129: My Name is Prince

0(+> (1992)
Little comes up when I dredge my memory for a childhood awareness of Prince. He was just a flamboyant figure in my periphery that didn’t occupy my thoughts. His first song I paid attention to was Batdance, followed by Gett Off. These were taped off the radio top 40 chart countdown and played to death but the artist behind them didn’t really register. The first Prince video I saw however stopped me in my tracks. It was on Top of the Pops and featured a man with gold chains obscuring his face, screaming his name was Prince. That look didn’t square with the few images I associated with the Minneapolis Prince – the Purple Rain frilly shirts or the Lovesexy cover – this was hard as nails. And frightening. Like a blinged up Predator. It must be a different guy with the same name, after all why would the well-known Prince introduce himself so adamantly at this stage in his career. This is somebody coming for his crown. It was a statement of intent. A yelled calling card. I need to keep an eye on this upstart, he’s got my attention. He makes Michael Jackson’s Bad video look like The Sound of Music. The song would soon lose its power, due to a combination of familiarity, Bart Simpson and the realisation that yes it was that Prince. But for at least a week an awestruck 13-year-old thought it was the coolest thing he had ever seen or heard.