Prince (The Artist) and Generation X
Prince Rogers Nelson. An artist and music icon of “Generation X”, but what is it?
People born between 1965 and 1979 are described as generation X. A group sandwiched between the Baby Boomer and Millennial generations.
Born in the year 1973, I have some empathy with being stereotyped in the media as having “a lack of direction”; and “a culture of cynicism”.
Generation X: “Coffee drinkers ~ quietly revolting against cultural and social norms of previous generations”.
My generation are influenced by a wide range of cultural and political shifts and technological development.
There were VCRs, personal stereo cassette players and the Nintendo game boy to keep us entertained.
We lived through the death of Princess Diana, the invention of the microwave oven; the Sinclair C5, and the fall of the Berlin wall. We watched Stephen Spielberg’s E.T. “The Extraterrestrial“ in Dolby stereo at the cinema.
We listened and watched music videos on the MTV; Dire Straits, Bon Jovi, Queen, U2, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Prince… and plenty more.
A Band for “Generation X”
I first heard the term “Generation X” towards the end of the 1980’s.
Stuart Martin and I, along with a few others, were forming a Band at our church youth group in Romford, East London.
We played blues, rock, pop and gospel covers by groups from the 1960’s and into the 1990’s.
One evening, we performed “My Generation” by The Who because we liked the music and the lyrics:-
“People try to put us d-down.. talkin’ ’bout my generation”.
Someone heard us play the song and said, “You should be called Generation X”.
“Why? We are our generation. The 2nd Generation”. The name stuck with our band for about 10 years.
2nd Generation Band: The art of compromise
It was a ton of fun being in our band, but difficult at the same time.
We were doing what we wanted to do and other people found this irritating.
We learned some simple but important things, such as:-
- Showing up on time;
- Setting up and tearing down efficiently;
- Learning music and songs to order in short periods;
- Harder stuff, like trying to stop worrying about what other people think.
My moaning, about this, that or the other, and drove everyone to distraction, because being in a Band can be a compromise too far.
I figured it out in the end. It’s about finding where the ‘sweet spot’ is.
When it was time to end, we didn’t give in. We didn’t give up. It was time to stop and do other things.
Prince the artist: A music icon of generation X
Prince Rogers Nelson was born in Minneapolis on June 7th, 1958. He passed away on April 21st, 2016.
A musician, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, singer, performer and producer.
A music icon of generation X. He created his own music genre, which fused soul, funk, rock and pop and allowed him to be daringly innovative.
Prince ~ On Life:
“Everyone has their own experience. We are here to learn and go down those paths, and eventually you may have gone down so many paths and learned so much, you don’t have to come back again.”
Prince: Life and times
Much has been written about the rise of Prince from stardom and then to super stardom.
Top 10 hits; “Little Red Corvette”, “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Kiss” and “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World”.
Princes’ songs also became hits for other artists, among them “Nothing Compares 2 U” for Sinead O’Connor, “Manic Monday” for The Bangles and “I Feel for You” for Chaka Khan.
With 1984’s ‘Purple Rain’, he simultaneously had the number 1 album, single and film in the United States.
The album sold more than 13 million copies in the US alone, and its music also won him an Academy Award.
His last Grammy awards came in 2007; Best Male R&B Vocal Performance For the song “Call My Name” and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for the song “Musicology.”
Prince: The business of Music
In 1993, Prince changed his stage name to an unpronounceable glyph.
An open battle ensued between Prince and his record label because he wanted to buy back the master recordings.
“There I was. I didn’t own my own music. If you don’t own your masters, your master owns you.”
“I’m going to re-record all my songs. There will be two catalogs with pretty much the same music, except mine will be better, and you can either give your money to a big company, or to NPG (his own record label). You choose.”
He only returned to the name ‘Prince’ in early 2000 after his record contract ended.
Prince: on Piracy and covers
Prince was quoted in a newspaper interview in 2011 as saying he had no plans to make a new album;
“We made money [online] before piracy was real crazy. The Industry has changed”.
“It’s like the gold rush. Or a carjacking. There are no boundaries.
They say to me, “you don’t understand, it’s dog-eat-dog out there”. So I’ll just hold off on recording music.”
Prince was equally put out by covers of his songs. A version of “Kiss” being the latest offender.
“There’s no other art form where you can do that. You can’t do your own Harry Potter. Do you want to hear somebody else sing Kiss?”
But, whilst doing some research, I did find an interesting flip-side.
At the Coachella Music Festival in 2008, Prince performed a cover of Radiohead’s “Creep“.
Immediately after, Prince forced YouTube and other sites to remove fans footage of the performance, despite Radiohead’s wishes for it to remain on the website.
Days later, YouTube reinstated the videos. Radiohead claimed, “it’s our song, let people hear it.”
Prince: The icon of a generation
To conclude, Prince became the icon of a generation. He lived a life that uniquely prepared him to understand “Generation X”.
He wrote songs which spoke of our desires, fears, longings and anxieties.
Prince left his mark on a wide variety of musical genres. Rock, R&B, and hip-hop would all definitely not be the same had Prince not existed.
He made it safe to not worry about societies conventions.
He was one of the finest and most talented members of his musical generation.
InfinityBass.com | by Simon Edward | April 26th, 2016.