Prince / @prince
Prince / @prince

The world was shocked today when it was announced that the musician Prince had passed away.  At 57 years old, the rock star’s passing was unexpected and tragic.  As a tribute to his artistry and talent, we are devoting this post to his memory.

While many may have assumed that Prince was a stage name, the artist’s given name was, in fact, Prince Rogers Nelson.  Of Latin origin, the name Prince literally means “royal son.”  How fitting for an undisputed member of rock royalty!

Prince was a member of a select group of artists known only by a single name, also known as a mononym.  Other monomymous perfomers include Cher, Liberace, Adele, and Elvis, just to name a few.  The website Ranker placed Prince second on a list of the best mononymous singers, just behind Madonna.

In 1996, Prince and his then-wife Mayte Garcia welcomed a son named Boy Gregory. Sadly, Boy was born with Pfieffer Syndrome, a genetic disorder that prevents the growth of the skull, and died when he was one week old.  The couple divorced in 1999.

In 1993, after releasing seven successful albums, Prince changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol of his own creation.  The symbol, a mixture of the gymph symbols for Venus (female) and Mars (male), was called “the love symbol.”  For seven years, he was referred to as “the artist formerly known as Prince.”  The decision to change his name may have been in response to his efforts to exit his contract with Warner Bros. Music.  In 2000, two years after he signed a new contract with Arista, he started referring to himself as Prince again.

The contributions Prince made to music and entertainment cannot be overstated.  According to Wikipedia, Prince sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time.  His list of awards included 7 Grammys, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award.  In 2004 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Rolling Stone once placed him at number 27 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.