The Day Purple Painted Heaven

Record label: NPG Records First release: For You, 1978 This Minneapolis native realized long ago what many artists now recognize: CD sales can be a mere complement to a musician's core commerce. Prince astonished the music world in July, 2007 when he had his latest CD included for free in the Daily Mail, a London newspaper—and promptly sold out a three-week engagement at a London stadium. Previously, Prince had offered free copies of Musicology with a ticket to one of his concerts. He has also begun playing shows for small, affluent audiences paying hefty ticket prices. It's all part of a business strategy that emphasizes collecting his profits at the front end, rather than waiting for record sales and royalty payments. Publicly likening his former record deal with Warner Bros. Records WMG to slavery, Prince has been independent since 1996. He releases his work on his own NPG Records label.

I heard while in the midst of the work day. I was puttering along as I taught my students about the various aspects of a literary classic we were reading in class. However, the importance of all of that melted into shock when I heard the news that the musical tapestry of humanity had lost a bright purple patch. A patch plucked free by a crying dove that flew to a place where all music truly run free.

 Purple Rain causes my soul to quiver with each note that emanates from the speakers. It envelops you like a warm blanket. It makes dreams seem possible. Passion wells up in your soul and your ears dance in orgasmic pleasure to the tunes that massage your brain. Prince was a rebel and refused to be boxed in by the music industry. He wrote slave on his face and continued to make music. He unabashedly removed his name and became The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. However, even without his name he was still a musical genius. The name didn’t make him he made the name. He was still who he was without it. The music didn’t suffer and the world continued to rejoice in his masterful musical skill.

A purple rain is falling in heaven, as Prince enters the gates. Violet wings adorn and spread out behind him. He moves into position, raises his iconic guitar, pulls the mic close and spills his vocals across the universe.