In February 2016, I posted my Top 100 Prince songs... and ranked them... in order. It took months to put together - I genuinely listened to everything so I could be sure my list would be as accurate as possible. It was a labor of love though and I was happy to do it.
Then someone said "Wouldn't a mix be cool?!"
It was an off-the-cuff remark but my wheels started turning. And a few weeks later, the 100-song, 128-minute mix was completed and uploaded...
Twenty-four hours later, it was announced that Prince had passed away while at his Paisley Park Recording Studio after suffering flu-like symptoms the week prior. The news was like a horrible exclamation point on the passion project of the last six months.
I don't really know what to say, or how to process the news... I used to drive a red 1992 Nissan Micra called Jemima. I’ve had three cars since then but this one was by far the most reliable car I’ve ever owned. Imagine how I felt coming home one day to see that someone had bent the top of the passenger door open with a crowbar just enough for them to slip their hand in and simply unlock it. I wasn’t overly worried about it in as much as there was nothing in the car for anyone to take. It literally consisted of an AtoZ and three cassette tapes for the car stereo. There was a Sade album (the name of the album escapes me, but I think it was ‘Love Deluxe’), there was a modern jazz compilation tape, and Prince’s (although, officially, New Power Generation’s) ‘New Power Soul’ album. Thankfully, none of the tapes were taken in this instance. However, when I walked past Jemima around three weeks later, and saw the door bent in exactly the same way… I feared the worst.
That’s right. The swine came back.
And took the tapes.
There’s something about being a Prince fan that can drive you to the point of obsession. I like to think that that young hoodlum, who broke into Jemima, soon afterwards met a young female hoodlum who he found was a huge Prince fan. In a bid to impress her, he did the only thing he could, and that was to go back and take my Prince tape. In a strange way, I like to think ‘New Power Soul’ brought those two lovebirds together and I’m glad to have had a hand in that. It’s hard to specifically be able to put your finger on it – but I’m sure we all know someone in our lives who pledges allegiance to the Purple Majesty. And for everyone that knows me, I’m that person. I spent six months compiling a list of 100 songs then turning it into a mix. Even I can acknowledge that that's a bit extreme.
Like I said, I don't really know what to say so I'm sorry for this random slew of ramblings. I did want to leave you with the actual 100-song mix which I'm hoping will act as all I could need to express my sadness at Prince's passing.
Prince might just be the most successful artist ever to walk the planet. He hasn’t self-destructed or died, and he hasn’t allowed himself to age disgracefully or descend into self-parody. Despite not having a genuine hit record in years, Prince can always claim he’s Number One at the bank. He shows no signs of stopping. Having changed the way music sounds and industry operates, he can rightly claim to be the most prolific and inventive artist of modern times, without having lost sight of his first passion. After more then 30 years in the business he still maintains that “music to me is a life force. It’s not what I do. It’s what I am.”
‘Chaos, Disorder and Revolution’ by Jason Draper. Published by Backbeat Books, 2011