It's taken me a while to get around to starting to write this post as I still cannot truly comprehend that I am having to do so. It was late in April this year when I saw a short message on Twitter that I didn't want to believe. The message simply said RIP #Prince. That message simply stopped me in my tracks.
Surely it had to be a mistake, but as more and more people began to post similar messages the realisation began to dawn that the most creative, musical, talented musician the world has ever known had died. The musician who had been there throughout my music buying life releasing album after album almost every year had left us.
As the hours and days passed, rumour, speculation and gossip flourished. I waited. I held my breath not wanting to add to the gossip until reasons for his unexpected death where known. And now we have been told. It wasn't alcohol, it wasn't a ClassA drug, it wasn't an unannounced disease. It was a painkiller. A painkiller that was used for chronic hip pain. Hip pain that had developed due to the amazing performances Prince gave at all those live concerts over the years in his trademark high heeled footwear.
It is truly sad that an artist quite literally gave his life for his art. But what a legacy he has left us. 39 studio albums over the past 38 years, as well as several live albums, movies and additional tracks written for other artists.
I was asked by someone who wanted to discover his music "Which album should I listen to?". How do you answer a question like that? You can't simply choose one album as his albums covered different styles and genres. What I might consider his greatest album, other might not like. What I might think was - for him - a standard album, others might rave about as his best work ever. My answer to that question by the way was to start with his first album (For You), listen to all of it then move onto his second album, then repeat until you'd completed HitNRun Phase2.
Of course that wouldn't be practical. It takes a long time to listen through his entire catalogue (trust me - I know, I've been doing it in my spare time since he passed away). Instead, perhaps a range of his talent would be better.
So I thought about trying to select two tracks from each album he released as the 'must listen to' tracks. They could be any tracks from an album, not just the singles. In fact some of his most creative, innovative work has never been released to the public as singles. This was tricky and soon became four tracks for double albums, and six tracks for triple albums. Still this wasn't easy. Sometimes too many tracks leapt out at me, and I had to include an "honourable mention" extra track.
However, over the past month I've listened through his 39 released albums, and I've selected my personal choice as the standout tracks from those albums.
In my next post I'm going to reveal my choices from the first 19 albums (from 'For You' through to 'Chaos and Disorder'. I'll reveal the remaining 20 albums worth of tracks in a future post.