With the recent passing of Prince, how many of us rifled through our cd collections and found some of his music, in the least, “Purple Rain”. I know I did. My original copy of “Purple Rain” came in the form of a cassette tape. That fact alone should give you a clue as to my age and confirm that I was a fan way back in the 80s. It was a tape that travelled many a mile with me in my old red Cutlass Supreme. Ours was a mutual partnership, it accompanied me on many a road trip and I accompanied it – every word of every song, time and time again.
While I had no time to listen to my cd last night, I certainly was listening this morning on my way to work. I’d ejected the grown-up Mozart and Andrea Bocelli cds and replaced them with “Prince – Ultimate”. The young me was definitely in charge this morning. As the music started, I was transported back to my very early 20s in the equally early 80s. My future was bright, my shoulder pads were big and my hair was even bigger. My plans included college, travel, a career in fashion and then getting as far away from my hometown as possible. Funny how things turn out.
As the music played, I sang along and found myself kind of dancing in my seat. Prince had that effect on us – then and now. Sure, he was not your average guy but admit it, he captured our attention. He was like that artsy guy in high school that we had a secret crush on. You know the one, small, soft spoken, flamboyant dresser, aloof, confident, and insanely talented. But your crush was always kept quiet and at a distance. Time passed, we grew up and wondered what happened to him. In Prince’s case, he just kept on being famous. He grew up, too, married a couple of times, and apparently became very active in charities. Unlike me, he never moved away from his home town. Unlike the majority of celebrities, he was never reported to have any drug issues, alcohol problems or freaky habits. Unlike those cloaked in fame, he never seemed to forget his humble roots. How refreshing.
Which leads me to my final point: I suppose I owe everyone an apology. You see, that middle-aged woman you saw on the expressway this morning was me. Yes, I was possibly driving a bit too fast. Yes, my music was definitely a little too loud. Yes, I was probably singing a bit off-key. But, I was kind of having a personal memorial service for a guy I might have had a little crush on back in the 80s. One last time, I needed to put on my “Raspberry Beret”, hop into my “Little Red Corvette” and party like it was “1999”. I’ll miss you, Prince Rogers Nelson. I’ll miss you more than I thought.