Prince Rogers Nelson — that’s just Prince to you and me and millions of other music fans — escaped these earthly bounds today, and, according to his beliefs as a longtime Jehovah’s Witness, drifted up to heaven to be with his Creator forever and ever.
I loved Prince, at least up until the brilliant double album Sign o’ the Times, whose title track is as dark and searing an account of natural and man-made disaster, and temptation, and human frailty, as any certified genius could possibly cram into five minutes. Even the overtly Christian “The Cross,” from that same album, was a strong musical statement, although I never could get on board with the devout lyrics.
By the early 90s, though, Prince seemed to have lost the drive or the ability to soar that high, coinciding with a pronounced U-turn back to his religious roots. He was raised a Seventh Day Adventist, and, after years of steamy musical exploits that included songs about masturbation, orgies, and brother-sister incest, eased back into Christianity’s fold by joining the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
That meant he sometimes went door to door to convert people. Really.