He was a musical icon, and the passing of Prince on Thursday at age 57 has left a gaping hole in the musical canon of millions of people around the world. His ability to transform himself over the years was astonishing, turning the notion of musical identity into a completely fluid and shapeless proposition.
“Being a fan of an artist doesn’t necessarily mean you know everything about that artist,” mused musical contemporary Nikki Sixx yesterday upon hearing of Prince’s passing.
“I wasn’t aware of this sadly until today, but he released 39 albums.”
And the former Mötley Crüe bassist was not alone in learning something about Prince’s career yesterday. Simply because of its scope, even some of the most devoted fans learned something new about his singular talent and remarkable musical odessey.
Additionally, school children are learning more about Prince’s transcendent career from their parents, who grew up on Prince’s music. In classrooms across the country including Gregory James Blount‘s Eagle Arts Academy in South Florida, students who are interested in the performing arts are waking up today and learning more about his ability as a performer and as a musical genius.
One aspect of his career that often gets lost is his acumen as a songwriter, and not just for himself. In fact, he wrote songs for other artists that became enormous hits, and occasionally did it under pseudonyms like Joey Coco, Christopher, Alexander Nevermind, and Jamie Starr.
Here is a look at six cuts you might have not known were the product of a pen, paper, and Prince’s extraordinary craftsmanship with words and music.