Thursday, May 5, 2016

Ramming Speed Friday: The Place Where Your Horses Run Free

I was never a huge fan.  I liked a few songs.  Little Red Corvette comes to mind.  Sign O’ the Times was another.  When the Doves Cry is hard to ignore as an anthem from my younger days.  So, not because I was deep in mourning or because my soul was crushed when I heard that Prince had died, but I made a CD for the car with a few Prince songs on it and some others that I hadn’t listened to in a long while (Black Crowes).  I did it out of a sense of small personal tribute.  I appreciate his music, and I like a fair amount of it.  Seemed like a good time to revisit it and feel a bit of nostalgia.

The other night my nine year old insisted on going to town with me to put gas in my car.  The CD was queued up on the first Prince track which is one I recently discovered due to all of the media coverage of the late singer’s death: When You Were Mine.  Admittedly it is not what you would expect to hear on the radio.  Prince is singing in a nearly whispery falsetto.  But the melody is catchy and it has that Prince storytelling quality to it.  I love his verbal songwriting if nothing else.  Nah, I like it all.
Anywho, when I started the car my daughter turned up her nose and reached for the CD player.
“Nope!” I parried and grabbed her determined little wrist.
“But this is terrible!” she cried.
“Too bad,” I replied.  I had to keep swatting her hand away.  Talk about distracted driving!
Now, like I said, I was never a huge Prince fan.  The bigger issue is that my nine-going-on-nineteen year old has taken to expressing how she really feels about stuff and is starting to get rude and mouthy when it comes to not getting her way.  This was a life lesson I was working on and not a hardline Prince tribute.
She complained the entire trip to town.  When I got out of the car to pump the gas I saw she was taking the CD out of the player.  I knocked on the window and wagged a warning finger in her direction.  She complied, but then got out of the car and at the public gas station commenced to throwing a fit.  So I put her in her place.  The trip home she sat with her arms crossed defiantly across her chest and her lower lip stuck out like a diving board.
We had a talk about respect, and on not being rude, and on how you get more flies with honey than vinegar.  But that lip never got sucked in and her body language confirmed that the next decade of my life is likely to be pure living adolescent hell.
The next night she had a softball game and Mandy had a meeting so I took Bean to the field.  When we got in the car the CD was once again queued up to Prince though I think that time it was on When the Doves Cry.  I looked sidelong at her as we pulled out of the driveway and saw no pouting lip.  In fact, by the time we had escaped the creek she was bobbing along with the music.
“This is Prince,” I informed her.
“I know.  I don’t hate it today.”
I gripped the wheel tight enough that my knuckles hurt.
Doves Cry continued to play, but since it was a short ride over to the park I wanted to move on to another song.  I reached to hit ‘skip’ and she protested.
“Aw!  I was listening to that!”
Fortunately for the both of us (and you Dear Readers) there was no bridge abutment for me to slam the car into on the remainder of our drive to the park.
I’m not one to wax poetic about some dead celebrity, especially one I wasn’t a fanboy for.  But the death of Prince has had me thinking about the people that have influence in our culture.  I can’t deny that Prince was hugely popular and had an impact on many genres of music and on many people.  I’m sure I played air guitar in front of my bedroom window along with it back when Little Red Corvette came out.  I’m sure I lip-synced to every growl, every high note, and every lingering word. 

Eventually I discovered hard rock and then metal and would probably have denied that I had ever listened to Prince for many years.  It was telling recently to hear Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top in an interview talk about how he has tried for years to master the guitar intro to When the Doves Cry.  That’s significant.  It made me want to pick up the guitar again.  And I’m forty-two years old…


  1. It shocked me when Prince died. I didn't realize how much it would affect me. I listened to a Prince tribute channel for a few days. I was a little depressed to be honest. So many of the artists I listened to growing up have passed away.