It’s difficult to communicate the immensity of some losses. The death of musical icon Prince, who passed away yesterday at the age of 57, is one such ineffable event. How do you articulate the impact of an artist who sold over 100 million records, won seven Grammy awards and released 39 studio albums, all the while steadfastly distorting the boundaries of genre? In memory of the purple pioneer, Wonderland reflects on some of his greatest moments in music, fashion and pop culture.
7 WONDERS: RIP PRINCE
Wonderland pays tribute to the legendary Prince with a reflection on his best pop culture moments.
The 2007 Super Bowl
It’s raining at the Super Bowl for the first time in 40 years. Positively bucketing down. Your Love Symbol-shaped stage is glassy with water. Do you cancel? Not if you’re Prince – instead, you ask, “Can you make it rain harder?” Prince’s half-time show in the midst of the downpour is consistently ranked as the greatest of all time – it’s difficult to forget that perfect synchronicity of art and nature as he reached ‘Purple Rain’ – and undoubtedly inspired future showstoppers including the almighty Queen Bey.
The 2004 Grammys
Speaking of Beyoncé, we’d be seriously remiss not to mention her spellbinding collaboration with The Purple One at the 2004 Grammys. The superlative duo opened the show with a medley of ‘Purple Rain’, ‘Baby I’m A Star’, ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ and Bey’s soon to be Grammy winner ‘Crazy in Love’, and despite Beyoncé’s nerves – “I was just so overwhelmed and nervous and star-struck”, she told Giant in 2012 – the performance proved an epochal moment in Grammy history. And Bey’s clearly remained a Prince fan ever since, remixing ‘Darling Nikki’ in a backstage tribute video to Nicki Minaj last year.
We’re not even going to attempt to summarise Prince’s eclectic, iconic style in one paragraph, so instead we’ll just remind you of a personal favourite from 1985: ruffles, pearls, pink features and shimmery pastels, in one perfect synthesis. We’re unlikely to see an artist impact fashion quite so dramatically for at least a few millennia.
Fine, we tried, but we just couldn’t leave it at one. Look at this polka dot work of art! LOOK AT IT.
Maya Rudolph’s cover band, Princess
SNL’s Maya Rudolph is already one of the single best human beings to walk the planet. The only person capable of elevating her to an even higher plane? Prince. Rudolph’s devotion to the incomparable innovator is such that she’s part of a tribute band with friend Gretchen Lieberum. Princess’s performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, alongside the legendary Roots, reaches heights only attainable by the meeting of two greats.
With a back catalogue thicker than the Argos tome propping your doors open, you’d forgive Prince for taking himself pretty seriously. As his 2014 New Girl cameo proved, however, that was far from the case – and what’s more, the appearance was his idea. The result was a hilarious, immensely quotable episode, featuring the following words of wisdom from Prince to Zooey D’s Jess: “Anything beautiful’s worth getting hurt for. You know who said that? Me.”
That Time He Kicked Kim Kardashian Off The Stage
Look, if Prince invites you onto his stage, you do two things. Firstly, you pledge to spend the rest of your earthly life thanking whichever deity you subscribe to. And then? You dance. Kim later explained that she was incapacitated by Prince’s very presence on that fateful night at Madison Square Garden in 2011, which is understandable. But it doesn’t make these 21 seconds any less spectacular.