Prince

Pop Musician / Singer / Songwriter

Born: 7 June 1958
Died: 21 April 2016
Birthplace: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Best known as: The funky star who recorded 1999 and changed his name to a symbol

Name at birth: Prince Rogers Nelson

A striking and influential star of the late 20th century, Prince wrote and produced funky pop songs that had cross-genre appeal, including the top-sellers 1999, When Doves Cry and Kiss. He remained a popular and enigmatic figure until his sudden death in 2016. Prince was originally known as a kind of eccentric genius: he dressed in high heels and outrageous finery and was so multitalented that on many songs he played all the instruments himself. He was an early star of MTV, with a user-friendly musical style that combined funk, rock and pop. The 1984 feature film Purple Rain, in which Prince played The Kid, a rock star very much like himself, took him to new heights of stardom. Prince's reputation for independent thinking was reinforced in the 1990s, when he changed his name to The Artist Formerly Known As Prince (or TAFKAP), then to an unpronounceable symbol -- reproduced on the internet as O(+> -- and finally (in 2000) back to Prince. He continued to write and perform, operating out of his Minneapolis home base, called Paisley Park Studios. His 2004 album, Musicology, was hailed as a "comeback," and included the song "Call My Name," which earned him a Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. Prince was still in his forties when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. Prince's albums include 1999 (1983), Purple Rain (1984), Lovesexy (1988), Newpower Soul (1998), 3121 (2006), 20Ten (2010) and the two-part HITnRUN Phase One and HITnRUN Phase Two (2015). He was found dead at Paisley Park in 2016, days after he reportedly made an emergency hospital visit for symptoms of the flu.
Extra credit:

Prince was married to dancer Mayte Garcia from 1996-99. He married Manuela Testolini in 2001; she filed for divorce in 2006… Despite the persistent rumor, Prince did not appear in the 1996 movie Fargo… Prince was a mentor to singer/actress Carmen Electra… He played at halftime of the 2007 Super Bowl… Other single-name musicians include Tricky, Moby, Dido and Sting.

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