Prince, the genre-bending and genre-defining artist, singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer, and creative visionary, died on April 21, 2016 at his residence, Paisley Park, in Chanhassen, Minnesota, according to a statement from his publicist, Yvette Noel-Schure. He was 57.
Specifics of the cause of his death are currently minimal at the time of this posting, but you can read thoughtful reports and tributes to the man and his music on The New York Times and Rolling Stone, for starters.
Prince was always uber-protective about how his music got disseminated in the digital domain and hi-res arenas, but he did see fit to make available both volumes of his recent HITnRUN album series, Phase One and Phase Two, in FLAC on Tidal in late 2015 before their physical incarnations appeared on CD in 2016. You can also get the 192/24 version his self-titled 1979 album Prince — which features the early breakout hit “I Wanna Be Your Lover” and “I Feel for You,” the latter of which became a hit for Chaka Khan in 1984 — on HDtracks. The other two HDtracks Prince offerings are a pair of 2014 releases — Art Official Age, and Plectrumelectrum, his collaboration with backing band 3rdeyegirl — but they’re only available in 44.1/16.
I saw Prince live once, at Madison Square Garden in New York City on the Musicology tour on July 14, 2004 — a wholly riveting performance even from a distance, especially during the middle section solo set, where he sat on a swiveling chair and shared the inherent joy of songs like “Cream,” “Little Red Corvette,” “Adore,” and “Alphabet St.” Sign o’ the Times (1987) remains my favorite Prince album — a tour de mind, body, and soul on wax, which showcases his ongoing mastery of the Linn LM-1 drum machine and his creative usage of the then-cutting edge Fairlight CM1 digital sampler.
My favorite Prince song is “The Cross,” Track 1 on Side 4 of Sign — an intensely moving slow burn that builds to a killer distorted guitar riff and repeat, right up to that final angelic choir following the fade out that hits me deeper and deeper with every listen. “There’ll be bread for all y’all”…
Here’s to sweet eternal dreams of starfish, coffee, and crimson Corvettes, Kid.