Warner Bros., who refused to release his enormous back catalogue of music at a steady pace. The press referred to him as the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, and the singer often sported the word “SLAVE” on his cheek during public appearances while he fought Warner for control of his musical output.

Four days on from the shock death of music mega star Prince, the world is still reeling from the loss of one of the planet’s best loved talents. Born Prince Rogers Nelson in 1958, the singer came to global prominence in the ‘80s with a string of hits such as Purple Rain, 1999 and Little Red Corvette. We look at some of the reasons why the late, great singer was such a trailblazer in the world of music.

Sexual lyrics

Prince was raised as a Seventh-day Adventist, before converting to become a Jehovah's Witness in adult life, but that didn’t stop him belting out some seriously sexy lyrics. In fact the words to his song Darling Nikki, with references to masturbation, eventually led to the creation of Parental Advisory stickers now seen on countless album and single covers. The track enraged Tipper Gore, ex-wife of former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, so much that she promptly formed the Parents Music Resource Center - who came up with the sticker censor.

Paisley Park

Before things soured with Warner, the company helped fund Prince’s own label - Paisley Park Records. Paisley Park was set up in Prince’s home city of Minnesota in 1985 after the massive success of his film and album Purple Rain. The label shares its name with Prince’s sprawling recording complex, Paisley Park Studios. Despite the label folding in 1994, the studio remained and Prince continued living and recording there right up until his death, when he was found unconscious in one of the property’s elevators. During his career, the $10 million estate became a self-functioning music machine, boasting a 10-man wardrobe department, state of the art recording equipment and even a ‘Galaxy Room’ for quiet meditation time. It has since become a place for mourners to pay their respects to the fallen idol.

Music was his life

Not content with merely making smash hit records, Prince lived and breathed music and didn’t think twice about working all through the night to tweak his material. He was also known for singing for hours at clubs after playing sold out concerts, as remembered by British actress Tilda Swinton, who caught him at New York nightspot Nell’s in the ‘80s: “At midnight or maybe even later Prince turned up having played Madison Square Garden for three hours or something like that. And he played for a further three or four hours for about 60 of us. He played about 15 instruments; he was like Mozart. Amazing musician. Really extraordinary."

Oscar winner

Prince’s trophy cabinet didn’t just boast Grammy Awards (he won seven!), but also a Golden Globe for his Happy Feet track The Song of the Heart and, even more impressively, an Oscar for his Purple Rain score, from his film of the same name. Prince was huge fan of the Beatles, and with Purple Rain he got to emulate the Fab Four by dominating the box office and music charts like the British band did with A Hard Day’s Night. However the Beatles didn’t manage to bag the Oscar, losing out to the My Fair Lady score.

Famous ex-girlfriends

Prince was twice married, firstly to backup singer Mayte Garcia and then to businesswoman Manuela Testolini. However as one of the world’s sexiest stars, he had a whole host of A-list flings. Over the years he was romantically linked to Madonna, Kim Basinger, Sherilyn Fenn, Carmen Electra and his former collaborator Sheila E

Shared his hits Everyone will have a different Prince song they like the most, but there may be a few extra hits that have escaped your notice. The Bangles’ 1986 song Manic Monday was penned by Prince, as was Chaka Khan’s I Feel For You, released two years earlier. Perhaps his most famous donated work though is Sinead O'Connor’s powerful ballad Nothing Compares 2 U, which hit the number one spot all over the world upon its release in 1990.   © Cover Media

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