Today is the birthday of the man formerly known as Prince Rogers Nelson. Few
artists have created a body of work as rich and varied as the Symbol. Prince
brought together funk and rock in a way we hadn't seen since the glory days
of Hendrix and Sly and the Family Stone. He wrote and produced some of the
most groundbreaking albums of the '80s, was (and continues to be) a knockout
live performer, wrote hits for the Bangles, the Time and many others, and
recorded hundreds of songs that still lie unreleased in his vaults. With each
album he has released, Prince has shown remarkable stylistic growth and musical
diversity, constantly experimenting with different sound, textures and
genres. Occasionally his music can be maddeningly inconsistent because of
this eclecticism, but his experiments frequently succeed: no other
contemporary artist can blend so many diverse styles into a cohesive whole.
Although he's no longer topping the charts with each album, Prince is
currently making some of the wildest, most fully realized music of his
career. (And he had a major hit with "The Most Beautiful Girl In the World,"
released on an indie label.) His eclecticism encompasses more styles of
music, yet he's able to meld the different sounds together subtlety and
seamlessly. After a decade of spectacular music, Prince may just be beginning
to hit his artistic peak.
It is also the birthday of Paddy McAloon (Prefab
Sprout), Mickey Jones (Man), and Tom Jones.