Music defines our lives, songs that we’ve grown up to, those that we grew old to, playlists that we hear over and over in our minds, our cars, our homes. Every one has a story, a memory, a feeling. I remember my teenage bedroom, walls covered with magazine page cutouts of an array of embarrassing 80s bands, pretty-boys, girl groups, but that collage that was also dotted with rockstar personalities like Cyndi Lauper, Bruce Springsteen, and the eternal Prince. The sillies I parted with, the rockstars are with me today.
Purple Rain. Before I could even fathom what the lyrics or the movie were about, I knew them off by heart. I remember slow dancing to the song at a middle school dance. I can’t remember who the boy was, but I remember the lights, the fuzzy sound of the auditorium speakers, the magic that I felt. The song is still on my iPod, on a mix CD in my car, the original CD cover was one of the few I kept in what is now a tiny collection in a drawer.
As we age, it’s inevitable that we lose our idols, our heroes, our gods, but it nevertheless makes us feel all the more mortal. They leave us with a lifetime of music, of copying their dance moves, imitating their voices, their wardrobes, their hair, but once they’re gone, it always feels like a part of us will no longer live on. The next time I hear “When Doves Cry,” I will not break out in dance. “Purple Rain” will make me cry. It’s like my history has been changed.
This year has been brutal on the entertainment industry, overall. But this loss has me yearning to cry in a puddle of purple mud.
Rest in peace my beautiful piece of history.