Legendary musican, producer, actor and all-around amazing pioneer Prince has passed away at his home outside Minneapolis at the too-young age of 57.

If you claim to be a music fan at any level, Prince most likely had a profound influence on your music taste. His funk and flamboyance were unmistakable and often controversial but always badass. Color? Purple. Stature? Small. Eyes? Beautiful. Sexuality? All of the above. Style? Oh freaking tons of it.

One of the most successful comic book films of all-time, Batman (1989), tapped Prince for its soundtrack and a completely awesome song and video was born. In fact, it arguably played a key role in boosting the film to iconic status. The punchline is the only reason Prince agreed to director Tim Burton’s offer is because he had a crush on Kim Bassinger, who was starring as Vicki Vale in the film. His strategy worked as they ended up dating shortly thereafter. If you’ve never heard or seen Batdance, you have missed out on something so utterly Prince, utterly 90s and utterly funky.

 

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To say that Prince was prolific would be the understatement of the century. He compiled a catalog of 600 songs, more than Sir Paul McCartney. He often wrote or performed for other artists on their albums such as providing the guitar licks in Like a Prayer for Madonna and penning Manic Monday for The Bangles and Nothing Compares 2 U for Sinead O’Connor.

If you need more geeky tie-in though, here’s a big one: When Star Wars creator George Lucas married Mellody Hobson in 2013, Prince performed at the wedding. As a thank you for his services, Prince was given a lightsaber.

 

purple lightsaber

Color? Did you even need to ask?

 

One of the things Prince was so well-known for was his androgyny. He didn’t see the necessity in defining oneself permanently in any category, and that definitely included gender. When he chose to change his name (temporarily) in 1993 to an unpronounceable symbol, the symbol itself was a combination of the glyphs for Venus and Mars, signifying a total union of both feminine and masculine in one being. It paved the way for other artists who would challenge gender definitions and rebel against being labeled. Rock and roll is about defying the status quo, and no one did it with such classy bravado as Prince.

Like David Bowie, whom we also lost this year, he took originality and inexplicable talent to levels we ordinary peons can only dream of. Talents like these seem to be so rare, so it’s utterly gutting when we lose them and lose them so early.

So often a hero to rebels, outcasts, loners and those who just love beauty and art, Prince will be sorely missed.

 

Images via Warner Bros., Lucasfilm