One year later after the death of so many celebrities in the year 2016; I’m still in disbelief.
News of Prince Rogers Nelson’s tragic death on April 21, 2016, left many of us in shock. Many of us who grew up in the 70s and 80s came to know Prince’s persona and his music. This writer was a fan since the 1999 album era. I had heard other Prince songs from earlier albums, but my jam was “Delirious”. The melody line of “Delirious” had a repetitious groove which in its own high-pitched tone could have served as a track for an old school game show, or at least a game show contemporary of the song. It’s lyrics we’re sexually suggestive, but muffled enough to be played on radio without complaint, or edit. Purple Rain followed.
The three hit songs of the Purple Rain album (“When Doves Cry”, “Let’s Go Crazy” and its title track, “Purple Rain”)) aggressively assaulted the airwaves as only Prince could do. For weeks this trifecta of musical pop-goodness permeated the airwaves in heavy radio rotation.
As I was only 13 years old, at the time of the movie’s release, I was too young to view the movie. I remember viewing this flick, in its entirety, later in my youth at a friend’s house whose parents were “less restrictive”, as far as VHS movie viewing choices were concerned.
Parental Restrictions aside, Purple Rain’s music and movie made most of us move. It made some of us think. Moreover, Purple Rain made all of us listen. The music promoted the movie, or was it the other-way-around? Purple Rain’s (the album, that is) release in the summer of 1984, made this 13-year-old-music-aficionado’s ears perk up and pay attention.
Thirty years later, this self-proclaimed Super-fan wasn’t sure how to deal with the Minneapolis-genius’ death. I, being an avid reader, retreated into this activity, which I knew too well. As I prefer non-fiction, I remembered that Touré was commissioned to write a biography about Prince. I was waiting for its release.
On April 21, I could wait for this anticipated title’s release, no longer. I purchased Touré’s book, entitled, I would Die for You. Thank goodness for the invention of iBooks. I purchased the title that day. I read that book in a weekend, I had never read a book in that short of time before, but this reading was more therapeutic than informative, although I learned many things from this as well. Reading this title helped this fan to put the rock icon’s career into perspective. Very eloquently, Touré celebrated the rock star’s life and his music and other entertainment stylings.
One book wasn’t enough for this super fan; this reader needed more input. Alan Light also wrote a book called, Let’s Go Crazy: the Making of Purple Rain.
This writer purchased Light’s title as an audiobook. This was perfect, because in May of 2016, I traveled on a bus to Washington, DC as a chaperone for my son’s eighth grade trip. The audiobook came in handy for the 22-hour-round-trip bus ride. Listening to Light’s words, narrated by Fred Burman, illuminated the importance and value of
Purple Rain the movie, the album and the song. All three had success, and branded a place in our pop-culture memory forever.
Before Purple Rain had branded that spot, very few had heard of Prince. Some of us had, but the Purple Rain trifecta (album, song and movie) brought the musician and his works to the forefront of all of our minds.
If someone had asked, “Who is Prince?” in 1984, I’m sure the question was quickly answered, and we never heard that question repeated. Prince’s role and importance in music is so great that Ahmir Thompson a.k.a. Questlove teaches a class at NYU. The topic is Prince and his music.
Some people might contend that Prince’s Purple Rain could be a university class topic, in itself. There were many works before Purple Rain and many works since the Purple Rain era, which leads me to the title of this post. “Sometimes it Snows in April”, is a song on the soundtrack entitled, “Parade”. The soundtrack to the movie entitled, “Under the Cherry Moon” (UtCM).
Released in 1986, UtCM was a drama shot in the south of France. This movie, shot in monochromatic film, didn’t have the commercial success that Prince’s freshman cinematic effort earned, but UtCM had a hell of a soundtrack, anyway. The 12 songs featured on the soundtrack proved his genius once again, even if only three songs had tremendous billboard and commercial success. Those song titles are: “Girls and Boys”, “Kiss”‘ “Anotherloverholenyohead”. The last title is honestly spelled that way; no spaces involved in that title. To better understand that title, inserting spaces in the proper spaces, the title reads: Another lover hole n yo head.
Misspelled song titles aside, this writer borrowed the 12th track title as the title of this article: “Sometimes it Snows in April”. In UtCM, after lead character, Christopher Tracy (portrayed by Prince), is murdered. this ominous and sad ballad of “Sometimes it Snows in April” begins. The 6 minute, 49 seconds long song covers from the death scene and extends to the credits. The eerie feeling of the music in this last scene, in tandem with the monochromatic film, leaves the listener, and viewer of the scene uneasy, and very sad.
Sadness is how many fans felt on April 21, 2016. Most of us could probably tell you what we we’re doing when we received that sad news. One of my colleagues heard that news from another colleague, who relayed it to me. At the proper time, I checked the internet, and my news feed confirmed the unthinkable.
After corralling sentiments of the unthinkable, reading Touré and Light’s books, respectively, kept me balanced and put an artist’s life’s works into perspective. Touré and Alan Light helped me to keep that perspective. Thank you to both of them.
So, WordPress admin and the WordPress reading community please consider this post a positive review and recommendation of the titles of I Would Die for You by Touré and Let’s Go Crazy: the Making of Purple Rain by Alan Light, narrated by Fred Burman, respectively.