Prince — aka Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 — April 21, 2016) — was an American vocalist, composer, multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, and producer from Minneapolis who was musically active for four decades. He released six albums on Warner Bros. between 1978 and 1984, followed by another round of titles on his own Paisley Park imprint during the subsequent decade.

Prince was born Prince Rogers Nelson on June 7, 1958, in Minneapolis, Minn. He was the son of jazz singer Mattie Della (1933–2002) and pianist/songwriter John Lewis Nelson (1916–2001). His parents performed in a jazz group called the Prince Rogers Trio, in which John Lewis was the pseudonymic namesake. He passed the name on because he wanted his son to accomplish all that he (John Lewis) wished to achieve in life.

The parents divorced when Prince was 10. After his mom remarried and started a second family, Prince lived with his father due to tensions with his half-brother. John Lewis bought Prince his first guitar but kicked him out when he was a teenager. Prince then lived in the basement of his father’s neighbors, the Anderson’s, where he befriended their son Andre, later known as musician André Cymone.

Prince and Cymone joined local funksters 94 East, formed in 1975 by guitarist/singer Pepe Willie, the ex-husband of Prince’s cousin. Despite a 1977 test-press on Polydor, their material remained vaulted until the six-song archival release Minneapolis Genius (The Historic 1977 Recordings), first released in 1985. It was later combined with alternate takes and seven additional tracks, recorded between 1975 and 1979, on the 1995 Charly Records CD Symbolic Beginning. The disc starts with “Just Another Sucker,” one of the first-recorded songs composed by Prince.

In 1976, Prince cut a demo with Minneapolis producer Chris Moon, who took the tape to local mogul Owen Husney, who took Prince under his managerial wing. A second demo, cut at Sound 80 Studios with producer David Z, aroused interest from several labels. At age 19, Prince signed to Warner Bros. The contract gave him complete creative control for three albums plus retention of his publishing rights.


  • For You (1978)
  • Prince (1979)
  • Dirty Mind (1980)
  • Controversy (1981)
  • 1999 (2LP, 1982)
  • Purple Rain (OST, 1984 • Prince and The Revolution)
  • Around the World in a Day (1985 • Prince and The Revolution)
  • Parade: Music From the Motion Picture “Under the Cherry Moon” (OST, 1986 • Prince and The Revolution)
  • Sign “☮” the Times (2LP, 1987)
  • The Black Album (1987)
  • Lovesexy (1988)
  • Batman (OST, 1989)
  • Graffiti Bridge (OST, 1990)
  • Diamonds and Pearls (1991 • Prince & The New Power Generation)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *