April 21, 2016: Prince is Found Dead

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Nice passport pic!On April 21, 2016, fans around the world were shocked to learn that Prince had died. In the ensuing years, that news is still difficult to fathom. Here is Best Classic Bands’ report, exactly how it was posted on that day…

Pop star and rocking R&B genius Prince has been found dead at his Paisley Park estate in Chanhassen, MN, this morning (April 21, 2016). Police have yet to confirm that the famed singer, songwriter, musician and actor born Prince Rogers Nelson on June 7, 1958, is deceased until next of kin are notified.

He recently postponed a date in Atlanta, GA on his Piano & A Microphone tour due to illness, and then performed his final 2 shows last Thursday night (April 14). Writer Melissa Ruggieri for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted that “while remnants of the flu that sidelined him last week and caused the postponement of these shows was apparent when he talked (he did apologize for last week’s cancellation), when Prince sang, he sounded sublime” in her review of the first of 2 shows. On his way home afterwards his plane landed in Moline, Ill., and Prince was taken to a hospital emergency room. Three hours later he was released and finished his flight back to his hometown in Minneapolis, Minn.

Prince was born into a musical family in Minneapolis, the son of a pianist/songwriter father and jazz singer mother. He released his first album, For You, on Warner Bros. Records in 1978. His facility at mixing rock, funk and soul into something all his own and exceptionally danceable, and the fact that he played and sang every note on the recording earned him immediate attention as a very gifted artist to watch. He would ultimately become one of the biggest selling recording acts of all time with album sales in excess of 100 million.

Related: Prince tributes from around the globe

His formidable songwriting talent became evident on his self-titled second album that yielded the hits “I Wanna Be Your Lover” (a #1 R&B hit and #11 pop single) and “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” (#13 R&B single).

From that 1978 debut to 1982’s 1999, he would release a studio album for five years in a row. 1999’s title cut peaked at only #12 and was followed by his first 2 Top 10 pop hits: “Little Red Corvette” and “Delirious,” both from the same album.

The consecutive album streak was interrupted in 1983 only because Prince was making his Purple Rain movie and accompanying soundtrack, both of which were released in 1984. The dual release took him from stardom to superstardom. The album, his first #1, stayed at the top for a remarkable 24 consecutive weeks and has sold over 22 million copies worldwide. Purple Rain‘s five singles included his first 2 #1s: “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy.” The title track hit #2 and “I Would Die 4 U” reached #8.

Prince resumed his prolific ways with annual, new studio efforts from 1985 through 1992. And he continued 2 add 2 his tremendous legacy of hit singles. His other Top 10 pop hits include the #1s “Kiss,” “Batdance” and “Cream.” Top 5 hits include “Raspberry Beret,” “Sign o’ The Times,” his duet with Sheena Easton “U Got The Look,” “Diamonds and Pearls” and “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World.” The latter, from 1994, remains his final Top 10 pop single.

Along the way, his compositions scored for others. Chaka Khan scored a #3 hit with “I Feel For You” in 1984 (and a Grammy for Prince as songwriter). 1986’s “Manic Monday” reached #2 for the Bangles. “Nothing Compares 2 U” was a huge worldwide hit for Sinead O’Connor in 1990.

Prince was an incredible guitarist and his riveting live performances were legend. While he spent decades performing sold-out arena tours, he continued to regularly do surprise club dates.

Watch Prince’s interview with CNN’s Larry King in 1999

Related: Prince insiders talk about his 1987 masterpiece, Sign O’ the Times

Best Classic Bands Staff

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