Saturday, April 11, 2009

Why I Loved the 80s, Part 2: Prince

(Photo courtesy of

As I was reading the other day about Madonna's latest escapade, I started thinking about the fates of the big pop triumvirate of the 80s: Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Prince. While The Purple One has hardly lived what most of us would consider a normal life, he hasn't dangled any babies; been brought up on charges; become a scary yoga-fembot; or tried to adopt the majority of a small African nation. If the commercial I saw recently is any indication, he's still out there, singing, playing, and dancing, just like he was when I discovered his music in 1983.

I first saw Prince on MTV when I was 12 or 13, and I was enthralled--I had never heard music like that before. He was different, and talented, and (at least in my teenage mind) a little bit dangerous. My mom didn't like him, so that was another bonus. I fell deeply in love. My junior-high-logo windbreaker was covered in Prince buttons, and I read every magazine article and book that I could find about him. My mom was patient enough to listen to hours of facts about Prince (did you know that he plays 17 instruments? and his nickname is Skipper?). I even made my grandmother watch a couple of his videos, but she was less than impressed. I must have listed to my 45 of "When Doves Cry" a million times.

Eventually, after watching Purple Rain for the tenth time, I began to hatch a secret scheme. Prince had developed a reputation for discovering female acts: Vanity, Apollonia, Sheila E, and, later, Carmen Electra. Since I wanted to be a singer when I grew up, I was convinced that I could find a way for him to discover me, too. He would take me home with him to Paisley Park, so that we could work on my music. While I was there, Prince would naturally fall in love with me, and we would get married. I was going to be Mrs. Prince Rogers Nelson!

Seriously. I went through an entire year of my teens with the firm conviction that I would someday marry Prince. Eventually, I grew up a bit, and my passion for Mr. Nelson faded a bit as my musical tastes shifted to hair bands like Bon Jovi. I've continued to follow his music, though, and my wonderful husband took me to see him when he came to Lexington in 1997. I still turn up the radio when "Little Red Corvette" comes on, and I own the three-CD greatest hits collection. There was so much great music back then that it's hard to narrow my favorites down to just a few artists, but Prince was definitely one of the main reasons why I loved the 80s.

(I was going to end this post by embedding the video of "When Doves Cry," but apparently the aforementioned Mr. Nelson does not care for having his material posted to YouTube. Oh, well.)


Junk Drawer Kathy said...

When Doves Cry is forever and always my favorite Prince song. Wow, takes me back. What's hysterical to me is that back in 1983 when 1999 came out, I was all "1999?? That's soooooo far away!"

Stacie's Madness said...

Prince is the BOMB!

absepa said...

Kathy: We were sure there would be flying cars and people walking around in spacesuits by 1999, weren't we? When, in reality, it wasn't really all that different from 1983.

Stacie's Madness: I know! He's still awesome, even at 50, and after two hip replacements. He will always be one of my favorites.

JD at I Do Things said...

Little Red Corvette!!!!

"And the ri-i-i-i-ide . . . "

YES! Awesome. No, you never heard any lurid details about Prince, other than a romantic relationship here and there. I'm sorry your dreams of becoming Mrs. Prince Nelson were never realized, but I bet you're pretty happy with Mr. Nerd, right?

(And Prince NEVER ages!)

absepa said...

JD: That's my favorite part of "Little Red Corvette." I always sing it extra-loud.

Yep, it's true. I'm probably much better suited to Mr. Nerd. I doubt that Prince and I would have had much in common, in the long run.

Carl said...

Loved the songs, movies from the 80s. How about those B horror films? Those are the best. But I will never go back to those hairdos, clothes, or any fashion senses in the 80s.

absepa said...

Carl: I loved the music and the movies, too...but I also loved some of the fashion. I'm not saying I would wear legwarmers again, but some of those clothes were a lot of fun.