While I reference music I like here once in a while, I don’t go on and on about how certain artists are uniquely important to me or influential to me. Friends of mine who are themselves artists or musicians or for whom certain music plays a significant role in their lives understandably feel differently in that regard, but for the most part I’m just a music fan. I’m the sort of person whose life has only been truly influenced by musicians to a limited degree, even if I’ve enjoyed their work and listen to a wide variety of stuff.
Prince pushes the limits of that stance, however. Prince, his music, his image and his videos hit big at a perfect time in my life and it’s hard to overstate how much of a gateway drug he was for white suburban kids whose parents didn’t like cool stuff. To the extent a lot of dorks my age ever got into funk or soul or other black music in the early 80s, it was more likely that it came via Prince first. He snuck onto MTV with some radio-friendly rock hits and then fans could go backward in his catalog to some more funky things and then go along with him into the future for the more adventurous things he’d eventually do. Oh, and there was a LOT of sex which came with that whole package. Between him and Madonna, a whole generation of early MTV watchers were catapulted into late adolescence with a very sexy quickness.
I don’t care a lick if it Prince had nothing to do with baseball. His death today is one of the few times an artist’s death has truly knocked the wind out of me and made me think hard and deep about how important he was to me. Cobain. Bowie. Prince. So far that may be it.
But definitely Prince. Prince ruled.
If you need a baseball excuse, fine: