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The King Is Dead: Prince

-By Ben Smith

The King is dead, long live the King!

Prince. The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. The Love Symbol. No matter what you knew him as, Prince Rogers Nelson will go down as one of the most iconic and talented musicians of all time.

Minnesota’s favourite son passed away in the early hours of Friday morning (Australian time), leaving behind 39 studio albums, an untouched musical legacy and millions of distressed fans.

He was known for a vocal range wider than the Grand Canyon, a flamboyant, ever-changing musical style and the ability to make guitars do things which were not considered possible. Prince succeeded in making every song he wrote sound so Prince, yet so distinct and unique at the same time.

By my own admission, I’ve never been a diehard Prince fan and have never delved into his back catalogue. Not out of spite or dislike, more out of the lack of thought to do so.

What I do know, is how massive Prince’s legacy is and how devastated the music community is right now.

English folk-punk singer Frank Turner once sang “you can measure the mark of a man on the day that he died, in the mixture of memory and wreckage that he leaves behind”. And today has provided us all with a look into just how much Prince was loved.

Social media has been awash with tributes and eulogies from all sorts of musicians. From popstars to punk rockers, DJs to metal-heads. Like David Bowie before him, Prince was a musical chameleon who refused to be defined by one single genre. His ability to change and adapt his style is why so many are affected by today’s tragic news.

In an emotional twist, Australian audiences were amongst the last to bear witness to Prince’s mercurial live shows. He of the Raspberry Beret played six dates in Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and Perth in February (at just two weeks-notice), treating fans to a mix of deep cuts, covers and hits.

Despite mobile phones and cameras being banned from the concerts, response from the shows was great, as people praised the show’s for being quintessentially Prince: classy, extraordinary and unpredictable (Melbourne fans can attest to the last one, as he ended one of his sets 40 minutes early).

He may have been known as Prince, but to many, he will always be king.

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