Prince was much closer to rock ‘n’ roll than his history on the pop and R&B charts suggests. Right from the start, right there on his 1978 debut album For you, you can hear the influence of the music he grew up on, composed by rock greats from the 60s like Jimi Hendrix. And he didn’t hesitate to let you know.
As he grew as an artist and his albums became more textured, Prince let that Hendrix inspiration come through even more. At his best, Prince’s records were unlike anything else back then, as he channeled everyone from Little Richard to Sly Stone.
On the triumphs of the 80s like 1999, Purple rain and Sign the time, he launched so much great music – juggling pop, R&B, funk and outright rock ‘n’ roll – that it was often difficult to keep up with his moves. At the same time, Prince recorded tons of records, several of which were never released. He was a difficult artist, often struggling against his record company and sometimes with his band mates as he became more protective of his music over the years.
Prince Rock’s 10 best songs all center on one thing: a guitar. Prince was one of the best musicians to ever become a huge star. He played almost every instrument on those early albums, and he continued to take on multiple tasks (including vocals, writing, and production) even after sealing his legend in 1984. Purple rain. One listen to the mind-blowing solo that crowns the epic track of this album’s title, and it’s easy to hear why Prince was one of the greatest artists of all time in music, and why his place in the history of the song. rock is unwavering.