I remember the first time I saw Prince. I was 10, and my friend from a few doors down invited me over to watch music videos. We grabbed some cans of Tab, settled into the scratchy tweed couch in his rec room and hit play on the VHS remote. We watched a few vids I’d already seen (Wham, Billy Ocean), when suddenly a whiny guitar exploded from the TV’s speakers. On screen, a pair of doors opened to reveal a steamy purple-hazed room filled with flying doves and a teensy, curly-haired, caramel-skinned, nude (!!!) man reclining in a claw-foot tub. As the drum machine kicked in, the steam settled, the birds flew away and the camera zoomed in on the man, who sported what seemed to be a penciled-in ’stache. He stood, glistening with bathwater, got out of the tub and proceeded to crawl across the water-drenched floor.
I felt all the feels (as the saying goes today) and the combination of naked eroticism, insane beats and minimal ’80s art direction of “When Doves Cry” made time stand still. Once it was over I hit rewind—again, and again—until my love for Michael Jackson (who seemed boring in comparison) and Madonna (who lacked The Purple One’s musical chops), was entirely superceded by my newfound ardor for Prince, an obsession that has continued for three decades and counting.
I am destroyed by the news of his death at just 57 (the only small consolation being that there are allegedly decades’ worth of unreleased music locked up at Paisley Park). So while the coroners work out the cause of his death, I will peer through my purple tears to savour every photo I can find showcasing his glorious, glittery, too-goddamn-short career. Stay tuned for the ultimate Prince style gallery.