Prince Rogers Nelson was a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor. He was a musical innovator and known for his eclectic work, flamboyant stage presence, extravagant dress and makeup, and wide vocal range. His music integrates a wide variety of styles, including funk, rock, R&B, new wave, soul, psychedelia, and pop.
He has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time.
He won 7 Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award for the film Purple Rain.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, the first year of his eligibility.
Rolling Stone ranked Prince at number 27 on its list of 100 Greatest Artists—”the most influential artists of the rock & roll era”.
Prince pioneered the “Minneapolis sound”, a hybrid mixture of funk, rock, pop, R&B and new wave that has influenced many other musicians.
Prince was born in Minneapolis and developed an interest in music as a young child. He signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. at the age of 18, and released his debut album For You in 1978. His 1979 album Prince went platinum, and his next three records—Dirty Mind (1980), Controversy (1981), and 1999 (1982)—continued his success, showcasing Prince’s prominently sexual lyrics and blending of funk, dance, and rock music.
In 1984, he began referring to his backup band as the Revolution and released Purple Rain, which served as the soundtrack to his eponymous 1984 film debut and was met with widespread acclaim. After releasing the albums Around the World in a Day (1985) and Parade (1986), The Revolution disbanded, and Prince released the double album Sign o’ the Times (1987) as a solo artist. He released three more solo albums before debuting the New Power Generation band in 1991.
He wrote and produced his own music and played most of the instruments; he established his own recording studio and label. In addition, he promoted the careers of Sheila E., Carmen Electra, the Time and Vanity 6, and his songs have been recorded by these artists and others, including Chaka Khan, the Bangles, Sinéad O’Connor, and Kim Basinger.
In 1993, while in a contractual dispute with Warner Bros., he changed his stage name to Prince logo.svg, an unpronounceable symbol also known as the “Love Symbol”, and began releasing new albums at a faster pace to remove himself from contractual obligations. He released five records between 1994 and 1996 before signing with Arista Records in 1998.
In 2000, he began referring to himself as “Prince” again. He released 16 albums after that, including The Rainbow Children (2001).
His final album, Hit n Run Phase Two, was first released on the Tidal streaming service on December 12, 2015.
Prince died at his Paisley Park recording studio and home in Chanhassen, Minnesota, on April 21, 2016, at the age of 57.
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