Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com
Prince dies at 57
Seven-time GRAMMY-winning pop music icon Prince died April 21. He was 57. A cause of death has not yet been announced. He had cancelled or postponed recent shows due to flu-like symptoms. Last week, Prince's plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Illinois when he fell ill on the flight.
The artist born Prince Rogers Nelson, who was later known worldwide by just his first name and then by only a symbol, became one of the giants of pop music in the '80s by tying together the prevailing strands of R&B, funk, pop, and rock into a singular sound that made him among a handful of artists who shaped the music of that decade. He became a cottage industry, not only selling millions of his own albums, but also starring in a film vehicle, Purple Rain — whose soundtrack ruled the airwaves in 1984 — and also writing Top 10 hits for artists as diverse as Chaka Kahn, the Bangles and Sinead O'Connor. He continued to chart hits through the '90s, and released his most recent album, HITnRUN: Phase Two, in 2015.
Prince charted five No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits: "When Doves Cry" (1984), "Let's Go Crazy" (1984), "Kiss" (1986), "Batdance" (from Batman, 1989), and "Cream" (1991).
He evolved musically with every album, managing to find new avenues of musical expression even as he remained among the most popular artists on the planet. He also evolved behind the scenes, eventually having a falling out with his label over creative differences that led him to record his final Warner Bros. albums not under his name, but rather a "love" symbol. He would ultimately re-sign with Warner Bros. for 2014's PlectrumElectrum.
Prince earned seven GRAMMY Awards and 37 nominations over his career. Among his wins were two for Purple Rain, Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal and Best Album Of Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or Television Special, as well as for Best Rhythm & Blues Song for Khan's "I Feel For You," all of which were for 1984. "Kiss" won Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for 1986. Both Purple Rain and Sign 'O' The Times were nominated for Album Of The Year. The 1982 album 1999 and Purple Rain were inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2008 and 2011, respectively. He also won the Music (Original Song Score) Oscar in 1984 for Purple Rain and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
"Today, we remember and celebrate Prince as one of the most uniquely gifted artists of all time," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "He redefined and forever changed our musical landscape."