If losing Glenn Frey from the Eagles was losing a piece of the soundtrack of my youth, then losing Prince is losing a piece of the soundtrack of my adolescence. And what an adolescence it was. We came into age in the 80’s…a time of pop music, tight-rolled jeans, neon colors, jelly shoes and hot cars with t-tops. We had really big hair and really long mullets, high-top Reeboks and Coca-Cola shirts. There were no cellphones and no internet…we instead spent time with our friends, riding around, gathering in fields, going to ballgames, listening to music. And Prince was there with us all providing the musical backdrop.
I discovered Prince in middle school…and to be honest, I had no idea what the lyrics of some of his songs really meant. A friend of mine explained the lyrics of Little Red Corvette. At 13, I was still really naive. Prince’s lyrics could be racy and raw but his songs could also be an anthem, beautiful and moving. Either way, they ushered in the realities of the world for many of us.
Throughout middle school and high school, Prince always had popular music on the radio, and there weren’t many of us who didn’t listen to it. As in over and over. We had cassettes…cassettes we would flip over to the other side or rewind to just the right spot to hear our favorite songs.
Somewhere around 1985, I fell head over heels in love. My boyfriend and I spent so many hours riding around in his bright blue Firebird, t-tops out, music loud. Prince had just released the Around the World in a Day album (very different from Purple Rain, by the way). We found the song Raspberry Beret and it became ours. My sister said, “When I heard Prince died, I thought of you and Bill and summertime.” That was us in that Firebird…me, Bill, summertime and Prince.
It’s hard losing a chunk of my life’s soundtrack. With each song, each piece of rhythm or scream of the guitar, a memory is attached…sudden, clear, vivid memories. As odd as it may seem to some, it’s very emotional and it makes me really sad to lose the author of the music. And I know other soundtrack providers will follow. Loverboy can’t stay young forever…Def Leopard won’t live on for infinity…and it’s only a matter of time before Stevie Nicks, Janet Jackson, Lionel Richie, Blondie, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, and Madonna, just to name a few, slip away.
I told my daughter, “Prince was a bad-ass.” (She’s 22 and old enough to hear it.) At the moment, there was no other way for me to sum him up. There weren’t enough words for me to express and explain just who he was. Prince was cool, talented, beautiful, a bad-ass…and he will be missed.