I'm sure by now you heard the very sad and shocking news that Prince passed away yesterday. I was at work when I heard the news and I was devastated. I was really hoping this was going to be one of those horrible internet rumors that make the rounds.
You know how kids -- especially tween girls -- tend to latch on to an artist and go all fangirl about it? When we were little.....I'm guessing maybe 5th or 6th grade...my best friend (who shall remain nameless in this little story) and I lost our minds over Prince and Purple Rain. Yeah.
I'm not even sure how it popped up on our radar to begin with. I have this vague memory about one of our babysitters or another older kid in the neighborhood accidentally introducing it to us. You know, someone in high school who was obviously way cooler than us and that we needed to emulate. We heard it and were hooked. We asked what it was, and they told us. And then in the next sentence told us that it "wasn't for babies" and we shouldn't be listening to it.
Friends, I think you know what happened after that. I mean, that is just like issuing a double-dog dare to get our hands on the album. This shit was going to be ours. We were not babies!
Somehow one of us got a copy of it. Like new from the store and everything. That pretty much meant we both had a copy as the other immediately copied it. I honestly don't remember how that came to pass. Maybe one of our parents bought it, but if they did they obviously had no clue what the lyrics to those songs said or it never would have happened. Hell, I'm pretty sure we didn't even understand what half the lyrics were talking about at the time, but we loved the music. The idea that we weren't supposed to be listening to it just made it even better.
We would spend hours with my brother, and sometimes his friends, down in the cellar rocking out to Let's Go Crazy. My parents' cellar is not a nice finished basement. It's filled with random stuff being stored, the washing machine is down there, and it floods when it rains. This was obviously before my arachnophobia formed. The ceilings were low. It wasn't normally a cool place to hang out is my point. However, we could be as loud as we wanted to down there and my mother didn't care because she knew where we were and we weren't bothering her or fighting with each other. We learned all the lyrics to the song and air-guitared (is that a word? It is now.) all over the place. We didn't have a video camera, but we plotted out elaborate stories to go with all of the songs. We were making our own kick-ass music videos in our minds. Imagination is a beautiful thing.
We weren't stupid, though. Even we knew enough that you did not play Darling Nikki where a parent could hear it or we would never be allowed to listen to Prince again.
Little Red Corvette and Raspberry Beret were safer options to listen to where parents could potentially overhear. We didn't have a raspberry beret, but we did have a big, bright pink, floppy beach hat and a matching feather boa that we acquired from a yard sale. You best believe we rocked that shit out of that ensemble in my friend's bedroom while dancing around like lunatics to the song.
That's just a bit of it, Friends. It was a life-long love affair with Prince and his music from then on.
To this day I don't know how we ever got away with listening to Purple Rain when we did. I have a vivid memory from the same time of my father washing my mouth out with soap for using the phrase "Jesus Christ" in less than savory terms while yelling at the bully down the street who had just done something to piss off and/or hurt my best friend. If he knew what those songs were about there is no way we would have been allowed to listen to that album.
Rest in Peace, Prince. You are the soundtrack to some incredible memories. You were a treasure and a gift to the world.