Prince didn’t like to play by the rules and remained an enigma to the end.
The 57-year-old singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, who died Thursday at his estate in a Minneapolis suburb, had little respect for genres, tumbling freely and confidently among funk, rock, R&B, jazz and everything along the way. It made him one of the most prolific and influential figures for generations of musicians.
He flaunted his sexuality, delivering some of the most assertive come-hither Top 10 hits of the modern era while adorned in lace, heels and satin panties — preferably purple, thank you.
He didn’t do many interviews to promote his albums and he still became one of the best-selling pop artists of all time.
He rarely announced formal tour dates, preferring to just show up in a city one day and set off a ticket feeding frenzy. He knew the shows would sell out. They always did.
For nearly a decade of his long career, Prince recorded and released music not as Prince but rather as an unpronounceable glyph, and yet he remained on the tip of everyone’s tongues.
Then he found religion and rejected his past, and still his fans stood by him — through the endless, tireless smooth jazz and gospel records — until he found himself again and embraced it with so much enthusiasm that it truly felt like we would have him forever.