I was a junior in high school when Purple Rain hit the theaters. I vividly remember driving my white VW Rabbit Convertible Cabriolet packed with friends to a downtown Los Angeles club blasting the soundtrack the entire way.  That movie, for me, like so many others, was a game changer.  As a child, my parents had introduced me to Bette Midler and I was memorized by her turn as Janis Joplin in The Rose. I was also a huge Barbra Streisand fan so I naturally fell in love with A Star Is Born. But those rock anthems, while incredibly powerful, felt too adult. Purple Rain, however, was the gospel for my generation. I saw the movie umpteen thousand times and listened to the music endlessly. I am positive I went to a Prince concert in my teens, but for some reason remember more vividly his performance many years later at a private Emmy party in West Hollywood that literally blew my mind.  I have never witnessed someone with such presence on stage. You could not take your eyes off him. His aura was other-worldly. His colorful style, musical acumen, effortless dance moves, and pitch-perfect vocals were incomparable.  It was one of the best concerts I have ever seen.  In the last decade when I would hear a new Prince song on the radio it was immediately familiar and would take me right back to my youth.  His appeal never waned in my book nor did it with the masses as evidenced by the standing ovations he continuously received whether arriving like royalty at a basketball game or awarding the coveted Song of the Year at the Grammys.  No one would have guessed that this still relatively young man who was a devout Jehovah’s Witness and ate only Vegan would see his fate come abruptly to an end. The world was stunned so much so that national monuments across the globe were lit the color purple in his honor. As Jimmy Fallon proclaimed in the Saturday Night Live tribute, who else but Prince could take ownership of an entire color.  Over the weekend, artists from Jennifer Hudson to Bruce Springsteen paid homage to his royal purpleness covering hit after hit. While he may not have been perfect (there is now evidence of a hidden drug addiction that was kept under wraps for over 25 years) no one could argue the magical genius and the omnipresence that was Prince Rogers Nelson.  Here is just a taste of the many ways he influenced us with his incredible talent.

His impression was lasting. This man commanded presence and confidence when he walked in the
room.  Crowds of people would stop in their tracks to watch his
swagger.  He was a diminutive five foot two, but his platforms and
charisma made him appear six feet tall. 

His attire set the tone.
  Boy, did Prince know how to
dress!  He had an entire wing of Paisley Park dedicated to his handmade
wardrobe with an around the clock designer and tailor.  He pushed
boundaries wearing feminine clothes and high heels that somehow never compromised
his masculinity.  He mixed and matched bright colors, fabrics, and
accessories always with a highlight of his signature color, purple. He oozed sex appeal, but still maintained a certain elegance.

He had a demeanor that was endearing.
He appealed to all audiences perhaps because he knew how to embrace both his
masculine and feminine attributes.  He was able to write erotic love songs
that would make women swoon while dressed in heeled boots and full makeup.
While his persona onstage was energized and outrageous, off stage he was
soft-spoken and exceptionally shy, always humble and gracious.

He had a tremendous work ethic. 
 Prince was constantly making new music to the point that
his label, Warner Bros., created a vault filled with his never released songs. He
performed and toured tirelessly sometimes doing a full concert followed by a
club gig in the same evening.

His talent inspired others.
was a revolutionary who played
every genre imaginable from pop, rock, and funk to jazz, blues, and soul. 
He was a self-taught prodigy who composed, wrote and played all of the
instruments on his first two albums. He was a deeply religious man who could
astoundingly mix the holy and the sexy in the same song.  He was a major
influence on so many other artists and wrote hit songs for everyone from Sheila
E. and Chaka Khan to Sheena Easton, Stevie Nicks, Sinead O’Connor, and the

He was full of passion and charitable deeds.
  He was a humanitarian who funded countless charities,
helped underprivileged youth, and stepped up for famous friends. When
director Spike Lee’s budget skyrocketed on his Malcolm X movie, Prince was
there to lend a monetary hand. When he felt a slave to his record label Warner
Bros., he famously split from the label and changed his name to a symbol to
protect his rights. When he was baptized a Jehovah’s Witness in 2003, he went
door-to-door on behalf of the ministry.  

Most importantly, he aspired to be a good person.  According to a public
source, he was often heard saying, ‘We have to be good people. It’s important that we try
to be good people.”  To that, I raise my glass to the Purple Prince and
drink a sip in his memory.

My list of Prince Favorites:
Starfish & Coffee
If I Was Your Girlfriend
The Ballad of Dorothy Parker
I Would Die 4 U
When Doves Cry
U Got the Look
Purple Rain
Let’s Go Crazy
Sign O the Times
Pop Life (Extended Mix)
The Beautiful Ones
Alphabet St.
I Wanna Be Your Lover
Get Off
Take Me With You
Darling Nikki
She’s Always in My Hair
Soft & Wet