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The Best Prince Moments to Celebrate The Legend's Birthday

Prince is one of the greatest musical artists in the modern world. We honor his legacy on what would have been his birthday.

"You'll be older too
And if you say the word
I could stay with you"

Those words come from The Beatles in a song called, "When I'm Sixty-Four." I wish we could have all said the word and allowed Prince to stay with us. Today would have been his 64th birthday. 

The Myth, The Man, The Legend

If you google his name he is referred to as a "songwriter and multi-instrumentalist." Already, this is more than most musical artists are ever able to touch, but even that doesn't do the man justice. Merely saying "Prince played guitar" is absurdly understated. He made love to the guitar. His guitar pyrotechnics brought together metalheads and R&B fans. I remember an anecdote that metal heads would attend his shows, looking like fishes out of water, just to see the man shred. He produced his own records, wrote hit songs for other artists, and possessed an x-factor people are still searching for words to describe. Only Prince could be so transcendent in the world of music that he could write a hit R&B song with no bass line.

Prince's Moments

I want to touch on some of his most memorable moments. Yes, you know which two are coming. They're so good that I'm going to touch on them again.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

If you haven't been made aware of this performance, what planet have you been living on? This performance took place in 2004. This group of distinguished rock and roll musicians was playing a tribute to George Harrison at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. Tom Petty sings well, but this performance (until Prince starts stealing the show) of Tom's is pretty stale. Jeff Lynne's voice blends well in the song as well, but again, something is lacking in the song's punchiness. Then it happens.

I've been playing guitar now for almost 20 years. I've never done anything as cool as Prince does in one exact moment in this video. Everything he does is cool here, but at 4:35, he swipes his hand down the neck of his beautiful telecaster. It has the equivalent of popping one's collar. Prince does this and it looks so damn cool. I spent time copying these licks that Prince plays, but in a thousand years, I'd never look so cool doing it. Dhani Harrison, son of the late George Harrison, makes some wonderful faces during the video. He was also in awe of Prince's performance. It's timeless and one of the coolest things I've ever seen. 

Super Bowl XLI

This is the greatest Super Bowl Halftime show ever. Argue with a wall. 

We Will Rock You 

Let's Go Crazy 

Baby, I'm a Star 

Proud Mary (Creedence Clearwater Revival cover)

All Along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan cover) 

Best of You (Foo Fighters cover) 

Purple Rain

In 12 minutes, Prince blows the crowd away. Amidst rain and complicated dance numbers around him, Prince goes from song to song in a blazing fire of soul and passion. Even the dynamics of his set list are brilliant. He starts fast with his tune "Let's Go Crazy," keeps the crowd pumped with "Baby, I'm A Star" and keeps the same tempo for his "Proud Mary" cover. Then he brings the crowd down with him, playing a terrific cover of "All Along The Watchtower." Jimi Hendrix would have been proud. The next part I always find to be so underrated. The cover of Foo Fighters' "Best of You" is so touching. 

Everybody knew what was coming for the closer. It wouldn't have been Prince without him playing Purple Rain. Outside of his terrific musical performance, the imagery is so good. The phallic shadow of his signature Cloud guitar coupled with those soaring notes is absolute poetry. No Super Bowl performance has touched this one. There have been some good ones, but Prince owns this performance. 

He also seamlessly switched guitar three times during this. It's so perfect. Telecaster, Stratocaster, into his signature Cloud.

Last Thoughts

Prince isn't really gone, for me. He transcended this part of existence. He's somewhere playing guitar with Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. He's in our hearts, in our music, and our heads. If you don't think Prince is one of the greatest to ever do it, you should probably purify yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka.