The first Prince album I ever bought was Diamonds and Pearls (on cassette). I'd heard some of his music prior to that, but I never really listened to music before that time. Yeah I listened to what was on the car stereo while riding around with family, which with my parents meant Conway Twitty if my dad was in control of the stereo and golden oldies if my mom was driving.
I turned 12 in 1989. I bought a little portable radio with dual cassette decks (try your best to hide your envy) for two dollars at a yard sale in Pensacola. Then I started buying cassettes. The first ones I bought were Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 and the cassette single of Opposites Attract by Paula Abdul. From that moment on I was hooked and spent all my money on cassettes.
A couple years later, (I think Diamonds and Pearls came out in '91) Cream came on the radio and I loved it. I remember hearing Thieves in the Temple prior to this and really disliked it. D&P hit all the buttons for me. I talked to my Uncle Mark about the album. He had been a Prince fan since the beginning. He introduced me to the earlier albums. Within a couple years I had every Prince album on cassette or in my brand new CD collection. 25+ years later I still have ALL OF THE PRINCE.
There is no musician of popular music or classical whose work I have listened to as much as Prince. All of my friends know I am the biggest Prince fan.
I've cried a bit today. This is a sad day, but let's remember all the times where the musicians we love have colored and enhanced different experiences in our lives. Remember the joy their work has brought.
Now go listen to the Purple Rain soundtrack or one of his live albums.