Prince, of course, was best known for his music. He released more than 30 albums, countless hit singles and revolutionized numerous music genres, from funk to rock to pop to R&B.
But Prince also made numerous contributions to the world of film. He starred in one undisputed classic- 1984’s Purple Rain - and directed and starred in three other films, while also contributing the entire soundtrack to Tim Burton’s first Batman film in 1989. Prince won an Academy Award in 1984 for the Purple Rain score.
Now Prince, one of the music industry’s most legendary figures for four decades, has died. The man born Prince Rogers Nelson in Minneapolis in 1958 died about 20 miles away at Paisley Park, his longtime recording studio and residence in Chanhassen, MN. TMZ was first to report the death, and it was later confirmed to the Associated Press by his publicist. Prince was 57 years old.
A key figure in the Minneapolis Sound, Prince had an active recording and touring career that began in 1978 and continued for his entire life. A first-rate singer, guitarist and songwriter who worked with a rotating cast of band members, Prince recorded such classic albums as the soundtrack to Purple Rain (1984), Parade (1986), Sign "O" the Times (1987) and Diamonds and Pearls (1991); his most famous singles included Purple Rain, When Doves Cry, Little Red Corvette, Wanna Be Your Lover, 1999, and Let’s Go Crazy.
Prince’s most famous and successful film was Purple Rain, the semi-autobiographical 1984 film starring Prince as a Minneapolis performer known as “The Kid”, introduced at the famous downtown club First Avenue. Directed by Albert Magnoli, the film co-starred the likes of Morris Day and the Time. It was a box office hit that won an Oscar and was hugely influence on music films in the ensuing years. Prince attempted to replicate the formula in the ensuing years, albeit with less success, with 1986’s Under the Cherry Moon, 1987’s Sign "O" the Times and 1990’s Purple Rain semi-sequel Graffiti Bridge.
The singer’s other primary contribution to the world of film was Batman, the soundtrack to Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film. Asked personally by Burton to write songs for the film, Prince contributed such songs as Batdance, Arms of the Orion, Partyman and Scandalous! The Batdance song contained numerous dialogue snippets from the film:
After a fallow period in the 1990s, marked by a feud with Warner Bros. and his decision to change his name to an unpronounceable glyph, the singer made a comeback in the mid-2000s, with the well-received album Musicology and a Super Bowl halftime show performance in 2007 that’s widely considered the best in history. You can watch that performance, below:
Prince continued to tour and perform until the final days of his life; he had also recently announced plans to write an autobiography, although it’s unclear what the status is of those.