Image courtesy of CNN
Growing up in the 80’s meant you were growing up in the annals of two of the greatest performers of the latter part of the 20th century. Prince and Michael Jackson were the kings of music and entertainment. I was never admittedly a huge Michael Jackson fan. I mean I loved some of the music but I enjoyed the entertainment of his performances far more than the actual music itself. That’s not to say his music wasn’t great, because it was, but I have always loved the musical sounds of the live band.
Prince was a musical icon and performer, but to me it was more than that. As previously noted in another post, I didn’t have a great relationship or any real relationship with my father. For various reasons (if you clicked the link you see why) he and I were never able to get on the same page and enjoy time together.
The reality is that I knew very little about my father. I knew that he loved NASCAR. I knew that he was a FORD man, which explains why my mother insisted that every car my family owned was a FORD growing up. I also know that he loved Prince. I mean the kind of love for a star that would have you scratching your head.
My dad loved Prince so much, he emulated him. He would shave the side of his head and wear tight jeans. He became a vegetarian and lost weight because that’s what Prince did. He also had a love for the color purple. Every vehicle he owned had some form of purple trim and every time I saw him dressed up there was something purple in his attire. He was even buried in a purple suit and insisted that Prince be played at his funeral in his last will and testament.
Growing up not knowing my dad was a struggle of it’s own. I wanted to know him but didn’t have the chance so I emerged myself into some of the things he was into. I became a NASCAR fan but refused to root for any driver of FORD vehicles. In my youth I was a Darrell Waltrip fan and as I got older my allegiance drifted to Jeff Gordon and Tony “SMOKE” Stewart. I also emerged myself into Prince music. I remember listening to everything in the collection and hearing the power in the chords. I would think to myself that he’s leaving every ounce of himself into his music. I know why this was appreciated. It also made me think that maybe, just maybe my dad was built on the same premise of putting everything that he had into his work.
My love for Prince’s music started with his connection to my dad and evolved into my appreciation for his talent. The amount of work and attention to detail coupled with music that was from the heart and heavy on the emphasis of love and love making was enough to keep me interested in the sounds. I remember a few years ago, one of my good friends Kenny was just discovering the sounds and asked how to begin to appreciate the music. I remember giving it to him the way I discovered it and he too became a fan of the music icon.
We never know when we are about to lose someone that we have grown attached too and sometimes losing them can strike up memories that you haven’t tapped into in years. All I can say is thank you Prince. Thanks for the music and thanks for helping me understand my dad a little bit better. You are appreciated. Rest In Peace.