On This Day: Prince Was Born—a Look at His Life and Legendary Career

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over eight years since legendary artist Prince passed away. It’s even harder to believe that the Artist Formerly Known as Prince himself would have been 66 today, as well. In honor of the late great musician, let’s take a walk through his life and career, starting on this very day in 1958.

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The Very Beginnings of Prince

The artist we know as Prince today was born Prince Rogers Nelson on June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was the son of singer Mattie Della and songwriter John Lewis Nelson. He was aptly named after his father’s stage name, Prince Rogers. Allegedly, he was given the name by Nelson so he could “do everything I wanted to do.”

Prince’s childhood was marred by health issues as well as tumultuous issues with his family. He suffered from epileptic seizures, which eventually stopped as he aged. He developed an interest in music from a very young age and was encouraged to pursue music by his parents.

After his parents divorced when he was 10, Prince struggled to cohabitate with his new family through his mother’s new marriage. He often switched between his mother’s home and his father’s home. His father eventually kicked him out, leading him to live in the basement of his neighbor’s house.

An Unmistakable Musical Talent

Prince wrote his very first song when he was just seven years old, titled “Funk Machine”. He learned how to play the piano very young, as well as the guitar and drums.

In 1975, he joined 94 East as a contributing guitarist and songwriter. He eventually landed a Warner Brothers contract in 1978 and released his first album For You. It wasn’t a massively successful release, but his sophomore album Prince from 1979 was what catapulted him to fame.

The album went platinum, and fans recognized his unique talent for blending elements of pop, funk, and rock into his music. Plus, his notable flamboyance and fearlessness when it came to pushing musical and visual boundaries put a spotlight on him.

Prince’s Legendary Career Still Endures Today

Prince enjoyed massive success in the 1980s and delivered several hit albums during that decade. He made history with his 1984 magnum opus, Purple Rain.

Prince continued to write and perform music for decades before his untimely passing in 2016. Who knew that a small boy from Mill City could become one of the most recognizable musicians of the 20th century? It can give up-and-coming musicians some hope, at least. Happy birthday, Prince!

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives

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