RIP Prince, 1958 – 2016 *UPDATED LINK*

I really can’t believe it. I think I’m still fully in denial. It hasn’t registered.

I’m not gonna say much, as I haven’t had time to process this info yet, but as you probably know, Prince is probably my biggest influence and musical hero.

The only thing I thought I could do at the moment was share my favourite bootleg, as a testament to the man’s greatness – “Livesexy ’88 Uncut”, taken from the Japanese TV broadcast streamed live at the Westfallenhallen in Dortmund, West Germany 09/09/88.

I uploaded it in 5 parts off the DVD – these things are out there if you really want to look for them, no clues! – and it was watched thoudsands times over 8 months by many people (some heartbroken fam, some of the unconverted or the curious), until I got a takedown notice from NPG Music Publishing at the start of December. Now, normally if the artist in question is no longer with us, I don’t feel as much guilt about acquiring their music without compensating them for it. However, in Prince’s case I think he was so protective over how his music was received by the public, and against the distribution of unreleased material (it was unreleased for a reason I guess!) so I don’t feel so bad, and I took the vids off YouTube.

On deeper reflection on this issue, I’m actually kinda irritated by the NPG takedown notice. NPG Music Publishing was P’s own publishing company, and now he’s gone the trust in charge of his estate is cracking down on the explosion of bootlegged content that surfaced online after His Royal Badness’ untimely demise. Now, I know that one of the main bugbears P had about boots was that someone was cashing in on his unreleased work, but he was quoted as saying that if they don’t make any money and are sharing out of love, then it’s cool. So now the estate are trying to squeeze his ‘assets’ for every penny they can get out of it, I have mixed feelings about it. Unless they release the boots officially (or it’s to generate capital so they can better preserve the man’s legacy) then they should just let the stuff go I reckon.

Anyway, instead, here’s a link to a fantastic little profile made around the same time, directed by Albert Magnoli (Purple Rain). It features a whole heap of admiring luminaries (Miles, George Clinton, Clapton, Little Richard, Q… even Randy Newman!) giving their impression of why Prince is so awesome. Dig it.

Saw him 3 times, the best gigs I’ve ever seen. Never got to meet him, so maybe that’s best – he’ll be remembered the was he always intended, through his work.

My friend Kirk messaged me and reminded me of something. He said “HEY REMEMBER, the time you lost your (Prince symbol) necklace (that I got at the O2 gig in 2007, my first), and it really bugged you?

“we all lost today.”

RIP Prince.



*UPDATED* Gil Scott-Heron: the revolution lives on | Music | The Guardian

Political activist, rap pioneer and poet Gil Scott-Heron shaped the sound of today. His friends and famous fans on why he still matters

Source: Gil Scott-Heron: the revolution lives on | Music | The Guardian

*UPDATE* – My anecdote about the time I saw Gil at the Royal Festival Hall (and the Tel Aviv situation) has been clarified by performance-poet and musician Abdul Malik Al-Nasir, who had a close relationship with Gil and toured with him. See the comment below.

Thanks Malik!

This article is off the back of a tribute concert that’s happening in Liverpool tonight. I wish I could go, the line-up looks great.

Gil is probably one of my biggest influences. I was lucky enough to see him at the Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank when he was touring for the I’m New Here record. I remember there were some pro-Palestine people protesting outside, as he was billed as playing a gig in Israel later on in the tour and this was seen as a hypocrisy off the back of Gil campaigning against apartheid South Africa. One of the protesters came into the gig halfway through and started shouting at him. Gil didn’t break a sweat. “How would you like it if I came up to you and started shouting at you when you were doing your job?!” he quipped. At the end of the concert, he said that they would cancel the Tel Aviv gig.

A man of principles, a musical legend. Funny, too.

Here’s one of my picks. When I found out he died, I went and got a copy of this record.

Bill Withers: The Soul Man Who Walked Away | Rolling Stone

Check out this great article on Bill Withers, from Rolling Stone.

“He’s the last African-American Everyman”

– ?uestlove

Bill Withers: The Soul Man Who Walked Away | Rolling Stone.



Bill got his first break at 32, and used to sing his own songs to himself over and over whilst working on air planes in the Navy in order to remember them in lieu of a pen and paper.

Such a humble, soulful cat – and despite watching The Big Bang Theory (I’ll forgive you, Bill!) he seems to still be on the level. Shows that great songs can outlast bad experiences in the music biz.

You should also check out the excellent documentary Still Bill – the Bill Withers Story that came out in 2008 on the BBC.

How do you give a duck Soul?

Stick it in the oven ’till its Bill Withers!