Birthday: June 7, 1958 Black Celebrities Born on June 7
Died At Age: 57
Sun Sign: Gemini
Also Known As: Prince Rogers Nelson
Born in: Minneapolis
Famous as: African-American Singer
Height: 5'3" (160 cm), 5'3" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Bria Valente, Manuela Testolini, Mayte Garcia
father: John L. Nelson
mother: Mattie Shaw
siblings: Duane Nelson, John R. Nelson, Lorna L. Nelson, Norrine Nelson, Sharon L. Nelson, Tyka Nelson
children: Boy Gregory Nelson
Died on: April 21, 2016
City: Minneapolis, Minnesota
U.S. State: Minnesota
Founder/Co-Founder: NPG Records, Paisley Park Records
Who was Prince?
Prince Rogers Nelson, better known as just Prince, was an American singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist widely regarded as the pioneer of Minneapolis sound. Famous for his flamboyance, powerful voice, and eclectic behavior, he boasted of a career that spanned four long decades, a rarity in the music world where success is fickle. With worldwide sales of 100 million records, he is counted amongst the best-selling artists of all time. The son of a pianist and a jazz singer, Prince inherited his musical talents from his parents who encouraged him from a young age to pursue music as a career. Under his parents’ guidance he developed a deep love for music and began creating tunes when he was just seven. He also taught himself how to play the piano, guitar and drums. He became a professional singer and performer as a young man and earned much popularity with his eponymous album ‘Prince.’ His highly sexualized lyrics, creative compositions, and incorporation of elements of funk, dance, and rock music made him stand out from others of his generation. He enjoyed a very successful career that was cut short by his untimely death at the age of 57. ‘Rolling Stone’ ranked Prince at number 27 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
Childhood & Early Life
Prince Rogers Nelson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on June 7, 1958 to an African-American couple Mattie Della and John Lewis Nelson. His father was a pianist and songwriter and his mother was a jazz singer. He suffered from epileptic seizures as a young child.
He became interested in music at a young age and was encouraged by his parents. He taught himself how to play the piano, guitar and drums, and wrote his first tune when he was seven.
His parents separated when he was ten, and the next few years were spent repeatedly switching homes, sometimes living with his father and sometimes with his mother.
He formed his first band, Grand Central (later known as Champagne), when he was 14.
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Prince released his debut album ‘For You’, in 1978, which was followed by ‘Prince’, in 1979. The album featured the hit singles ‘Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?’ and ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ and went platinum, effectively establishing Prince’s career.
Being an African-American he initially wrote songs for the black youth though with time his songs became popular with youngsters of all races. His lyrics were marked with sexual innuendo which made him a youth icon as could be seen from the success of the albums ‘Dirty Mind’ (1980),’Controversy’ (1981), and ‘1999’ (1982).
In 1984, he released the album ‘Purple Rain’ which sold more than 13 million copies in the US and spent 24 consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The same year he appeared in a rock musical drama film of the same name, making his film debut. The film became a cult classic.
Over the next few years, he toured extensively and also recorded albums such as ‘Parade’ (1986), ‘Sign o' the Times’ (1987), ‘Lovesexy’ (1988), and ‘Batman’ (1989). All of these albums were international commercial hits.
In the 1990s he started performing with a new backing band, the New Power Generation. In 1993 he changed his stage name to , an unpronounceable symbol which was a combination of the symbols for male (♂) and female (♀). The symbol was soon dubbed “The Love Symbol.”
The prolific artist continued to bring out hit albums throughout the late 1990s with ‘The Gold Experience’ in 1995, ‘Chaos and Disorder’ and ‘Emancipation’ in 1996, ‘Crystal Ball / The Truth’ in 1998, and ‘Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic’ in 1999.
His career touched even greater heights in the new millennium with the release of the album ‘Musicology’ in 2004. The album was an international hit and reached the Top 5 in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany.
He continued to tour and perform extensively over the decade, playing 21 concerts in London during the summer of 2007. In 2009, he performed two shows at the Montreux Jazz Festival and the next year he went on his 20Ten Tour, a concert tour in two legs with shows in Europe.
In May 2015, following the death of Freddie Gray, an African-American who died in police custody after his arrest in Baltimore, protests erupted in the city. Prince released a song titled ‘Baltimore’ in tribute to Gray and in support of the protesters. He also held a tribute concert for Gray at his Paisley Park estate called 'Dance Rally 4 Peace.'
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His album ‘Purple Rain’ is consistently ranked among the best albums in music history and is widely regarded as Prince's magnum opus. It has sold over 22 million copies worldwide, becoming the sixth best-selling soundtrack album of all time.
His album ‘Sign o' the Times’, which had elements of funk, soul, psychedelic pop, and rock music, and featured tracks like ‘If I Was Your Girlfriend’, ‘Housequake’ and ‘It’ was another one of his mega hits. In 1989, ‘Time Out’ magazine ranked it as the greatest album of all time.
Awards & Achievements
In 1985, he won the Academy Award for Best Original Song Score for ‘Purple Rain.’
From 32 nominations, Prince won seven Grammys including Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for ‘Purple Rain’ in 1985 and Best Traditional R&B Performance for ‘Musicology’ in 2005.
Two of his albums – ‘1999’ and ‘Purple Rain’ – were awarded the Grammy Hall of Fame Award.
Personal Life & Legacy
Prince was romantically involved with several women over the years including including Kim Basinger, Madonna, Vanity, Sheila E., Carmen Electra, and Susanna Hoffs.
He married for the first time in 1996, aged 37. His wife was the 22 year old singer Mayte Garcia. The couple had a baby boy who was born with Pfeiffer syndrome and died a week later. Their marriage collapsed under the strain of this tragedy and they divorced in 1999.
In 2001, Prince married Manuela Testolini. This marriage too did not last long.
In early April 2016 he reported that he was not feeling well and postponed his performances. It was also said that he was being treated for drug overdose. On April 21, 2016, he was found dead in an elevator. He was 57 years old.
At the time of his death Prince had a net worth of $300 million.