Michael Maiello's picture

    So Far, 2016 Is Far Less Glamorous Than It Should Be

    First we lose Bowie, now Prince?  Friends, this is no way to run an economy and it's definitely a damned poor way to run a culture. I want a word with whoever is making these decisions.  They need to be removed from office, at the very least, if not put on trial for out and out incompetence.

    What does Prince mean to me?  I didn't event really get to know him until the Symbol years, but what a time that was.  The story, briefly, is that Warner Brothers claimed ownership of his identity and Prince wasn't having it. For one thing, Prince was the name his parents gave him and he held the namesake of his father, a jazz pianist. Though he bridged funk to disco to pop, he was not the creation of some studio.  He created himself and brought the studio along for the ride.

    To get out of his contract with Warner, he did two bold things.  First, he used refuse from his own studio to fill up an album called "Chaos and Disorder" and then he dropped his own name for a symbol that he could trademark and own in a way that our system would not let a man own his own name.

    For this he was widely ridiculed for being weird.  But he detractors missed the point.  Sometimes you have to be weird when you're at war with a stupid system.

    He went on to make great music.  I particularly loved the four disc Crystal Ball set and The Gold Experience (bonus points for excellent use of Kirstie Alley). Prince eventually reclaimed his name and managed through the entire experience with his integrity attacked, which is damned impressive given the viciousness of snark from below that awaits anyone willing to really put themselves out there on principle the way Prince did.

    Another thing I have always respected in artists from Shakespeare to Warhol to Bellow and Updike and Roth and Allen is the ability to be prolific and to gave a long career. My wife and I just saw an energetic, soulful and funky performance by Earth, Wind and Fire, led by the three surviving members of the original band.  I'd always assumed I'd be able to see Prince another decade or maybe two from now.  Not to lose the guy at 57.

    Dearly Beloved, Let's Go Crazy.


    What about The Black Album? I figure he was out to counter Manson's fomenting Black Revolution - Helter Skelter/Little Piggies for white people. A reverse spin on the dial, and a counter-twist to the story. And poof - all Symbolic.

    1st performance of Purple Rain here.

    And from MTV to Radiohead....

    I'm kind of a creep....


    538 adds their tribute as only they can...

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