From his impressive catalog to his undeniable influence on a new generation of artists, Prince Rogers Nelson will forever be an icon. ESSENCE gives thanks where its due.
Influencing a New Generation of Artists
Prince was influencing artists since his 1978 debut album, For You. Everyone from Miguel and Janelle Monae to Alicia Keys and Beyoncé cited The Purple One as a major influence in their careers.
Filming 'Purple Rain'
Considered a cult classic, Purple Rain hit theaters in 1984 and went on to win a number of major accolades. Not only did it showcase Prince's acting ability, but it propelled his career to greater heights making him larger than life.
Recording 25 Albums About Love & Fun
From 1978 to the day of his death, Prince consistently recorded and sold quality music. He put out an impressive 25 albums and earned five number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100. Other notable songs falling just shy of the top spot include "Raspberry Beret," "Purple Rain," and "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" to name a few.
Having a Keen Sense of Fashion
There is nothing Prince couldn't wear! From see-through tops and polka dots to pink furs and glittery numbers, Prince was a fashion icon and trendsetter for all.
Constantly Changing His Fabulous Hair
From an effortless blowout and short pixie cut to a beautiful natural fro, Prince had as many hairstyles as albums.
Being a Sex Symbol
The sexual tension was often ramped up during his early concerts. Shirtless and scantily clad, The Purple One oozed sexuality to the umpteenth degree—nearly inciting a riot amongst the ladies.
Introducing Us to Vanity 6 and Apollonia 6
True Prince fanatics will appreciate this one. In the early '80s, Prince introduced the world to Vanity 6, a sexed-up female band with blended R&B and funk. When lead vocalist Vanity decided to leave the group in 1983, Prince replaced her with Patricia Kotero (renaming her Apollonia), and renamed the group Apollonia 6. Both groups released just one album.
Reinventing Himself, Changing His Name
In 1993, Prince changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol. It was a bold move in an effort to tamper with his relationship with his then record label. Warner Brothers was concerned Prince would oversaturate the market with music. Changing his name was a sign of his disgust and rebellion against Warner Brothers' decision to reportedly slow him down creatively.
Writing Songs for Chaka Khan, Tevin Campbell & More
Prince's songwriting skills were just as strong as his musicianship and sexy falsetto. His songs have been remade and sampled by artists across all genres of music. Great talents like Chaka Khan, Tevin Campbell, Sinead O'Connor, Cindy Lauper and the Bangles have sung his hits and introduced them to new audiences.
Headlining ESSENCE Festival 2014
In 2004, Prince performed at the 10th annual ESSENCE Festival, and in 2014, he gracde us all with a performance at our 20th annual event in New Orleans in July.