Long live the Prince

Fans of Prince everywhere mourn the loss of their favorite musician just weeks after his sudden death.

Megan Friel, Editor in Chief

Many loved him, some adored him, and most respected him – but everyone knew him.

Prince Rogers Nelson, the beloved musician and artist of the late 70’s and 80’s, died Thursday, April 21, 2016 due to unknown causes. Prince was found unresponsive at his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota. For the past two weeks, fans and followers everywhere mourned the loss of their idol, including some here at Biddeford High School. One follower, English teacher Bruce Braiser, reflects back on “his buddy Prince.”

“Women loved him, just because of the purple and the dancing and the music,” said Braiser. “As a guitar player, he was a phenomenal guitar player. He blows everyone away playing guitar. There are rock stars who can’t do that.”

Music teacher Patrick Bolin also considers himself a Prince fan. He adores him for his unique personality and talent.

“He was an honest musician,” said Bolin. “He was able to make his own style. He didn’t have to fall into a pop music niche to only be commercial. He was excellent at being his own artist and musician instead of just being a salesman.”

Even teenagers are moved by the passing of Prince. Freshman Olivia Whittaker grew up listening to Prince, inspired by his “upbeat” music.

“My parents brought me up listening to all of the older music, and he was on the radio all of the time,” said Whittaker. “So, that’s how I got to start listening to him. [His music] is kind of captivating. It’s really fun when you listen to it. It’s upbeat, and it just clicks. I like it.”

Whether they are young or old, Prince’s death came as a shock to everyone. Autopsy reports of April 22 have not yet been released.

“Prince was never thought of to be a drug addict,” said Braiser. “Nobody ever said anything about Prince and drugs – ever. He was, by all accounts, a health nut. He was too young to die of natural causes, but old enough so that you’d question it.”

Braiser first found out about Prince’s death while golfing. He says Prince’s death affected him unlike most celebrities do. In mourning, Braiser spent the week following Prince’s death wearing purple in memory of the star.

“I was golfing, and they always have it on some classic rock station, and they were playing Prince,” said Braiser. “I asked, ‘Dude, why are you playing Prince?’ They laughed and said he was dead. It kind of messed up my day a little bit. It never bothers me when stars die, but that one kind of did.”

Whittaker also seemed floored by the news. She described the morning she heard the news.

“I was a little shocked,” said Whittaker. “It’s just the realization when you wake up and – ‘Oh my God, he’s dead.’ It’s awful.”

Braiser believes the most shocking part of Prince’s death is the age. Being only 57, Prince lived a full life, however, not a very long one.

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Bruce Braiser, English teacher

A lot of people in my age group are like, ‘Holy crap, he can’t be dead,’ because he’s just a little older than us,” said Braiser. “He was someone that, when we were teens, we listened to. It wasn’t like a Kurt Cobain thing, like a young death.”

— Bruce Braiser

Followers like Bolin and Braiser grew up with Prince, following his road to success.

“It’s another tragedy in terms of the music world,” said Bolin. “His followers certainly took it hard, maybe more so than George Harrison or someone like that. There are some young adults that were still fans of his music and were more affected by his music.”

Braiser was even lucky enough to watch him perform live.

“Just as far as a live show, if you ever got to see him, it was phenomenal,” said Braiser. “He always had tremendous musicians around him. He would just play for three hours; like it wouldn’t stop. There was always music going on. It makes you think about yourself. You think about your teenage years, like ‘Remember when he was huge?’, or ‘Remember when we went to this Prince concert?’”

One positive aspect of Prince’s death is the new recognition of his music. Album sales jumped in the days following his death. On Thursday alone, Prince sold a total of 231,800 albums. Prince also sold a total of 1.1 million songs on Thursday, as well. MTV also changed their logo to purple for the day and played a Prince music marathon.

“MTV went back to music,” said Braiser. “He was huge when MTV first came out, when they were actually playing videos. They were playing all of his old videos, and one of the music channels was showing one of his live concerts, so that was nice.”

Bolin believes that Prince’s death has spread to the student body here at BHS.

“He was individual,” said Bolin. “He wasn’t afraid of being himself… a lot of our students are that way. Some of our students may look like they’re following the mainstream in terms of clothing or appearance, some look like they aren’t. This will encourage students to be themselves.”

Prince’s memory will last forever, whether it be in the halls of Biddeford High School or spread across the globe; his legacy will never fade.

“I loved his uniqueness and his style,” said Whittaker. “Just the way he wrote his music is just so unique. He’s unlike any other artist that’s out there.”