Musicians rave un2 Prince's joy fantastic


INDIO, CA - APRIL 26: Prince performs during day 2 of the Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival held at the Empire Polo Field on April 26, 2008 in Indio, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

In tribute to Prince's lasting impact on popular music and culture, we've collected quotes from fellow icons who were wowed by his ability to, in Miles Davis' words, "do it all," and a new generation of creative forces who have been influenced by his prodigious legacy. It's a stirring testimonial to the all-around awesomeness that is Prince.

Miles Davis [from the 1989 book Miles: The Autobiography]: "In 1987 I was really getting into the music of Prince...After I heard him, I wanted to play with him sometime. Prince is from the school of James Brown, and I love James Brown because of all the great rhythms he plays. Prince reminds me of him...Prince got some Marvin Gaye and Jimi Hendrix and Sly [Stone] in him, also, even Little Richard. He's a mixture of all those guys and Duke Ellington. He reminds me, in a way, of Charlie Chaplin...Prince does so many things, it's almost like he can do it all; write and sing and produce and play music, act in films, produce and direct them...He's got that church thing up in what he does. He plays guitar and piano and plays them very well. But it's the church thing that I hear in his music that makes him special, and that organ thing...He comes in on the beat and plays on top of the beat. I think when Prince makes love he hears drums instead of Ravel...I learn things from Prince. I think Prince's music is pointing toward the future."

Mick Jagger [Rolling Stone, 12.14.95]: "I think Prince is a great artist, very traditional in some ways. Prince has been overlooked. But he's so incredibly in the mold of the James Brown sort of performer. He broke a lot of musical modes and invented a lot of styles and couldn't keep up with himself. Very prolific, which is rare. Mostly people write three songs and repeat themselves. Prince has a lot of talent as a writer, and I've seen great performances by Prince. He's outperformed almost everyone. I'd rate him at the top. I don't think there's a lot of competition from new artists."

Andre 3000 [Esquire, September 2014]: "The person who most impressed me? Prince. Michael Jackson was great. But Prince is heavy. When I say heavy, I mean encompassing an entire world instead of one feeling. Heavy is when someone's gonna give you their whole life — make you cry and smile. It's sexual. It's a commentary on the world. It's coming from a rawer place."

George Clinton [Billboard, 4.26.16]: "When you come to the concept of a rock star, he is that. He's the epitome of that. As an artist, I think it's becoming more clear to everybody now just how much volume of work and stuff he's done, all the stuff and how fast he was doing stuff and all the stuff that I know has never come out. Coming to grips with all that stuff he was doing and knowing how he worked and, wow, people are just now beginning to see what that was all about. And he did it so good. When you look at his guitar playing, even on the stage with [Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Steve Winwood] and all them when they did the George Harrison song ['While My Guitar Gently Weeps,' during a 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tribute], when you see him on stage with those people and they're giving him props like he's supposed to be getting, you realize, 'Damn, this motherf---er is all that,' even though to me he kept the songs that he made very commercial and pop. Some might even say bubblegum but not really bubblegum, 'cause he was too clever of a writer. But they were hits, so many hits, that it seemed like he was just churning out bubblegum. But they weren't. Those are stories and those are pieces of work that are gonna be around."

Bruce Springsteen [Rolling Stone, 10.17.16]: "I felt a great kinship with Prince. And he was a guy, when I'd go to see him, I'd say, 'Oh, man, OK, back to the drawing board.' There was a film of him on the Arsenio Hall show, where he plays a series of songs in a row. It's just some of the greatest showmanship I've ever seen. And he knew everything. He knew all about it, and then could put it to work. Just since the Sixties and Seventies and your Sam and Daves and your James Browns, he's one of the greatest showmen to come along. I studied that stuff a lot and put as much of it to use as I can with my talents. But he just took it to another level."

Nile Rodgers [Billboard, 12.12.16]: "I first met Prince when he was just starting out — he played in New York at The Palladium on 14th Street in 1981. Prince came back to that club rather frequently, and we would have amazing chats. Playing with Prince was almost like having a conversation — it was just, 'Hey, this is what I'm thinking.' He was an extraordinary virtuoso, and it made me feel like a million dollars to play with someone who is that talented. He would put down his guitar when I walked in and happily sit at the piano and let me play the guitar. He said to the audience, 'Ladies and gentlemen, Nile Rodgers! Now, this man has the funk.' "

Britt Daniel of Spoon [City Pages, 9.15.17]: You're a huge Prince fan, and parts of Hot Thoughts were inspired by him. How did Prince influence and inspire these new songs?

"He's somebody that I've been listening to and referencing since long before the band started. And probably every record has some Prince in it. We were in the middle of recording when he died. I was on the way to the studio that day when I heard. I walked in, and everybody was just shaking their heads. Everyone was pretty broken up about it. It was hard to say anything. It was a really tough day. We toyed with the idea of recording a Prince song very briefly, but then I got in the car to go grab some coffee. And when I got in the car, 'Sometimes It Snows In April' came on the radio and I just lost it. That song was emotional to me back when it came out. It's an emotional song anyway. But especially that day. After I heard that, I just drove on. I didn't come back to the studio."

Was Prince one of the first musicians who inspired you to say, "I want to do something like that," or did you have your mind set on being a musician prior to hearing his music?

"I wanted to make records already. I fantasized about it in a very nebulous way. I didn't know what that meant, or how you get there...I just knew that would be the greatest job in the world to be able to make records. I'm sure he helped me along the way, but even before I was 11 I was obsessed with records."

Beyoncé [from the foreword to the 2017 book Prince: A Private View]: "To describe Prince as an icon is completely expected, for it would be accurate. Truth be told, the word 'icon' only scratches the surface of what Prince was and what he remains to me. Prince was an innovator, a disruptor, an independent thinker, a revolutionary, a businessman, a masterful musician, a multi-instrumentalist, a singer, a songwriter, and my mentor. He dared to fight for what was rightfully his: his freedom, wrapped up in words and music he created. When he wrote 'slave' on his face in 1993...I became curious about the world behind the stage, the business of show. That single statement taught me a valuable lesson about ownership, entrepreneurship, and independence. 'People think I'm a crazy fool for writing "slave" on my face,' he said in 1996. 'But if I can't do what I want to do, what am I?' "

Janelle Monáe [The Guardian, 2.22.18]: "It's difficult for me to even speak about this because Prince was helping me with [my new album, Dirty Computer], before he passed on to another frequency. [His sudden death was] a stab in the stomach. The last time I saw him was New Year's Day. I performed a private party in St Bart's with him, and after we sat and just talked for five hours. He was one of the people I would talk to about things, him and Stevie Wonder. [When he died, Prince and I were] collecting sounds [for Dirty Computer]. I wouldn't be as comfortable with who I am if it had not been for Prince. I mean, my label Wondaland would not exist without Paisley Park coming before us...I dedicate a lot of my music to Prince, for everything he's done for music and black people and women and men, for those who have something to say and also at the same time will not allow society to take the dirt off of them. It's about that dirt, and not getting rid of that dirt."

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