Say It's Your Birthday: Prince

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.