I remember the day I heard that voice like it was yesterday. It was the summer of 1978. Or was it fall? Huh, I can't remember, really but I do remember it well. The woman on the radio was singing about wanting to be my lover and wanting to be the only one I'd coo for. Whatever that meant. The song was all over the radio and whenever I'd be driving with mom in her green Gran Torino, I'd TURN the dial in search of it. It drove her crazy, but she loved me and always supported my latest obsession. And I was obsessed. I hadn't even seen what this lady looked like, but even then I knew I was "funny" and at the ripe old age of eight, I was ready for love!!
Mom found the 45 ( you know, the small vinyl records ) at a local record shop but it didn't come with a picture sleeve, but the lady who sang my favorite song with the amazingly high voice had a weird name: Prince. Prince?
Yes, the woman I loved was a man named Prince. I decided to end our romance right then and there and move on to a real woman who was accessible and wholesome; the real girl next door: Olivia Newton-John. I'd seen Grease a million times and now the movie Xanadu was in theaters so she had my undivided attention and she was all I thought and talked about. I was ten now. More mature and definitely ready for romance. Yep, Livvy was my main squeeze there for a few years. At least until the summer of 1983.
I was hanging out with my friend Alicia Powell and her boyfriend and a bunch of other tweens with MTV on in the background. This was when MTV was cool and played videos. Stray Cats, The Fixx, Eurythmics; good music. I wasn't much interested in talk about boys and dresses and things of a girlish nature so I focused on the television. It was then that I saw a video from my old love, Prince. The video was smoky and sexy and best of all, it had two women rubbing against each other!!! It was for the song, "1999". That's it. I fell back in love and I fell hard. This time I was ready to make a longtime commitment and hopped on the back of his bike and we went ridding off into the Purple Rain!!
Down came the Olivia Newton-John posters and up went nothing but half naked Prince pictures. Much to my mother's protestations that he was too old for me. I didn't care. I was hooked. Lucky for me, the movie Purple Rain came out soon after and the whole world got to bask in the genius that is Prince. I remember when I get the album for it, there was a poster that had all the band members on it and there they were: Wendy and Lisa. Lisa had her arm around Wendy and I just about had a stroke. Way too much for my 14 year old heart to take. Not to mention the hormones!! Rumor had it that he was going to tour, but his concerts were known for being too racy and kids weren't allowed. My heart shattered. It didn't matter though because at the time I was living in Arizona and Evan Meacham was the governor. He had made many racial slurs and was publiciy opposed to making Martin Luther King Jr's birthday into a holiday so many black musicians boycotted the Phoenix area. So, that was that.
In the summer of 1986, MTV announced a "win a date with Prince" contest and the winner would have Prince fly into your town and premier his new movie, Under the Cherry Moon!! Needless to say, I didn't win but man, I tried. The movie bombed, but the music was great. Soon after that, he disbanded the Revolution and I was devastated. I've never been one for change.
It was also around this time that my mother suddenly became very sick and then passed away. Prince was there for me, as usual. I started to immerse myself in my collection of all things Prince related. I had bootlegs, posters, videos, scrapbooks, ect. It gave me something to focus on because I was lapsing into a very deep depression. No matter what, Prince was my constant. My rock.
After graduating high school, I moved to Los Angeles and my Prince fetish flourished. I was in the land of swell record stores and ephemera shops. It was heaven. I moved around a lot so, everywhere I went, my ever expanding collection followed. It started to become a burden almost. I was also finding myself defending my love of Prince with the same fervor I defended WWF wrestling: it was real. It meant something. I needed it.
In 1993, I moved back to Phoenix and yes, along came my Prince collection. I was changing and so was the man I loved. Before long, he was getting married (to another woman), having babies and creating music that just didn't seem to do much for anyone anymore. But, it did me. And in the spring of 1997, he came to Phoenix! It was announced that a local record shop would be the only one selling tickets and that they would be going on sale that very night so, I parked myself in front of the Zia Records on Thunderbird road and waited nine hours to get my prized possession: a floor level ticket!! After all these years, me and Prince were going to be face to face. And we were. I was close enough to see the lines in his eyes and smell the lavender cologne he wears. I was in heaven. It was now that I could lay down and die.
Shortly after that first concert, something changed. With me and Prince. We started drifting apart. I mean, I would see him whenever he came to town and I've seen him a few other times around the globe, but I was ready to move on. Changes needed to be made but neither one of us wanted to make the first move. He finally did when he announced that he was suing every and anybody that was using his likeness on the Internet without his permission. This hurt so many people who did nothing but support him during his career and he started making enemies of the people who's only crime was love him for so long. He also went and became baptized in the Jehovahs Witnesses cult, I mean religion and stopped making music with an edge: no cursing, no sex talk and all this talk about God.
Granted, I was making some changes in my life, too: I'd had a heart attack, was dabbling in hard drugs and was just plain miserable. I was losing my edge, too but didn't have an outlet like he did. I was stagnant. What to do, what to do?
In 2003 I made the decision to start selling off my Prince collection. For 25 years I had collected, followed, adored and loved this man and what had it gotten me? Ridicule, heartache and pain in my lower back from lugging him around everywhere I went. A total of 86 vinyl albums, hundreds of magazines, posters, buttons, clippings, videos, not to mention all of the memories sold for a whopping $700.00 to a fellow in Mesa, Arizona. Just about all of that money went to feeding my new hobby: drugs.
The time I spent with Prince was wonderful and I feel lucky to have had him to lean on all those years, but people change with time. So does music. I have him on my iPod though, and I still lift my head if I hear his name mentioned on television or if I'm out and about. Now I understand what he was singing about in the song, "I Wanna Be Your Lover" that I heard back in '78. No wonder mom was concerned. She could never figure out what he was singing, either. Mom, if you're reading this...it was, "I wanna be the only one you come for".