Prince (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016)
Prince, née Prince Rogers Nelson, was an artist I admired very much. I first discovered him towards the end of the '80s, when he released the album Batman as a companion to Tim Burton's original movie and its score by Danny Elfman's.
I then followed his career for many years, buying not only the new albums he released (up until 1996's Emancipation) but also his old work.
While I can't say I was really fond of his first five albums (the sound was perhaps too funky for me), I absolutely loved Purple Rain and the following titles.
Given that he wanted to get out of his contractual obligations with his music label, which I knew very little about at the time, he released the last five albums I purchased pretty much as fillers. As a result, they were increasingly disappointing and led me to stop buying his music.
Still, I always admired his originality, his style and persona, and his musical genius. He played tons of instruments, was a very prolific composer and songwriter, helped nurture new artists, and led the fight to ensure that artists kept ownership of their creations' rights.
I was lucky enough to see him live in 1992, during his Diamonds and Pearls Tour, in London. It was one of my first concerts and an unforgettable experience. That also remains my favorite of his albums.
Throughout his career, Prince sold over 100 million records worldwide and won 7 Grammys for his work, but also an Oscar (Best Score for 1985's Purple Rain) and a Golden Globe (Best Song for 2007's The Song of the Heart -- he was also nominated for Best Song in 1985 for When Doves Cry). That means he was only a Tony Award away from an EGOT!!
His untimely and unexpected death at 57 was a total shock. He will be missed.