Prince was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the late fifties. The son of two musicians, he was given his father’s stage name ‘Prince Rogers’. His parents encouraged his interest in music and by the time Prince was seven years old he had written his first song ‘Funk Machine' on his father’s piano. Following this, his step-father took him to see James Brown and got him his first guitar.
It wasn’t long before Prince was performing in bands and impressing people with his virtuoso playing. By 18 years old Prince’s demos had reached the ears of Warner Bros and Columbia Records, creating demand that led to him signing one of the largest contracts ever for a brand-new act. Shortly after Prince signed a deal, his first album ‘For You’ was created. Within the record deal Prince was named ‘producer’, which was an important factor as it enabled him to have creative control of the album. He wrote, produced and played all 27 instruments on the album. This creative control remained a constant throughout most of Prince’s career and set the blueprint for everything that was to follow.
In 1979 Prince recruited Doctor Fink, André Cymone, Bobby Z and Dez Dickerson to join his group and released the self-titled album ‘Prince’. The album sold over a million copies and featured the charting tracks ‘Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad’ and ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’. Prince had continued success with his albums ‘Dirty Mind’, ‘Controversy’ and ‘1999’, but it wasn’t until 1984 that he would release the album that would become synonymous with his music legacy.
By this point, Prince’s band were referred to as ‘The Revolution’ and Doctor Fink and Bobby Z were now joined by Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman on keyboard and guitars. It was with the Revolution that Prince went on to star in the loosely autobiographical film ‘Purple Rain’. The movie grossed over 72 Million Dollars worldwide and won an Oscar for Best Original Song Score. The subsequent album of songs included the hits ‘Purple Rain’, ‘When Doves Cry’ and ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ and went 13x Platinum with over 25 million copies sold.
Prince was well known for his relentless work ethic. He went on to release two more films and over 30 albums, containing multiple hit singles. He also wrote countless songs for other artists and played alongside many more, including Chakka Khan, Madonna, Sinead O’Connor, Alicia Keys and many more. Prince often wrote for others or created his own music using pseudonyms such as The Kid, Joey Coco, Alexander Nevermind and Camille. However, his instantly recognisable guitar style and song structures meant that it usually wasn’t long before his fans discovered that Prince was the artist behind the music.