Prince passed away today.
I wouldn’t classify myself as super fan or anything, but I always enjoyed his music. Back when I was kid, well before the internet was a part of life, my number one way of gathering information was by listening to my parents talk from the backseat of the car. I can remember when Batman was coming out in 1989 the fact that Prince was doing the Soundtrack was a huge deal. During one of our car rides, maybe even on the way to see the movie, I distinctly remember my mom saying “people think he’s a musical genius” in reference to Prince. I didn’t actually know what that meant, still don’t really, but I never forgot her saying that and always listened to his music with the hopes that I would be one of the lucky people who could listen and hear the genius.
I had the Love Symbol album from when he started calling himself “The Artist formerly known as Prince” and a New Power Soul album that was essentially a Prince record with The New Power Generation. The second album in particular was one of the favorite albums from my teenage years (despite the less than stellar reviews). The music is vintage Prince funk you can’t help but bounce your head to with just a little more enthusiasm than you’d show for someone else. A lot of people try to take credit for blending sounds, but nobody did it like Prince. Rock & Roll, Pop, Jazz, Hip-hop, R&B…dude was all over the map in the best way possible. But I always loved his lyrics. They were always so smooth and worded in such unique ways. It was little things like saying “Every While in a Great Once” instead of “Every Once in a Great While” that would make it stick in my brain for days.
But as much as I loved listening to those albums it’s the Batman soundtrack that sticks with me the most. Batman 1989 has been and always will be my favorite Bat movie. And it has just as much to do with Prince as it does with Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and Tim Burton’s perfect interpretation of Gotham City. In fact, I’d go as far to say that the Batman movie has aged so well in large part because of Prince’s contribution of timeless music. It’s so fun, so goofy, so futuristic, so of the time it was made — you never feel like you’re watching something from the distant past and yet somehow know exactly which era the movie was created when you’re watching the movie. The music jives perfectly with Nicholson’s interpretation of the Joker and was truly a match made in Gotham. Name another musician who has made as big of an impact on a movie with their music. You’d be hard pressed. And the world will be hard pressed to find another Prince. All he wanted people to remember was “the music”. Well, he left a ton behind for the world to enjoy and it’s never too late to start listening.