Thursday, April 21, 2016

Free... Remembering Prince

Photo by me.  Welcome to America Tour
March 30, 2011 - North Charleston Coliseum

The first Prince song I ever heard was ‘Free’.  I was living in Washington State in the early eighties and was at my friend Kay’s house.  I met Kay in junior high and liked her immediately.  She wasn’t popular but she definitely stood out in a crowd because she was beautiful and an incredibly unique person.  She dressed like no one else in school and I always envied her sense of style.

Kay and her parents lived on Chico Way in Silverdale and I used to spend the night there often.  From what I remember she had a really big bedroom and had this massive pillow that I was pretty jealous of.  It was orange and at least 5 feet long.  It reminded me of a massive Cheeto and I loved sleeping with it!

I don’t remember if Kay had Prince posters or anything like that but I do remember that she was the one who introduced me to his music.  To put it lightly she was obsessed with Prince’s music.  During that those days I was probably into Madonna and not much of a music intellectual but one night Kay told me she wanted me to listen to something.  

 The room was dimly lit and she Kay Prince’s record (yes, vinyl) on the turntable and instead of playing the entire album from the start she chose to play track 8 for me.  


Don't sleep until the sunrise, listen to the falling rain
Don't worry about tomorrow, don't worry about your pain
Don't cry unless you're happy, don't smile unless you're blue
Never let that lonely monster take control of you

Be glad that you are free
Free to change your mind
Free to go most anywhere, anytime
Be glad that you are free
There's many a man who's not
Be glad for what you had baby, what you've got
Be glad for what you've got

I know my heart is beating, my drummer tells me so
If you take your life for granted, your beating heart will go
So don't sleep until you're guilty, because sinners all are we
There's others doing far worse than us, so be glad that you are free

Soldiers are a marching, they're writing brand new laws
Will we all fight together for the most important because?
Will we all fight for the right to be free?
Free (Be glad that you are free)
Free to change my mind

Free to go most anywhere, anytime
Be glad that you are free
There's many a man who’s not.

I remember Kay and I laying on her bed in her room with the Cheeto pillow listening to the sound of the scratchy vinyl (how I miss that!) on the turntable.  The only sound in the room was Prince’s voice.  A voice like none I had ever heard before. 

This was the first moment I REALLY paid attention to the lyrics of a song.  Being a young teenager I thought I identified greatly with the sappy songs of Chicago (among others) which described what I thought was love but during this moment I realized how absolutely mediocre all those songs actually were.  This song, Free, that we were listening to had meaning, was intense and I truly believed that moment changed my life’s musical journey.  I now realized that I wasn’t a radio top 40 girl after all.

After listening to ‘Free’ I knew there was extraordinary music out in the world to discover and I made it my mission to find it.  Music has, and always will, change me and I have Prince – and Kay – to thank for that.

R.I.P. Prince.  You were a musical genius and you will be missed.

My photos of Prince from the 'Welcome to America' tour - March 30, 2011 - N. Charleston Coliseum


Beth Niquette said...

Oh, my. This is a wonderful story. I was truly moved. ((hugs))

Kay Hartman said...

Hello Pam.. Thank you so much for writing and sharing one of the moments of our time together.
It was beautifully written… I am truly honored and humble by your endearing words.
Sending you my Warmest Wishes, Love and Aloha.

The Artist Prince:

He will paint you a picture with his lyrics and give you a vision of Hope to say what your heart truly need.. and that.. you are never alone.

Rest in Peace Prince & May you Forever be Free.。