Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016) was an American singer-songwriter, musician, and record producer. The recipient of numerous awards and nominations, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest musicians of his generation. He was known for his flamboyant, androgynous persona; his wide vocal range, which included a far-reaching falsetto and high-pitched screams; and his skill as a multi-instrumentalist, often preferring to play all or most of the instruments on his recordings. Prince produced his albums himself, pioneering the Minneapolis sound. His music incorporated a wide variety of styles, including funk, R&B, rock, new wave, soul, synth-pop, pop, jazz, and hip hop.
Born and raised in Minneapolis, Prince signed a record deal with Warner Bros. Records at the age of 19, soon releasing the albums For You (1978) and Prince (1979). He went on to achieve critical success with the influential albums Dirty Mind (1980), Controversy (1981), and 1999 (1982). His sixth album, Purple Rain (1984), was recorded with his new backing band the Revolution, and was also the soundtrack to the film of the same name in which he starred. Purple Rain garnered continued success for Prince and was a major commercial achievement, spending six consecutive months atop the Billboard 200 chart. The soundtrack also won Prince the Academy Award for Best Original Song Score. After disbanding the Revolution, Prince released the album Sign o’ the Times (1987), widely hailed by critics as the greatest work of his career. In the midst of a contractual dispute with Warner Bros. in 1993, he changed his stage name to the unpronounceable symbol (known to fans as the “Love Symbol”) and was often referred to as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince (or TAFKAP) or simply The Artist.
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