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Prince 1958-2016

Prince Rogers Nelson dies at Paisley Park studio complex in Minnesota

Prince Rogers Nelson, known to all as Prince, died on 21 April at his Paisley Park studio complex outside of Minneapolis. He was 57.

Prince was a skilful multi-instrumentalist, band leader and seasoned studio player before he’d even graduated from Minneapolis's Central High School. He recorded a demo tape with his group Champagne at Minneapolis’s tiny Moonsound studio when he was 15, and studio boss Chris Moon would lend him his keys to the studio and encourage him to experiment. Prince recorded with the local group 94 East the following year, which yielded the single If You See Me/Games that was included on the Numero Group compilation Purple Snow: Forecasting The Minneapolis Sound in 2013.

A demo tape eventually secured a generous contract with Warner Bros, and his 1978 debut album For You (recorded when he was 19) bore the extraordinary credit "produced, arranged, performed and composed by Prince", with him playing over two dozen instruments on the album. He later became a master of the Linn LM-1, an early programmable drum machine and one of the first to use digital samples of real percussion instruments, which can be heard on numerous Prince recordings.

Prince went on to record 18 studio albums for Warner Bros, from 1978 all the way to 1996’s Chaos And Disorder, redefining the face of modern pop, funk and rock in the process. He appeared on the cover of The Wire 90 in 1991 around the time of Diamonds And Pearls, in an article written by Andrew Pothecary, who photographed Prince on his 1986 Parade tour. Joseph Stannard wrote on Prince for The Wire’s Deep Cover issue in June 2015, unpicking the many pseudonyms Prince worked under in his prolific career, from Camille to Gemini to The Kid to his production alias Jamie Starr.