Baby, You Were a Star

I haven’t blogged in a while, and my plan for today was to write a little article about one of my favorite topics, Jazzfest, which starts this weekend. After learning of Prince’s death this morning, however, I just wasn’t feeling it, and it is with his music playing in the background that I find myself trying to keep my feet still and put my thoughts about his role in my life into words.

For those of us who lived out our high school years in the awesome 80s, Prince was as much a part of our world as big hair and shoulder pads. My earliest memories of Prince begin somewhere around my freshman year, with songs like I Wanna Be Your Lover, Little Red Corvette, 1999, and of course, Darling Nikki, the one we listened to in secret because our parents would never have approved. 🙂 Prince was incredibly talented, controversial, a little naughty, and, somehow, a bunch of kids from the Texas Panhandle felt a connection with this weird little purple-loving guy from Minnesota. It was when the Purple Rain album was released, though, that his music became the soundtrack of our days at HHS. How many hundreds of times did we play When Doves Cry?  Some of us were scolded for a suggestive move or two in a dance routine performed to Let’s Go Crazy at a pep rally my junior year. And then there was, of course, Purple Rain, so beautiful and loaded with emotion. We could sing these songs in our sleep. I just about wore that album out during my record store girl days, and I sold a copy of it to almost everyone I knew. Prince’s music was innovative and energizing and just plain fun. It was a staple at dances and parties, and it was a permanent fixture in many of our car’s cassette decks. When Around the World in a Day, the followup to Purple Rain was released, I fell in love with the song Raspberry Beret, listening to it ad nauseam on my Walkman. I will always associate that song with a school trip to Colorado, as I think I basically just hit play and rewind for the entire bus trip. It is truly hard to think of my high school years without Prince somewhere in the background.

While I continued to enjoy his music in college, and even after, it is 80s Prince that will forever have a special place in my heart, and on this sad day, I have found solace in those wonderful songs that are so intertwined with such a fun and carefree time. We have lost so many great musicians this year, and while I have felt a certain sadness for each loss, this one just knocked the breath out of me. It somehow feels much more personal.

I will be at Jazzfest this weekend, and I expect there will be many Prince tributes from various performers.  I hope to feel a little bit of his magic at the fairgrounds, and I’ll be ready to dance and sing along. For tonight, though, I will let his music take me back 30+ years, and I’ll smile and maybe even dance a little while I’m there. Oh, and it’s raining. Wonder if it’s purple…

Thank you for a funky time, Prince. You will be missed.

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