And the first thing I would have to say is that I'm embarrassed at how little I knew about the incredibly talented and prolific artist. How did I miss the whole Prince phenomenon? Am I just too old? (Don't answer that.)
Sure, I'd heard of him and "Purple Rain." (Although I wasn't exactly clear on whether or not that was the title of a song or a movie. Turns out it was both -- who knew?) I had also heard the occasional Prince song on the radio -- "When Doves Cry" or "1999" most often -- but thought they were catchy tunes, nothing more. I was never motivated to pursue his music beyond that. In fact, if you had asked me about him before last week I probably would have responded by saying something like, "Is that guy still around?"
And I'm from Minneapolis!
About the only things I can recall about Prince were that he once bought a house in the old-money Minneapolis suburb of Orono and painted it purple, much to the horror of his Pillsbury and Cargill neighbors. (Think of Mr. T's "Chainsaw Massacre" on the old Armour estate in Lake Forest.)
The other is the time I was out driving near Lake Minnetonka in the 1980s or '90s and was stopped at a light. Up pulled a scrawny black guy on a purple motorcycle and a burly white guy on another (his bodyguard?). If it wasn't Prince it was an elaborate impersonation. I wasn't overly impressed, though. I think I said something to the effect, "Hey, everybody, isn't that that Prince guy over there? It is? Cool. Now where should we eat?"
It's not like he was Paul Kantner or anything.