Prince's music changed my life the first time I heard "Soft and Wet" from his first album back in 1978. I became an instant fan of his musical genius and put up with some grief because of it early on because, let's face it, Prince was a bit different.
The first time I saw him perform live, in Ann Arbor in 1982, my future wife was in the audience. We didn't know each other at the time, but later on it would be just another wonderful thing that we had in common.
When I took my first real job in 1982, I actually had a Prince "shrine" in my cubicle. People would raise their eyebrows a little when they saw it, and some joked about it. "Who's Prince?" they would ask me. Two years later, when Purple Rain took the world by storm, I had the last laugh.
The best concert I've ever seen will always be Prince, The Time, and Vanity 6 at Masonic Auditorium in Detroit on December 2, 1982. Sitting in the third row, I witnessed something beyond spectacular that night, and I'll never forget it.
The man was a great songwriter, a great musician, a great performer, a rebel, an enigma, and one of the most unique artists my generation--or any other--will ever know.
I've only cried twice in my life upon hearing about the death of a celebrity. The first time was on April 1, 1984, when I heard that Marvin Gaye had passed. The second time was today.
Goodbye, Prince. Nothing compares 2 U.