Prince dies at 57
By Benjamin Irons
Minneapolis born singer and multi-instrument virtuoso Prince has died aged 57, after a reported accidental overdose of Fentanyl; a synthetic opiate painkiller.
The singer was found dead at his home in Paisley Park on the morning of April 21st, after Andrew Kornfield, son of Dr. Howard Kornfield who was said to be in pursuit of medical support for Prince, made a call to Minnesota's Carver County Sheriff's Office reporting the 57 year-old to be unresponsive and unconscious in an elevator.
An official statement from Prince's publicist reads:
"It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson, has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57. There are no further details as to the cause of death at this time."
Aside from the ugliness that is momentarily marring Prince's image, it's best to remember what the singer, songwriter, instrumentalist and general musical soothsayer brought to rock-and-roll. Where to start?
His teenage years were never met with the same novelty and infancy as with most yielding responsibility for the first time; as an 18 year-old prodigy, Prince signed his first contract with music giants Warner Brothers and - not long after - wrote, recorded and produced his own debut studio album, For You (1978). Though this wasn't met with high acclaim, the industry took a strong interest in his ability to work unaided. Then, five years later, Prince dropped 1999.
Popularity grew for the album's leading tracks "1999" and "Little Red Corvette", and thus the spotlight of 1982 shone the brightest on rock-and-roll's newest bright spark. Two years later, he released what would go on to be his most timeless record yet, Purple Rain. The movie of the same title followed, grossing a total of $80 million, which landed him roles in 1986's Under The Cherry Moon and a directing position for 1990's Graffiti Bridge. Thus and so, the musician was launched unto the highest star-studded pedestal of the decade.
With the '80's now commanded and conquered, the singer sought to take the early nineties under his wing. 1992 became the virgin year for Prince's new personage, in the form of an unpronounceable "Love Symbol", which adorned popular 90's records Love Symbol Album (1992), Come (1994), The Gold Experience (1995), Emancipation (1996) and Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic (1999). His status as "The Artists Formerly Known As Prince" however ran short at the dawn of the new Millennium, returning as the reputable "Prince" in the year 2000 - and it was as if he'd never "gone".
But at time when people began disputing as to whether or not Prince had really "gone", an inauguration into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 2004 parried those doubts. 12 years later, we were brought to nought once again following the news of his passing. Though his physical frame is all but a memory, his legacy will be quite the opposite.
* Header illustration by UWE Bristol design student, Charlie Fischer.