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Saturday, 30 April 2016

Rock royalty is abolished. I hereby declare a people’s music revolution

Prince is dead. David Bowie is dead. RIP Prince, RIP David Bowie.

It’s a shame, but there you are. People die. Popular musicians die. Even “god-like geniuses” die. Die die die, human scum …

But what’s this? Prince’s death is the lead item on the BBC radio news at 8pm on the night of his announced death? The lead item?  The demise of the singer of Purple Rain and other tiresome songs from the 1980s is the most significant piece of news in the entire world that evening? (Sorry Prince fans but I could never stand all that Raspberry Beret stuff. Nope, I never understood the cult of Rogers Nelson and his supposed Revolution).

Priorities, eh? When Bowie’s death was announced on that long-ago Monday morning I was listening to the Today programme when the presenter cut short an interview with an aid worker from Turkey who’d been talking about Syrians fleeing from Russian air strikes because … “there’s extraordinary news coming out of New York concerning the singer David Bowie”. Never mind dead Syrians, we’ve got a dead international pop star on our hands …

No, no, NO!, I hear you shriek in your best Prince falsetto. That’s not it at all Niluccio, you fatuous idiot. They’re BOTH important, though important in different ways. There’s nothing wrong with reporting the death of these iconic musicians. They changed lives. Millions of lives. Stop being so superior.

Hmm, now I’m chastened. I should just shut up. Bowie was fabulous. Everyone loved him. Prince was amazing. (Nearly) everyone loved him. What a singer. What a guitarist. What a dancer. What a talent.

Except …well, I don’t share the reverence for either of these (or for other 2016 casualties like Lemmy or Maurice White for that matter). Whisper it here, but I think both Bowie and Prince were hugely overrated. While they certainly did interesting things in terms of image cultivation, I don’t think they compare with less-idolised twentieth-century musicians (Miles Davis, Lee Perry, James Brown, Fats Waller, John Lee Hooker, Captain Beefheart, Reed and Cale, etc etc).

There, I’ve said it. So impale me on a jagged RCA gold disc and throw me to the hyenas of the music press. This is all death-defying heresy and idiocy. A crime against music. I should probably shut up before the Ziggy lynch-mobs come for me or the Prince hells angels on their big Honda motorbikes roll up outside my flat.


Nothing compares 2 over-the-top media coverage of dead pop stars

Funnily enough though, apart from the estimable Kiss and Nothing Compares 2 U (my own Prince faves), I’ve a reason to be grateful to Prince after all. His death came during a day of utterly soul-destroying media coverage of the Queen’s 90th birthday. While I think the media then went overboard with Prince coverage instead, there was at least a pleasant irony in the displacement of the Queen by a certain uppity Prince. Roll on the abolition of royalty altogether though. And that means rock royalty as well …

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