Really?

Prince broke all the rules about what black American men should be

That’s an incredible lack of self-knowledge there from a black American man.

It’s rather one of the stereotypes of the place that a black man will be sexual and good at music and dancing isn’t it?

But you know, The Guardian.

20 thoughts on “Really?”

  1. “That’s an incredible lack of self-knowledge there from a black American man.”

    Well….yeah:

    “I was a biracial child, often criticized for not being black enough, and I was going to grow up to be gay…”

  2. I think it’s commentary like Thrasher’s that put me off Prince. All of the seriously good musicians I have ever known rated him, but the level of pseudointellectual philosophising and bullshit he attracted was astonishing.

    Which makes it hard to actually engage with the music, if you’ve got serious jazz players and slap funk bassists falling over themselves to tell you he’s a god-like genius.

  3. You left out broken marriage and drug use.

    Sadly they are merely typical, whereas dancing and sex are stereotypes.

  4. John Square,

    I’ve never really understood that. I mean, Prince to me was a combination of 4 things: natural talent, parents who raised him well and nurtured his interests, being a bit odd (like how he could write holy songs next to profane ones) and graft. Few people will mention that Prince was a 6 day week guy, producing mountains of songs, and of those, a small number saw the light of day.

  5. Tim A and MC

    Not disputing that the man is a genius nor that Thrasher is a bell end.

    I’m just saying that the mythos around a person can make it hard to get any kind of handle on whether there’s anything worth your time investigating.

    Bowie is another one- every rock critic hails his worth to the heavens, but I think that only his very late period stuff is really interesting.Much of the early stuff is too weighed down by other people’s pontificating on the sexuality and androgyny debates (amongst other things) to be taken at its face value.

    Now: others are free to define that cultural collateral as part of Bowie’s work, but as an (occasionally jobbing) songwriter and musician, I’m less interested in that- give me the records,and I’ll take it from there, and make my own mind up.

    So Prince- stellar guitarist, talented songwriter, and consummate performer: agreed. One of the all time greats? Probably. Do I like him? Not yet.

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    Tim Almond – “Few people will mention that Prince was a 6 day week guy, producing mountains of songs, and of those, a small number saw the light of day.”

    The man wrote music. Great music. It was not brain surgery. Nor was it grand opera – which is mostly one step removed from musical hall anyway. People shouldn’t be so serious about it.

    But to agree with the main point, it is amazing what Prince threw away. A lot of his best work was on the B-sides. A lot of other people’s best work was one of his B-sides. Would anyone have heard of Sinead O’Connor if not for Prince’s song? But Chaka Khan’s I Feel For You was a B-side for Prince. Alicia Keyes’ How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore was too. When You Were Mine was covered by Cyndi Lauper – and Prince never even released it on either side of a single.

    I don’t know if Manic Monday was even released by Prince before it was picked up by the Bangles.

    But my favourite Prince story is this one:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand_Back

    The newlyweds were driving up to San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara when Prince’s song “Little Red Corvette” came on the radio. Nicks started humming along to the melody, especially inspired by the lush synthesizers of the song, and “Stand Back” was born. They stopped and got a tape recorder and she recorded the demo in the honeymoon suite that night. Later, when Nicks went into the studio to record the song, she called Prince and told him the story of how she wrote the song to his melody. He came to the studio that night and played synthesizers on it, although his contribution is uncredited on the album. Then, she says, “he just got up and left as if the whole thing happened in a dream.”

    Uncredited. OK it was Stevie Nicks. But the man had class.

  7. @SMFS
    “The man wrote music. Great music. It was not brain surgery.”

    True, that. Brain surgeons are ten a penny compared to great songwriters.

    It’s why I never wanted to be a politician: there’s been loads of PM’s but only four Beatles (excluding Pete Best, George Martin, Geoff Lynn, Mal Evans, that bloke who played keys on Get Back etc.)

    Serious point: music does loads for (mental) health: arguably a good musician is a better doctor than a doctor.

  8. So Much For Subtlety

    JuliaM – “I was a biracial child, often criticized for not being black enough, and I was going to grow up to be gay…”

    Please tell me you are talking about Rhianna – and you have photos?

    Prince is well within the tradition of alternative Black males. Think of Little Richard. Not even Black male wants to be 50 Cent. Just too many of them.

  9. John square,

    I agree. Brain surgery requires a lot of skill and experience, but it can be taught with books and if we got rid of the artificial limits on supply we’d probably have a lot more. Does it take more skill and experience than say, someone who can rebuild an engine or make a croquembouche?

    Medicine is elevated by the public because they leave with pain gone. People talk about how ‘the nurses were wonderful’ when mostly, they do jobs no more complex than a mechanic. People fixing software would get fired if they were as poor at diagnosis as some GPs are.

  10. John square said:
    “Serious point: music does loads for (mental) health: arguably a good musician is a better doctor than a doctor.”

    For the listeners, yes. For the performers? It often seems not.

  11. @Richard

    I’d agree there. Seen a fair few burn out myself. I (briefly) associated with Pete Doherty right at the start of the Libertines upswing into success. Scary thing to see up close.

  12. “People fixing software would get fired if they were as poor at diagnosis as some GPs are.”

    You’ve never worked in the software industry have you?

  13. I’m not bothering to get into a fight over this article. At best I can say that the author expects us to understand that homophobia is more pronounced in black Americans than white. Accept that and take the words as opinion.

    What I did do was decide that I’ll be listening to Prince tonight. His songs can be streamed through Tidal which offers a 30 day free trial.

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