Prince, who died today at 57, had an impressive career filled with singular accomplishments to match his singular talents. Currently, “Purple Rain,” “Little Red Corvette,” “When Doves Cry,” and “Kiss” are No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 on iTunes’ Top Songs list, respectively. Here’s just a small – but eye-popping – look at some of the numbers.
- Began his career at the age of 19
- Released 39 albums
- Won seven Grammy awards
- Sold over 100 million albums worldwide
- His classic “Purple Rain” soundtrack, released in 1984, sold 13 million copies alone and enjoyed 25 weeks on top music charts
- His movies, “Purple Rain” and “Graffiti Bridge,” grossed $73 million worldwide
- 40 — yes 40! — top 100 hits, including five No. 1 songs
- Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004
- His 2007 Super Bowl halftime performance drew 140 million viewers
Prince died a musical legend and will forever be remembered for his inimitable boldness. He iconically changed his name to an unpronounceable “love” symbol and rebranded himself as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” or simply “The Artist” in 1993. He then started appearing with the word “Slave” scrawled across his cheek, a reinvention that was met with ridicule, and in February 1994 Warner Bros. dropped its distribution deal with Prince’s Paisley Park Records.
Two weeks later The Artist released “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” on independent label Bellmark Records. Despite his tumultuous relationship with Warner Bros. he released his next albums with Warner. And eventually in May 2000, he went back to being Prince.
In 1989, Prince released his 11th studio album, the soundtrack to the film “Batman.” It was No. 1 on the Billboard albums chart for six consecutive weeks and sold over 11 million copies worldwide.
His most watched performance by far was the 2007 Super Bowl XLI halftime show in Miami. He shredded his way through covers of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower.” 140 million people tuned in to watch Prince rock out to a purple-lit performance of “Purple Rain” (in an epic coincidence it was raining in Miami that day).
And when it came to his thoughts on music streaming, he was a proponent of the digital wave of distribution so long as it didn’t shortchange artists. He was a stickler for copyrights and you won’t be able to stream most of his music on YouTube, Spotify or Apple Music. “It’s about freedom. Don’t sign,” Prince said last year. You just have to blow [the industry] up. That’s what it’s going to take.” He release his latest album HITnRUN Phase One on Jay Z’s streaming service Tidal in September.
Prince was so original he has his own genre – Minneapolis sound – which combines rock, R&B, soul, funk, hip hop, jazz, and pop. He will live on as the Artist who was never afraid to speak up and stand out.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Purple Rain