A genre buster
Prince could play it all; rock n roll, rhythm and blues, funk, psychedelic rock. He was a prolific songwriter and penned some of our most popular contemporary hits, including “Purple Rain,” 1999, and “Little Red Corvette.” He was born in Minneapolis in 1958 and made it his home throughout his career. He also wrote, starred in, and created the soundtrack for the hit movie “Purple Rain,” released in 1984. He passed away in 2016 due to an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.
Key Moments in Prince's Life
April 21, 2016
Rest in peace
Prince fans worldwide mourn the musician's death from an overdose of prescription drugs.
February 4, 2007
Super Bowl performance
Prince plays the 2007 Super Bowl halftime show. Viewership peaks at 140 million.
Prince is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Alicia Keys and the members of Outkast present the award.
Feel the power
Prince assembles a new band, the New Power Generation, and releases Diamonds and Pearls, which reaches number three on the Billboard charts.
March 31, 1987
The double album Sign o' the Times is released, to much critical acclaim. The Village Voice names it the top recording of the year.
How to Celebrate Prince's Birthday
1. Watch Purple Rain
Sure, it's a little cheesy, but Purple Rain is loosely based on Prince's life and tells the story of his rise to stardom. The soundtrack is stellar, and its two singles, "Let's Go Crazy" and "When Doves Cry," went on to top the Billboard charts.
2. Listen to some music
Prince was a prolific songwriter. You could spend an entire day shuffling through his music and not get through his catalogue. Celebrate his birthday by queueing up Purple Rain, 1999, or the fantastic double album, Sign o' the Times.
3. Walk where Prince walked
Pay a visit to Prince's hometown of Minneapolis (you're safe with the weather on June 7) and visit some of the legendary clubs where Prince played, such as First Avenue. Prince put Minneapolis on the rock n' roll map.
Songs You Didn't Know Prince Wrote
1. Mondays are manic
Prince wrote the hit, "Manic Monday," which was recorded by all-female rockers The Bangles.
2. Sinead's big hit
Prince wrote Sinead O'Connor's breakout hit, "Nothing Compares 2 U."
3. Stand back, Stevie
Stevie Nicks turned Prince's "Stand Back" into a huge hit.
4. All the glamour
Sheila E's funky "The Glamorous Life" was a Prince creation.
5. Just pick up the phone
Prince penned "How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore" for Alicia Keys.
Why we love Prince
A. He was prolific
Without the music of Prince there would be a sizable hole in the rock n' roll landscape. He recorded nearly 40 studio albums and penned 12 singles that went gold or platinum. His album Purple Rain sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.
B. He wrote for others
Many don't know it, but Prince wrote songs for other singers. Remember Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U?" How about "Manic Monday" by the Bangles? "How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore" by Alicia Keys? Yep, Prince wrote them.
C. He was a secret philanthropist
Prince was a bona fide philanthropist, but you never knew it. He made anonymous donations to numerous causes, supporting the development of green jobs and technology education for underserved, urban youths. And he did it all without fanfare.