The haunting lines from When Doves Cry have been running through my mind since Prince died. What did he mean? His influence on me and everyone I knew who listened and danced to music in the 80’s and 90’s, wasn’t something we talked about. We seemed to be under a hypnotic spell that required movement.
As soon as the pounding rhythms of “Let’ Go Crazy”, “1999” or “Little Red Corvette: came on we were up dancing, slowing only to sway to “Purple Rain”. I didn’t think about what he was saying. I was in a dance induced trance. Can you relate?
Now, I want to understand; I want to know more about him and understand his influence. Is it too little too late? We are responsible for making icon’s and also making them disposable. The way we revere pop stars from a distance is the way most people look at abstract paintings –do I like it, does it move me, make me feel good? I.e., can I dance to it? We operate on the surface.
Prince was anything but superficial. He questioned and explored his identity, taking on a symbol as his name to make a statement, grappled with complex emotions and dark moods, questioned his purpose and his relationship with spirituality, becoming a Jehovah’s Witness and anonymously giving philanthropically. He devoted himself to his work, working tirelessly with tremendous ethics, living clean of drugs and alcohol by most accounts. His enormous musical gifts were beyond question, playing every instrument on his early albums. He took on the record companies, forming his own to retain artistic license. He was a mighty, talented icon that didn’t allow the music industry to control or define him.
While all of this was expressed in his music, he didn’t shape a generation of thought. We pegged him as a superstar, an entertainer.
As an entertainer what mattered to him was his sincere loyalty to his fans. In his last days he played a rescheduled concert apologizing for being ill, hosted a dance party at his home, frequented local businesses to give them support, and worked 3 days without sleep. Prince gave us his all, every time.
Now it’s time to honor Prince. At a minimum, there were decades of musical pleasure that defined an era. In his changing presentation of his identity, he gave us permission to question and explore our own. He epitomized our musical experience and our culture.
Prince was intensely private, carefully picking his inner circle, staying out of the limelight other than what was projected through his music and his performances. Now that we can witness his life in review, we can see there was more depth in the values he communicated in his music and displayed through his lifestyle. It came through the amazing 35 some albums he produced and his 444 songs.
Allow me to highlight some his song lyrics and comment on the values Prince gave us:
PURPLE RAIN (1984)
“I never meant to cause you any sorrow / I never meant to cause you any pain / I only wanted to one time to see you laughing / I only wanted to see you / Laughing in the purple rain.”
Prince embraced a sensitivity and kindness toward others that was poignant. Wanting the best for someone you care about is the fundamental theme that comes through. We need this essential value in our relationships, no matter whether we are friends or lovers.
Treat your loved ones with respect – no matter what the status of the relationship
“DIAMONDS AND PEARLS” (1991)
“If I gave you diamonds and pearls / Would you be a happy boy or a girl / If I could I would give you the world / But all I can do is just offer you my love.”
What is important – in the end it’s the way we love each other. It’s not the material things that we usually associate with symbols of love. They only illustrate our obsession with status, which is never an honest expression of how we feel. It is the quality of our feelings toward one another that’s important.
The most cherished gift we can give each other is our love.
“LET’S GO CRAZY” (1984)
“Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today to get you through this thing called life…. Cause in this life/ Things are much harder than in the after world/ In this life/ You’re on your own.”
There he said it: life is tough. We’re on our own. We need each other to get through and when we band together it allows us to cope better. So why not make the most of our time together and enjoy ourselves.
Since life can be difficult, we need to enjoy our time together – give it our all.
WHEN DOVES CRY (1984)
“Maybe I’m just too demanding/Maybe I’m just like my father too bold/Maybe you’re just like my mother/She’s never satisfied/Why do we scream at each other; this is what it sounds like when doves cry…”
When we fight, we hurt one another at a deep level. Doves, a symbol of love and peace would never sound like this, but if they did, they would be crying. In these lyrics Prince muses on his role in creating conflict, being too demanding, or acting like his parental role models. How important, if not unusual, to express responsibility for conflict. It is what we all need to be reminded to do – examine ourselves first when there is a problem.
Screaming is an assault on another. It is an offense to the senses. It is as incongruous as doves crying.
But when I woke up this mornin’/Coulda sworn it was judgment day/The sky was all purple,/There were people runnin’ everywhere/Tryin’ 2 run from the destruction,U know I didn’t even care/Cuz they say two thousand zero zero party over, /Opps out of time/So tonight I’m going to party like it’s 1999.
This song has been the New Year’s eve anthem for decades. It started in the early 80’s and carries strong to this day. It embodies the belief that yes, we are surrounded by difficult situations, in difficult environments. We choose where we put our attention. If you think the world is coming to an end, you might as well enjoy your last time together.
Celebrate while you can, you don’t know what will happen tomorrow.
Prince gave us insights into experiences we wouldn’t have otherwise. He invited us to sanction a gender neutral identify, a concept our culture hadn’t considered. He embodied strong values related to his faith, inviting us to consider kindness and love above others. He worried about the transitory nature of our experience and took a stance that we should enjoy our time with each other. He gave us a new view of our world, while teaching us to dance our way through it. He even made purple a color that makes a statement. Thank you, Prince.
Are any of the questions Prince explored in his music ones you have? If there are values and lifestyle issues you’d like to explore, my Transformational Life Coaching helps you do just that. Allow yourself to get clearer on what’s important. I welcome your questions or inquiry to my website. www.spectrumtransformation.com .
http://www.cnn.com/…/…/entertainment/prince-memoir-thr-feat/ and photo