The Prince Rogers Nelson Experience In The 70s And 80s

When someone of Prince Rogers Nelson’s greatness passes away, you can’t help but remember how you first met, the impact upon your life, and the magnitude of your loss. I never had the opportunity to meet or see Prince in person but felt as though I knew him because his music was part of the soundtrack of my life.

The year was 1979, and I was 19. There, unfortunately, wasn’t much going on in my life as I then coasted in a partially vegetative state, waiting for life to happen. I remember it being a weekend, and both I and my best friend, Michelle, were hanging out at our respective homes. We were already Prince fans and had purchased Prince, his second album. (Yes, it was vinyl, played on a turntable.) Although I loved music but was never much of a dancer, “Sexy Dancer” would move me to dance solo in my living room.

It was a Friday or Saturday night, and two best buddies had nowhere to go. We both heard Prince was to make an appearance on a late night show. Neither of us had a car, so we decided we would experience the TV show together while talking on the phone. Michelle and I were both shocked at what we saw as Prince initially appeared on stage with his back to the audience, and when he turned around, he was shirtless and had on what looked like tights and medium-length, relaxed hair–just like on the Prince album cover. It’s hard to believe the handsome young man is now gone, as noted by The Inquisitr.

We knew he was good-looking, but he seemed androgynous, and it’s difficult to explain my feelings, but remember, this was 1979. After he finished singing, “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” it didn’t matter. I decided then that he was downright sexy–the hair, the eyes, the way he moved. It took Michelle a bit longer to rally behind the budding musical genius, but she joined me. What was it about Prince? I loved tall, chocolate brown men, but was still attracted to him, and so were thousands of other women.

I kept up with most of Prince’s music over the next several years, mainly buying singles, but the peak of the phenomenon was in 1984. “Purple Rain” and “When Doves Cry” couldn’t be played on the radio enough, and of course, I bought the album. Not only did I purchase the record, but I saw the movie in the theater at least four times. I remember the first time was with a friend from work, the second time was with my brother, third with my then fiance, and a final time, alone.

I couldn’t get the songs or the film scenes out of my mind. It seemed as though I were there with Prince, and the fictionalized version of his purple life seemed authentic. It was the peak of my fantasy-world days, and I couldn’t seem to separate the artist and the international icon from “The Kid” in the movie. I empathized with his suffering through the dysfunction of his family of origin. “Oh yes, every great artist must suffer, and this explains the phenomenon of Prince,” I said to myself. (You might be able to see Purple Rain in your city this weekend, per Variety.)

Did I ever get over my Prince mania? Sure did. But I never stopped loving Prince, so when I heard he had hip problems, I became concerned. When I saw him at the 2015 Grammy Award show using a cane, I thought, “He looks good, but he’s using a cane.” If his health was failing, I wondered if he would let his fans know or would privacy be more important to him.

On April 18, when I read that Prince had been taken to a hospital but was now okay, I relaxed a bit. Devastation hit me hard on April 21 when I read of his death. I was browsing a news website, looking for what was happening in the world, so I could write about it. At the time, Prince’s death hadn’t been confirmed, but in my heart, I knew he was gone. The unique man and his genre-defying music won’t be forgotten.

[Photo by Lieu Heung Shing/AP]

Warning: Some scenes in the video are not suitable for all audiences.