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Prince: How Denver paid tribute to a legend

Posted: 11:50 PM, Apr 21, 2016
Updated: 2016-04-22 06:42:58Z
Prince: How Denver paid tribute to a legend
Prince: How Denver paid tribute to a legend

People across the world, including here in Denver, cried purple tears after learning of the passing of legendary musician and pop icon figure, Prince.

"He was such a different artist, that just touched so many genres, and flirted with some sexual lyrics, and it didn't matter, he was just bigger than life," said “LaLaine,” midday host of Denver radio station Kool 105.

Local government officials also took the time to reflect on Prince's legacy.

"[Prince was] a quintessentially unique creative spirit. He was someone who was fearless in attacking musical genres and really going in places no one had really ever gone before," said Gov. John Hickenlooper. 

Widely acclaimed as one of the most inventive and influential musicians of his era with hits including "Little Red Corvette," ''Let's Go Crazy" and "When Doves Cry," Prince was found dead at his home on Thursday in suburban Minneapolis, according to his publicist. He was 57.

Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson said deputies responded to a medical call about 9:43 a.m. Medical personnel tried CPR, but couldn't revive the 57-year-old Prince, who was pronounced dead at 10:07 a.m.

MORE: TMZ shares emergency 911 audio

The sheriff's brief statement said the death was under investigation and provided no other details.

News of his death came just a few days after he was reported to have been hospitalized Friday in Illinois on his way back from a concert in Atlanta.
 
The Minneapolis native, born Prince Rogers Nelson, stood just 5 feet, 2 inches tall, and seemed to summon the most original and compelling sounds at will, whether playing guitar in a flamboyant style that openly drew upon Jimi Hendrix, switching his vocals from a nasally scream to an erotic falsetto or turning out album after album of stunningly original material. Among his other notable releases: "Sign O' the Times," ''Graffiti Bridge" and "The Black Album."

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He was also fiercely protective of his independence, battling his record company over control of his material and even his name. Prince once wrote "slave" on his face in protest of not owning his work and famously battled and then departed his label, Warner Bros., before returning a few years ago.

"What's happening now is the position that I've always wanted to be in," Prince told the AP in 2014. "I was just trying to get here."

In 2004, Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which hailed him as a musical and social trailblazer.

"He rewrote the rulebook, forging a synthesis of black funk and white rock that served as a blueprint for cutting-edge music in the Eighties," reads the Hall's dedication. "Prince made dance music that rocked and rock music that had a bristling, funky backbone. From the beginning, Prince and his music were androgynous, sly, sexy and provocative."

Rarely lacking in confidence, Prince effortlessly absorbed the music of others and made it sound like Prince, whether the James Brown guitar riff on "Kiss" or the Beatle-esque, psychedelic pop of "Raspberry Beret."

He also proved a source of hits for others, from Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U" to Cyndi Lauper's "When You Were Mine." He also wrote "Manic Monday" for the Bangles

Prince had been touring and recording right up until his death, releasing four albums in the last 18 months, including two on the Tidal streaming service last year. He performed in Atlanta last week as part of his "Piano and a Microphone" tour, a stripped down show that has featured a mix of his hits like "Purple Rain" or "Little Red Corvette" and some B-sides from his extensive library.

Prince debuted the intimate format at his Paisley Park studios in January, treating fans to a performance that was personal and was both playful and emotional at times.

The musician had seemed to be shedding his reclusive reputation. He hosted several late-night jam sessions where he serenaded Madonna, celebrated the Minnesota Lynx's WNBA championship and showcased his latest protege, singer Judith Hill.

Ever surprising, he announced on stage in New York City last month that he was writing his memoir. "The Beautiful Ones" was expected to be released in the fall of 2017 by publishing house Spiegel & Grau. The publishing house has not yet commented on status of book, but a press release about the memoir says: "Prince will take readers on an unconventional and poetic journey through his life and creative work." It says the book will include stories about Prince's music and "the family that shaped him and the people, places, and ideas that fired his creative imagination."

A small group of fans quickly gathered in the rain Thursday outside his music studio, Paisley Park, where Prince's gold records are on the walls and the purple motorcycle he rode in his 1984 breakout movie, "Purple Rain," is on display.

The white building surrounded by a fence is in Chanhassen, about 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis.

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