Rolling Stone refers to Prince as one of the most mysterious yet naturally gifted artists of all time. Prince was born as Prince Rogers Nelson in Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 7, 1958. He was named after a jazz band his father performed in as a pianist names the Prince Roger Trio.
Prince was signed to Warner Brother Records as a teenager and released his debut album, For You, in 1978. He incited controversy from the beginning due to his fusion of both religious and sexual themes. He continued to add to the controversy with the albums Prince (1979), Dirty Mind (1980) and Controversy (1981). Dirty Mind included tracks about oral sex and incest and helped solidify Prince’s libidinous image. These albums also led to him pioneering the keyboard-dominated Minneapolis Sound that was a hybrid of rock, pop, and funk.
Prince rose to international fame with his early 1980’s albums 1999 and Purple Rain. The 1999 album went platinum and produced three Top 10 singles. One of the singles, “Little Red Corvette,” was one of the first music videos by a black performer to be played regularly on MTV. These albums also helped reveal his eccentricities when despite his sexual exhibitionism onstage, Prince declined to take part in the recording of “We Are the World.” His fey demeanor after winning Best Original Score Oscar at the 1985 Academy Awards and use of the pseudonym Alexander Nevermind on a Sheena Easton hit also added to the mystique surrounding him.
Perhaps the most eccentric move of Prince’s career was his 1993 name change to an unpronounceable symbol. He was widely ridiculed for the move. Despite this, Prince has gone on to have multiple successes. He has been nominated for a total of 33 Grammy Awards, winning seven of them. He also received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award for the albums I1999 and Purple Rain.
To learn more about the life and career of American singer, songwriter, musician and actor Prince, check out the following video.